What Are Some Of The Most Unhealthy Things About A Typical Malaysian Breakfast?

Malaysians live to eat. But do you know the nutritional benefits of our favourite breakfasts?

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1. Nasi lemak. Our national dish is definitely yummylicious but did you know that a standard packet of nasi lemak consists mostly of carbs and fat?

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Calories: 585
Fat: 22g
Carbs: 82g
Protein: 16g
Vitamin C: 0%

There are 145 calories in 100 grams of Nasi Lemak.
Calorie breakdown: 32% fat, 57% carbs, 11% protein.

2. Toasted bread. Normally paired with half-boiled eggs, the breakfast is considered quite healthy thanks to the proteins from the eggs. But on its own, the bread does not provide any form of vitamins.

Calories: 293
Fat: 4g
Carbs: 54.4g
Protein: 9g
Vitamin C: 0%

There are 293 calories in 100 grams of Toasted Bread.
Calorie breakdown: 12% fat, 75% carbs, 13% protein.

3. Noodles. The wan tan mee and mee kolok is carb-rich and although it contains some potassium, it is offset by the high sodium levels in each serving.

Calories: 137
Fat: 2.06g
Carbs: 25.01g
Protein: 4.51g
Vitamin C: 0%
Sodium: 236mg
Potassium: 38mg

There are 137 calories in 100 grams of Noodles.
Calorie breakdown: 14% fat, 73% carbs, 13% protein.

4. Roti canai. Light, fluffy, and crispy, this Malaysian dish goes well together with a cup of teh tarik but nutrition wise, it's nothing but empty calories and fat.

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Calories: 318
Fat: 10.81g
Carbs: 47.83g
Protein: 6.64g
Vitamin C: 0%

There are 318 calories in 100 grams of Roti Canai.
Calorie breakdown: 31% fat, 61% carbs, 8% protein.

5. Cereal with milk. Although this dish is not entirely local, having cereal is a popular breakfast choice amongst Malaysian school children. Be sure to choose the type of cereal carefully, as some of them are known to be sugar heavy.

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Calories: 218
Fat: 3.32g
Carbs: 43.77g
Protein: 5.23g
Vitamin A:18%
Vitamin C: 20%
Calcium: 14%
Iron: 62%

There are 218 calories in 100 grams of Cereal with Milk.
Calorie breakdown: 13% fat, 78% carbs, 9% protein.

But you don't have to stop eating all this Malaysian goodness because it's unhealthy, here are some easy tweaks to make your breakfasts healthier and more nutritious for you

1. Increase your Vitamin C intake by incorporating Vitamin C rich foods such as the kiwifruit into your breakfasts

Human bodies are not able to produce Vitamin C, therefore we have to absorb them through our daily diet. For Malaysians, the daily requirement for Vitamin C is 60mg per adult. Taking just one Sungold kiwifruit gives you 161.3mg of Vitamin C, which is more than your daily Vitamin C requirement.

Vitamin C helps to activate enzymes in the body that play an important role in the regulation of metabolic energy. Vitamin C also assists the body’s update of iron, an essential mineral for the transportation of oxygen in the blood and the metabolism of blood sugar that gives energy.

You can consume the kiwifruit as a shake, a juice, or as your mini dessert after breakfast to give you the Vitamin C boost at the start of a day.

2. Control the portion of your meal by reducing the size of your plate

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Here’s a simple fix that’ll help you and your brain feel fuller and more satisfied after each meal. Serve your meals on smaller plates! It’s a really simple trick that will help you serve yourself less (don’t go back for seconds) and still give your brain the satisfaction of finishing everything in front of you.

Pro tip: You can also eat a fruit before your meal to partially fill your tummy.

3. Always "kurang manis" your drinks

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According to a 2005 survey, Malaysians consume an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar daily – more than three times the recommended amount and about 10 teaspoons more than they did in the 1970s. Experts believe this has contributed to the country’s rising obesity rate. About 30 per cent of all Malaysians are now overweight. The number of diabetics is also growing rapidly. There were 800,000 in 2007.

Pro tip: If you still crave for something sweet, opt for fresh juices, shakes, and smoothies instead of drinks that are high in artificial sugar.

Learn more on how to make your breakfasts even healthier here