Food Pyramid

Let's explore Malaysian Food Pyramid

This pyramid is a simple tool that aims to teach you the healthy (and smart) way to feed your child. You can click on the different levels of the pyramid to learn about the food groups and on the food icons/images for nutritional facts and interesting tips. Let’s start now by clicking the pyramid on the right to learn more!

  • It helps to ensure your child obtains proper nutrition through eating a balanced meal that comprises a variety of food in moderate amounts.
  • It consists of 4 levels, showing the 5 main food groups and the recommended daily amounts.
  • Foods at the lowest level should be eaten the most, while those at the tip should be consumed the least.

Group 1

Cereals, Cereal Products & Tubers

Cereals and cereal products include grains (e.g. rice, oats, wheat), breakfast cereals, rice products, wheat products, tubers and maize (corn). These foods contain carbohydrates - a main source of energy for growing and active kids. These foods are naturally low in fat and high in fibre, and are good sources of B vitamins, vitamin E and many minerals. Feed your child 4-8 servings of this food group daily.

  • An excellent source of carbohydrate for energy.
  • Wide variety of rice to choose from - unpolished rice (brown), polished rice (white), short-grain rice, long-grain rice, fragrant rice, etc.

Tips!

  • Choose brown rice for greater fibre, vitamins and minerals content. If child doesn’t like brown rice, try cooking it together with white rice.
  • Limit your child’s intake of rice cooked with fat, e.g. nasi lemak, nasi minyak and nasi biryani.
  • Made from rice flour, such as bihun, mee sua and kuey teow.
  • Provide carbohydrate - a main source of energy.

Tips!

  • Serve your child bihun or kuey teow soup instead of fried kuey teow or fried bihun, which is high in fat.
  • For a wholesome meal, add meat, fish, poultry or eggs and vegetables to bihun or kuey teow soup.
  • Made from wheat flour and this include bread, capatti, noodles (e.g. mee kuning, atta), pasta (e.g. spaghetti), crackers and biscuits.
  • Some wheat products like bread are enriched with B vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Tips!

  • Some wheat products like bread are enriched with B vitamins, minerals and fibre.
  • Add meat, fish, poultry or eggs and vegetables when serving to make it a more wholesome meal for your child.
  • Good source of carbohydrate, soluble fibre, B vitamins and iron.
  • Are available as rolled oats, oatmeal and also found in muesli cereals.

Tips!

  • Add milk and fruits to whole grain oats for a wholesome and quick breakfast.
  • Serve homemade oatmeal cookies as snack. Your kids will surely love ‘em!
  • A good way to kick start your child’s day with a boost of energy.
  • A good source of fibre, and also fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Tips!

  • Read food labels and choose whole-grain, high-fibre breakfast cereals varieties.
  • Add milk, fruits and nuts into your child’s cereals for a nutritious and delicious breakfast!
  • Include potato, tapioca, yam and sweet potato.
  • Naturally low in fat, high in fibre, and contains vitamins (e.g. vitamin C and B6).

Tips!

  • If possible, let your child eat steamed potatoes or sweet potato with the skin on. Its skin contains a large amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Limit your child’s intake of potato crisps (e.g. kerepek ubi) and chips because they contain less nutrients, but are high in salt and fat.
  • Neither a fruit nor vegetable, but a type of cereal.
  • Provides carbohydrate and is rich in B-vitamins.
  • Needed by the body to convert carbohydrate to energy.

Tips!

  • Maize prepared in healthy cooking methods (e.g. steaming, grilling) makes a nutritious afternoon snack for your child.
  • Limit your child’s intake of maize or popcorn served with excess salt, butter and other toppings.

