What is the recommended RNI intake for breakfast

Breakfast should provide about 20% – 25% of our daily nutrient needs

It has been suggested that breakfast should make up 20 to 25% of our daily nutrient needs.1 However, our favourite Malaysian breakfasts often fall short of this recommended nutrient intake.

According to the MyBreakfast Study of School Children by the Nutrition Society of Malaysia, the top seven foods that Malaysian school children consume in the morning are bread, eggs, chicken or meat, nasi lemak, fried rice, processed fish and fried noodles.2 Our nutritional analysis of commonly-consumed Malaysian breakfasts consisting of these food items shows that none of them provide enough essential nutrients to fulfill 20 to 25% of RNI for both adults and children. In general, they do not provide sufficient energy, protein, vitamins A, B and D, or calcium to meet the breakfast needs of adults. For little ones, these meals lack vitamin D and calcium.

Our breakfast habits may exacerbate the nutritional insufficiency that is already widespread across the country. The Malaysian Adults Nutritional Survey 2014 showed that adults’ intake of major micronutrients, such as calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C was less than two-thirds of the RNI.3 Nearly one in two children also do not meet their recommended calcium and vitamin D intake, reports the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS).4 Moreover, the SEANUTS survey also shows that, on average, Malaysian children drink only half a serving of milk a day, and that only a mere 5% of children actually meet the recommended 2 servings of milk daily that helps them meet calcium and vitamin D needs.5

How milk help completes breakfast nutrition needs

How do we ensure our breakfast contains sufficient nutrients? Easy – just having fortified milk alongside common Malaysian breakfasts is enough to raise one’s nutrient intake to the 20-25% level recommended for adults and children! Our energy intake also then rises to sufficient levels.

References:

  • Grovenor & Smolin, 2002.
  • MyBreakfast Study of School Children: Findings, Implications & Solutions, Symposium Abstracts, 3 December 2015.
  • Current nutrient intake among Malaysia, Adult: Finding from MANS 2014, THE MEDICAL JOURNAL OF MALAYSIA, VOL. 70 SUPPLEMENT 1 SEPTEMBER 2015, pp 12.
  • Nutritional status and dietary intakes of children aged up to 12 years: findings of the Nutrition Survey of Malaysian Children (SEANUTS Malaysia), British Journal of Nutrition (2013), 110, S21–S35.
  • Koo HC, Poh BK, Lee ST, Chong KH, Bragt MC, Abd Talib R, SEANUTS Malaysia Study Group. Are Malaysian Children Achieving Dietary Guideline Recommendations?. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health. 2016 Jul;28(5_suppl):8S-20S. 6-11 MOH (2010). Guide to Nutrition Labelling and Claims (as at December 2010). Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya.