This Newsletter aims to promote communication between schools and the
Student Health Service of the Department of Health
June 2015 Issue No.67
Published by the Student Health Service,
Department of Health
Breakfast is the most important meal among the three main
meals in a day. What kind of breakfast should we take? What kind of
breakfast could be regarded as a healthy breakfast?
Hong Kong is one of the most talked-about dining destinations in the
world. We can have many choices for breakfast. Apart from eating breakfast
at home, we may also have breakfast at fast food chains, Hong Kong - style
teahouse, congee and noodle restaurants or even convenience stores. Bakery also
has a variety of bread and cakes for us to choose, too. We may go for some
dim sum in Chinese restaurants with our family in holidays.
How can we take breakfast in such a short time every morning while
keeping it tasty and well-balanced? To overcome such challenge, we have
invited Dietitians to help in this Issue.
Student Health Service Dietitian
CHUI Tung-kin, Lily LAM
A lot of people might have heard of the hidden meaning of
"Breakfast" i.e. "Break" "Fast" which means "breaking the fast"
After having dinner to the following day breakfast, the period is at least
10 hours. Body has consumed lots of energy; therefore, breakfast is very
important to us. A nutritious breakfast not only provides adequate energy
for students to handle school activities, but also provides nutrients for
body growth and tissue repair.
Different types of breakfast are available in the street every morning.
Based on the varieties of breakfast, breakfast can be summarized into
A) Noodles Breakfast Set
"Satay beef noodles with sausage, fried egg and free drink" is commonly
seen on the menu in a Hong Kong - style
teahouse. How much energy and fat do
we get from this type of breakfast? Please read the following analysis¹:
|Satay beef noodles
||1 bowl (approx. 450g)
||1 piece (approx. 68g)
||1 piece (approx. 46g)
Usually the type of noodles used in "Satay Beef noodles" is instant
noodles. As the instant noodles has undergone a deep-frying process, the
fat content is relatively high. Sausage is processed meat and most of them
are made from high fat meat. In addition, satay sauce is also a kind of high
fat sauce. After having this breakfast, it seems like we have consumed about
9-10 teaspoons of oil. Let's try to switch to rice vermicelli in soup
or macaroni in soup instead when we order noodles breakfast set at a Hong Kong - style
teahouse. For the same amount, the energy of rice vermicelli and
macaroni is lower than instant noodles¹.
|Rice vermicelli (cooked)
B) Congee Breakfast Set
The examples of relatively healthy congee are: plain congee, corn congee,
pumpkin congee, lean meat congee and fish congee. But pork bone congee, boat
congee (congee with squid, pork skin and beef) and congee with pig giblets
are relatively high in fat.
Try to compare the energy and fat content of the following congee¹:
|Congee with pig giblets
Many people would order other foods at the same time when they have congee
for their breakfast such as: steamed rice-roll, fried fritter or fried
noodles. Among the foods listed above, steamed rice-roll is relatively lower
in fat but it also depends on whether other sauce like sesame sauce and
sweet sauce added or not. When eating steamed rice-roll, try not to add too
much sauce because 1 table spoon of sesame sauce contains about 15.6 g fat
and 189 kcal energy.
C) Steak Breakfast Set
The steak breakfast set that certain fast food chain stores provide usually
includes a piece of steak or deep fried fish fillet, plus luncheon meat,
sausage, scrambled eggs, toast and a glass of sweet drink. For example, a
piece of 3 oz steak and two eggs, which is about 70%-80% of the daily need
from meat, fish, egg & alternatives group for a male secondary school
student (i.e. 5-6 taels meat). The remaining amount from meat allowed for
his lunch and dinner for that day will be about one and a half the size of a
ping-pong ball. That means he will eat more protein than his needs for the
whole day if he has this steak breakfast set, plus other food. High protein
intake increases workload of our kidneys and may cause high uric acid level
in our blood, which in turn increases the risk for gout.
Besides protein, a steak breakfast set is also high in saturated fat, high
in cholesterol, high in salt, and high in energy, but low in dietary fibre.
This is exactly the opposite to the principles of healthy eating food
pyramid that we know of, that is high dietary fibre, low-fat, low-salt and
D) Dim Sum Type Breakfast
Dim sum type breakfast is well known for its high energy,
high fat, high salt, but low in dietary fibre. Besides, since dim sum does
not have a set amount compared to other breakfast sets in a Hong Kong - style
teahouse, it would be easy for us to eat dim sum more than our actual needs as
we can order as much as we want.