Group 2

Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Vegetables include:

  • green leafy vegetables (e.g. lettuce, kangkung),
  • root vegetables (e.g. carrots, turnips),
  • fruit vegetables (e.g. tomato, cucumber, brinjal),
  • cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cabbage, broccoli), and
  • leguminous vegetables (e.g. peas and beans).
  • great source of fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
  • consume at least 3 servings daily of a variety of vegetables from different categories and colours.
  • Tips!
    • Introduce vegetables into your kids��?diet at an early age to cultivate a liking for vegetables.
    • Stir-frying with a small amount of oil is the best way to cook veggies. It provides a tasty dish with good texture and minimises nutrient loss.
  • Include sawi, kangkung, bayam, lettuce, etc.
  • Good sources of vitamins and minerals eg iron and calcium, phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and fibre.

Tips!

  • Don’t overcook the leafy vegetables as it will turn to olive colour and will make it unappetizing to your child.
  • Lettuce can be eaten raw. Use it in toasted tuna or egg sandwich for your child’s afternoon snack.
  • Include carrot, turnips and onions. They are generally rich in vitamins.
  • For example, carrot is rich in beta-carotene (a source of vitamin A) - important for the maintenance of healthy body functions.

Tips!

  • Carrot juice (without sugar added) is a healthful beverage for your kids.
  • If your child doesn’t like carrot, try ‘sneaking in��?diced carrots into casseroles.
  • Include tomato, brinjal and pumpkin.
  • Are usually rich in phytochemicals that are known to benefit health - lycopene in tomato, anthocyanins in brinjal and beta-carotene in pumpkin.

Tips!

  • Add blended tomatoes into pasta sauce to include some natural tomato goodness into your child’s diet.
  • If your child doesn’t like to eat plain brinjal, try making brinjal yong tau fu with fish paste.
  • Cabbage and broccoli.
  • Contain various vitamins and minerals that are important for health.
  • Rich in a group of phytochemicals known as indoles, which are protective against cancers.

Tips!

  • Avoid overcooking vegetables to prevent losing too much of its nutrients.
  • Cabbage can be eaten raw; shredded cabbage is an excellent ingredient for coleslaw and salad.
  • Include French beans, kacang panjang.
  • High in fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system (e.g. prevent constipation)

Tips!

  • Stir-fry French beans with carrots and cabbage to make a colourful and nutritious veggie dish for your child

Group 3

Fruits

Vegetables are a great source of fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Vegetables include:

  • Most fruits are best eaten fresh and raw when they are ripe and have a sweet taste.
  • Give your child 2 servings of fruits daily, and choose from a variety of fruits - papaya, banana, watermelon, guava, starfruit, orange and apples.
  • Tips!
    • Encourage your child to eat a variety of fruits from different colour groups every day.
    • To make it easy for your child to consume the fruit, you can blend his favourite fruits into juices or smoothies, or add chopped fruits into jelly or pudding.
  • High in vitamin C and carotenes (a source of vitamin A and an antioxidant).

Tips!

  • Let your child enjoy papaya fresh and raw, or add to his fruit salads.
  • High in potassium and a rich source of vitamin B6.
  • Bananas make an ideal immediate source of energy.

Tips!

  • Add banana to your child’s breakfast cereal or oats to increase its nutritional value.
  • Blend banana into smoothies or add into yoghurt.
  • Limit your child’s intake of pisang goreng, which are high in fat and calories.
  • 92% of a watermelon consists of water, making it a great thirst-quencher on a hot day.
  • Watermelon also contains vitamin C.

Tips!

  • Make watermelon into shapes of balls or cubes, and add them to fruit salads. Your child will love this ‘fun��?dessert!
  • Rich in fibre and vitamin C.
  • Your child needs vitamin C to help his body better absorb iron from food.

Tips!

  • If your kid dislikes eating guava, try blending it into juices or ice smoothies.
  • Contains vitamin C and carotenes to support your child’s health.

Tips!

  • To choose the sweet variety, pick the ones with thicker and fleshy ribs.
  • Vary the way you serve starfruit ��?juice it, or add it to salad.
  • Rich in vitamin C and carotenes.

Tips!

