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Improving the Nutritional Value of the Pinoy Breakfast
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by: Woman Today

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology answers some basic questions about a most important meal --- breakfast.

What compromise the typical Pinoy breakfast?
The pinoy breakfast usually consists of rice accompanied by fried or scrambled egg or fish, pan de sal (bun), or bread and margarine. Coffee is the predominant beverage generally taken with sugar (Villavieja, 1997; Howden 1993).

  • Cereals and sugars, usually pan de sal with coffee (negligible amount) and sugar, or chocolate beverage (usually Milo) with sugar.

  • Cereal, protein, milk and products and sugar, for example, boiled rice, fried fish or egg and milk) with sugar.

What nutrients do they get from these foods?
In the study by Yap, breakfast contributed the highest percentage to energy intake (25.3 percent in Eastern Visayas).

  • Breakfast contributed 25.3 percent of protein intake in Cagayan Valley and 28.4 percent in Eastern Visayas.

  • Breakfast contributed 35 percent of vitamin A intake in Cagayan Valley and 36.4 percent in Eastern Visayas, and 21.9 percent and 31.4 percentage of iron intake for Cagayan and Eastern Visayas, respectively.

Are Filipinos receiving adequate amount of nutrients from the breakfast foods they eat?
Results of the 1993 Food Consumption Survey revealed energy and nutrients inadequacies for all the essential nutrients except for protein. From these results, we can say that the Filipinos are not getting adequate nutrients from the meals they consume.

Do breakfast traditions vary with social status?
As average income rises, consumption patterns are affected by changes in the food system. Again, based on the 1993 survey results, some food groups were observed to progressively increase with rising per capita income and higher food peso value. These food groups are other cereal products, sugars, fats and oils, fish, meat and poultry eggs, whole milk, other vegetables and miscellaneous products.

  • Poor urban dwellers and lower income students rely heavily on street foods since these are readily available, require no preparation and are reasonably priced.

  • A more westernized style of eating often accompanies an improvement in socio-economic status and eating out for breakfast is becoming more common, around 10 percent in our country (Howden et al; 1993).

Have the breakfast-eating habits of Filipinos changed over the years?
The lifestyle changes accompanying urbanization and industrialization, particularly in urban areas, gave rise to the proliferation of fast foods establishments that offer breakfast value meals, as well as street foods vending. The breakfast-eating habits of Filipinos have also been adapting with the times.

  • Bread and other cereal products have been introduced on a regular basis to the breakfast menu in the urban areas. Lack of time and higher incomes in families where women undertake the combined role of housewife and paid workers have contributed against the use of staples, which are time consuming to prepare foe breakfast.
  • The availability or easy-to-cook or ready-to-eat foods, particularly breakfast cereals, noodles and even beverages, have all contributed to changes in our breakfast habits.
  • The younger age groups are the ones more likely to prefer breads and cereals than the hot-cooked traditional breakfast.

How can a typical Filipino family improve the nutritional value of their breakfast meals?
By taking milk beverage instead of coffee, or using milk with their coffee instead of putting sugar only.

  • By including fruits in season like banana or papaya in their breakfast cereals to increase their vitamin intake.
  • By including fortified foods, particularly those with Sangkap Pinoy Seals, like the easy-to-cook noodles, or taking the fortified palaman with bread. It would also help if the bread is also of the fortified brands.

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September 23, 2017

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