NU­TRI­TION

Th­ese health­ier op­tions from your neigh­bour­hood ko­pi­tiam or hawker cen­tre will help you start the day right.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Cover Reads - BY AZLINDA SAID

The healthiest break­fast choices at your ko­pi­tiam or hawker cen­tre.

1 One piece of tho­sai

97 calo­ries and 2g fat If roti prata is your usual choice, pick tho­sai in­stead. Tho­sai is made from rice flour, chick­pea flour, yeast and spices. One tho­sai has only 1g (about five tea­spoons) of ghee – clar­i­fied but­ter that’s ex­tremely high in calo­ries and sat­u­rated fat.

In com­par­i­son, one roti prata needs 18g of ghee, so the fig­ures shoot up to 184 calo­ries and 9g of fat, says Ja­clyn Reutens, clin­i­cal di­eti­tian from Ap­tima Nu­tri­tion and Sports Con­sul­tants.

Tho­sai is also cooked in a health­ier way – on a hot plate with just a lit­tle oil to pre­vent the dough from stick­ing.

To keep it healthy, go easy on the gravy, ad­vises Ja­clyn. “Limit it to less than one quar­ter of a cup (about 4 ta­ble­spoons). This gives you 60 calo­ries and about 2g of fat. Side dishes like rava and chut­ney have about 25 calo­ries a ta­ble­spoon.”

2 A bowl of chicken por­ridge

177 calo­ries and 5g fat

“Por­ridge is rice cooked with more wa­ter, hence the larger vol­ume, so it’s all right to eat the full serv­ing you get from the hawker stall,” says Ja­clyn. “In com­par­i­son, 500g of cooked rice has three times the num­ber of calo­ries.”

How­ever, this doesn’t mean that you can eat all kinds of por­ridge. Chicken and fish, says Ja­clyn, are the healthiest. “Pork por­ridge has 286 calo­ries and 12g fat.”

It’s bet­ter, too, to opt for por­ridge over con­gee, which has a thicker con­sis­tency. Be­cause it’s thicker, con­gee has more rice grains, and in turn, more car­bo­hy­drates. Ja­clyn says it has 10 per cent more calo­ries than por­ridge.

3 Two slices of plain toast with two soft­boiled eggs

243 calo­ries and 11g fat For a low-fat break­fast, skip the kaya and but­ter – plain toast tastes just as good dipped in soft-boiled eggs. “The spreads will add an ex­tra 150 calo­ries to the meal, and that’s mainly from fat,” notes Ja­clyn.

There’s no harm in adding pep­per and soya sauce to the eggs, as the ad­di­tional calo­ries are neg­li­gi­ble. But avoid the soya sauce if you suf­fer from high blood pres­sure – it’s high in sodium.

4 A bowl of sliced-fish bee hoon

254 calo­ries and 5g fat

This con­tains a good amount of car­bo­hy­drates, pro­tein and fi­bre, so eat half or three quar­ters of it. “You can fin­ish the soup, though, as it is mainly made from boiled fish heads, co­rian­der, ginger and toma­toes,” says Ja­clyn.

If you add milk to the soup, you’re adding 50 calo­ries. If you add milk and fried fish slices, you’ll dou­ble the to­tal calo­rie count to 500 be­cause of the oil used to fry the fish, Ja­clyn warns.

If you’d rather have a bowl of sliced­fish soup with rice, go ahead. The calo­rie count is sim­i­lar to bee hoon, says Ja­clyn. “Still, you would have to eat only half or three quar­ters of the rice, like with the noo­dles.”

5 A plate of mee siam

694 calo­ries and 24g fat Yes, it’s a lot of calo­ries, car­bo­hy­drates (92g) and fat. So eat only half the noo­dles and slurp up less gravy, and you could cut your calo­rie in­take to 431. Ja­clyn says that if you com­pare mee siam to other Malay break­fast dishes like nasi lemak and mee re­bus, it is still health­ier.

You don’t have to skip the hard­boiled egg and tofu – they pro­vide pro­tein. And the egg will fill you up so you don’t end up snack­ing be­fore lunch. “Leave about four ta­ble­spoons of gravy be­hind,” ad­vises Ja­clyn. “The gravy is oily and high in sodium as it is cooked with bean paste and chilli oil.”

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