Was grandma right when she said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? Unless you wake up for a snack in the night, breakfast does refuel the body after the long 'fast' through the night.

Breakfast is still the most important meal because it provides the fuel for the day. Studies have shown that overweight children, adolescents and adults are less likely to eat breakfast than their thinner counterparts. Skipping breakfast often leads to eating a heavier lunch or to having a snack (often high-calorie) before lunch. Hence, eating a healthy breakfast can help in control weight gain.

"Ultimately, one should never forget that it is the net energy intake (i.e. the energy consumed minus the energy expended throughout the day) that determines if we lose weight or gain weight," say​ dietitians from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

A healthy and nutritious breakfast consists of slowly digested carbohydrates (e.g. fresh fruit, whole grain cereal, low-fat dairy products) paired with protein foods (e.g. egg, reduced fat cheese, bean curd). These will give you the energy and nutrients you need to jump-start the day.

Nutritious breakfast ideas

Healthy Local Breakfast Choices
  • ​Wholegrain ready-to-eat breakfast cereals with low-fat fruit yoghurt or low-fat milk
  • Sandwich (choose wholemeal or multigrain bread) with low-fat cheese / tuna or mashed egg with light mayonnaise (add lettuce and tomatoes)
  • Instant or quick-cooking oatmeal prepared with low-fat milk and topped with sliced fresh fruits (bananas are great!) or dried fruit (e.g. raisins)
  • Bean curd (tau huay), with less syrup, and raisin bun
  • Dosa (thosai) or idli with lentil (dhal) curry
  • Low-fat yoghurt with fresh fruits (can also be blended into a smoothie)
  • Plain crackers with low​-fat cheese and low-fat milk or reduced-sugar soya bean milk
  • Fish porridge with chopped spring onions (no fried garnishing or dough fritters)
  • Fishball noodles (beehoon, kway teow or mee sua) soup (no fried garnishings)
  • Vegetable bun (pau) with soya bean milk (tau huay) with less syrup

Read on for the nutritional value of dim sum and​ ​ ​unhealthy breakfast foods to avoid​.

Ref. O17​