Let us make an analysis on a dim sum breakfast (see the below table): for
example, if we eat one piece of ha-gau, one piece of siu-mai, ⅓ plate
of pork ribs, one piece of spring roll, and one piece of steamed rice-roll
with barbecued pork without soy sauce added in a Chinese restaurant, we will
consume about 458 kcal. The amount of dim sum listed above may not be enough
for most people. But the total sodium intake of this amount of dim sum is
already 1020 mg, which is about 51% of the recommended daily sodium intake
(daily value %). And the total fat intake is 27 g, which is about 45% of the
recommended daily total fat intake (daily value %). Excess sodium intake
increases risk for hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and even kidney
|1 piece of streamed prawn dumpling
|1 piece of streamed pork dumpling
|⅓ plate of pork ribs
|1 piece of spring
|1 piece of steamed
rice-roll with barbecued pork
(no soy sauce added)
|Daily value (%)
*Based on 2000kcal/day
Nowadays, most people like to have instant dim sum as their
breakfast because it is convenient and time-saving. In addition, dim sum is
more popular among the children compared to other healthy breakfast. But why
is dim sum so popular among the children? The reason is simple, dim sum
contains more flavor enhancer e.g. MSG (monosodium glutamate), which makes
dim sum tasty. So, if children get used to eating less healthy breakfast
with stronger flavor, they will lose their interest in eating healthier
breakfast with less flavor, such as high calcium low-sugar soymilk, oatmeal
with skimmed milk and raisins, and peanut butter on whole wheat bread etc.
E) Bread/Sandwich Breakfast Set
The living pace of Hong Kong people is fast. It is not difficult
to see students eating bread while rushing to school every morning. Among
different types of bread, the relatively popular bread for students are
pineapple bun and sausage bun. But the saturated fat of these two types of
bread would increase the bad cholesterol in our blood which in turn affect
the health of blood vessels if we eat in a long run. Let's compare the fat
content of the following bread as below¹
||Total fat (g)||Saturated fat (g)
|Baked barbecued pork bun
Most of the Hong Kong - style teahouse, convenience stores or fast food shops
would offer free drink when buying a breakfast set. When choosing drinks,
try to avoid drinks with high sugar content. Too much sugar consumption
would cause obesity and tooth decay. The common drinks we often order are
coffee, milk tea, and lemon water and lemon tea. If we add 2 teaspoons of
sugar (e.g. 10 g sugar, ~40 kcal) in a drink every day, we will get 1200
kcal in a month and then 14600 kcal in a year which in turn theoretically
gain about 4 pounds. To reduce sugar intake, try to remind the
waiter/waitress "less sugar" or "no sugar" when ordering drinks.
For packaged drinks, low-fat milk, skimmed milk, high calcium low-sugar
or high calcium no added sugar soymilk are better options.
The following table shows the sugar content of some of the common drinks¹
( 1 glass = 300ml )
||Sugar content in 1 glass
"teaspoons of sugar"
|Iced lemon tea
|Iced milk tea
|Iced lemon cola
|Iced lemon honey
Healthy DIY Breakfast Choices
If we think we do not have enough time to prepare our breakfast we would
just get a sandwich or instant dim sum from convenience store as breakfast.
Actually we only have to spend a little bit of time to plan our breakfast
the night before, we can then prepare a healthy breakfast for ourselves.
The followings are some suggestions of easy-made healthy breakfast:
||Corn and egg (or tuna) sandwich (with
less than 1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise) + skimmed milk
||Corn and shredded chicken salad sandwich
(with less than 1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise) + skimmed milk
||Plain cornflakes (no added sugar) + high
calcium low-sugar soymilk + berries/raisins/nuts
||Oatmeal with high calcium low-sugar
soymilk + raisin/nuts
||Peanut butter on whole wheat bread + high
calcium low-sugar soymilk
||Noodles in soup (rice
vermicelli/buckwheat noodles/udon) with seaweed and lean pork + high calcium
||Fried udon with shredded cabbage and egg
(less than 1 teaspoon of oil when frying) + high calcium low-sugar soymilk
||Macaroni in soup with
mushrooms and shredded chicken + skimmed milk
||Plain bun/raisin bun +
banana + skimmed milk
||Low-fat cheese and tomato
sandwich + small apple
||Corn and lean pork congee
+ high calcium low-sugar soymilk
potato/taro/corn + high calcium low-sugar soymilk
A healthy breakfast should include grains e.g. bread, noodles
or cereals as a foundation. The amount of meat should not be more than
grains. In addition, breakfast fulfilling the "1 high 3 low" principles
(e.g. high dietary fibre, low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt) are
considered to be healthy.
||Centre for Food Safety. Available at
http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/nutrient/searchmenu.php (accessed Feb
||Health@work.hkProject. Available at
http://www.healthatwork.gov.hk/en/content.asp?MenuID=37 (accessed Feb
Students' favorite choice for breakfast:
||Low-fat milk + egg
||Sandwich + water
||Low-fat milk + bread + banana
||Cornflakes + soymilk
||Oatmeal + apple
||Soymilk + biscuits
||Lean pork congee
||I got dizziness and stomach ache during
the morning lesson.
||You omitted the breakfast, haven't you?
||Yes. I was in a hurry.
||Excessive stomach acid would be produced if no food intake nearly ten hours. That's why your stomach ached.
Junior Health Pioneer
Junior Health Pioneer saw Hau-ming eating the breakfast in
|Junior Health Pioneer :
||Your sandwich was full of ingredients.
||Of course, with boiled egg, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
|Junior Health Pioneer :
||Well. All are healthy food.
||Also, low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.
For enquiries of student's health problem, please
send e-mail to "Health Box".
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Board Members: Dr. HO Chun-luen, David, Ms. CHAN
Shuk-yi, Karindi, Ms. CHOI Choi-fung, Ms. WONG Kwai-kwan, Betty, Ms. CHAN
Tel : 2349 4212 / 3163 4600
Fax : 2348 3968