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 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.