Choose a combination of food based on the Food Pyramid daily
Foods are grouped according to their nutritional content and benefits. The Food Pyramid consisting of 5 main groups placed at 4 different levels is a useful guide in ensuring our daily meals are balanced with every food group represented in the diet. Varying the food choices within each group also helps ensure we get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy.
Group 1: Rice, Noodles, Bread, Cereal Products and Tubers
This group forming the base of the Pyramid, is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates which is an important source of energy, and vitamins, minerals, fibre and some protein. Rice, noodles, bread, pasta, cereals, porridge, chapatti, thosai, biscuits and various types of tuber are included in this group. Our daily meals should include the largest servings from here.
Group 2: Fruits and Vegetables
At the second level, fruits and vegetables supply vitamins and minerals, and are a main source of fibre which is good for digestion and helps relieve constipation. Make it a healthy habit to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Try to eat fruits and vegetables fresh as much as possible. If you're cooking vegetables, do not overcook in order to conserve their nutrients.
Group 3: Fish, Poultry, Egg, Meat and Legumes
Fish, poultry, egg, meat and legumes occupying the third level of the Food Pyramid are excellent sources of protein, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. However, eat moderate amounts and choose low fat options whenever possible. Legumes (soya bean, dhall, peas), beans and pulses are good alternatives to meat and are low in fat.
Group 4: Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products are placed at the same level as meat. Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are essential for calcium which is required for teeth and bone development of growing children. Milk is also a good source of protein, essential for growth and development.
Group 5: Fats, Oils, Salt and Sugar
Fats, oils, salt, sugar and foods high in these are placed at the apex of the Food Pyramid to show that only small amounts are required for daily intake. Whenever you have to use any of the options from this group, use them sparingly.
Serving Size Guidelines
One serving of rice, noodles, bread, cereal products and tubers
• 1 slice whole meal bread
• 1/2 cup cooked rice
• 1/2 cup soak bihun/mee/pasta
• 1/2 chapatti
• 1 cup plain rice porridge
• 1/2 cup ready to eat breakfast cereal
• 1 medium size potato
• 3 plain biscuits - cream crackers
One serving of vegetables
• Dark green leafy vegetables with edible stem 1/2 cup cooked
• Fruit/Root vegetables
1/2 cup cooked
One serving of fruits
• 1/2 medium size guava
• 1 small to medium whole orange, pear, apple
• 1 medium size banana
• 1 slice papaya, pineapple, watermelon
One serving of fish, poultry, meat and legumes
• 1 medium size chicken drumstick
• 1 medium size ikan kembong
• 2 matchbox size lean meat*
• 5 dsp headless ikan bilis
*Note: 1 matchbox lean meat
= 1 medium egg
= 1 piece tempeh
= 1 hard taukua
= 2 dsp peanut butter
= 1/2 cup dried legumes/beans
= 4 dsp shelled small prawns
One serving of dairy products
• 1 glass of milk
• 1 cup yoghurt
• 1 slice of cheese
More tips on staying healthy
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily
Water is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Children naturally are very active; they need water to replace fluid lost as sweat. The daily requirement for water is about 6 to 8 glasses.
Your 6 to 8 glasses may include plain water, milk, soya bean milk and unsweetened fruit juice. However, choose plain water more frequently and limit the intake of sweetened and carbonated drinks to avoid accumulating calories.
Choose food low in sugar, salt and fat
Cultivate good eating habits in children from young. Begin by limiting the intake of sweets, chocolates, creamy biscuits or cakes, carbonated drinks; deep fried foods; processed food such as crisps, salted and sweetened preserved tit-bits such as asam boi and jeruk. Help learn to make healthy food choices as they grow.
Have breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
A good eating practice includes having three main meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner at the appropriate times. Meals should not be delayed unreasonably and definitely not skipped which can lead to out-of-control hunger. When you are very hungry, you tend to forget about good nutrition and may overeat at subsequent meals. In the long term, skipping meals can lead to stomach discomfort, loss of appetite and gastric discomfort.