  • Let your child reap the benefits of an orange’s vitamin C by making him a glass of fresh orange juice (without adding sugar and without removing the pulp).

Group 4

Fish, Meat, Poultry, Egg & Legumes

  • This group of foods are a valuable source of dietary protein.
  • Proteins are the building blocks of the body, needed to build muscles, repair and maintain body tissues, and make hormones and enzymes.
  • These foods also provide essential amino acids, which must be obtained from the diet because the body cannot make them.
  • Feed your child ½-2 servings of poultry or meat or egg, 1 serving of fish, and ½-1 serving of legumes daily.
  • Tips!
    • Let your child obtain his protein from a combination of plant and animal sources.
  • Meats such as beef, lamb, pork, and veal, are considered red meat.
  • A good source of protein, B vitamins and some minerals (e.g. iron, zinc).

Tips!

  • Choose lean meat over fatty meat.
  • Prepare meat using healthy cooking methods, such as grilling, stir-frying and roasting, instead of deep-frying.
  • Poultry foods include chicken, duck and turkey, are considered white meats.
  • Rich in protein, vitamins (e.g. vitamins B6 and B12) and minerals (e.g. iron, phosphorus).

Tips!

  • Remove the skin of poultry before cooking or eating.
  • Limit your child’s intake of processed poultry meat, such as chicken nuggets, sausages, and hams, which are high in salt.
  • Contain amounts of protein equivalent to those in meat and poultry, but are lower in fat and cholesterol.
  • Most fish (e.g. kembong, mackerel) also provide B vitamins and some minerals (e.g. iodine, iron).
  • Some fish, such as salmon, tenggiri, tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that must be obtained from the diet.
  • Small fish consumed with edible bones, such as ikan bilis, are good sources of calcium.

Tips!

  • Consume a variety of fish by alternating between fresh water fish and marine fish.
  • To encourage your child to eat fish, choose fish that is less ‘fishy��?(e.g. tilapia), or use herbs, spices or lemon to season and flavour the fish.
  • Eggs (e.g. chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs) can be an important source of protein for your child.
  • The quality of egg protein is excellent (contains all essential amino acids).
  • The protein comes from the egg white, while the yolk provides various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, D, E and iron and folic acids.
  • Include eggs into your child’s daily diet.

Tips!

  • Eggs are versatile and easy to prepare. Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, omelet, whichever your child likes!
  • Avoid salted eggs as they have high salt content.
  • Includes dhal, chickpeas, black beans, red and green beans, soybeans, peanuts, etc.
  • Rich in protein and fibre, and also provide other nutrients, such as B vitamins and iron.
  • Legumes are also a source of several healthful phytochemicals.
  • Legumes are an important source of protein, vitamin B12 and iron for vegetarians.

Tips!

  • Choose a variety of legumes to be part of your child’s diet.
  • Serve steamed chickpeas (kacang kuda) as a fibre-rich afternoon snack for your kid.
  • You can also try giving your child bean products, such as tauhu or tempe.
  • You can top salads with canned (e.g. baked beans) to add protein to the dish.

Group 5

Milk & Milk Products

  • Milk products include cheese, yoghurt, cultured milk and milk-based ice-cream.
  • High in protein, rich in calcium and contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Everybody is encouraged to consume adequate amounts of milk and milk products regardless of age.
  • Let your kids enjoy the goodness of milk or milk products with 1-3 servings daily.
  • Tips!
    • Sweetened condensed milk is not considered a milk product as it has low nutritional value.
  • Contain the same beneficial nutrients as milk, but some come with more salt.
  • Let your child try a variety of cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan and mozarella.

Tips!

  • To make a quick breakfast or afternoon snack for your kid, make a toasted cheese sandwich.
  • Make your vegetable salad more palatable by adding cheese to encourage your child to eat his veggies
  • Made from milk fermented with live cultures (good bacteria).
  • Help to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Tips!

  • Add banana, apple or mango to a cup of plain yoghurt to encourage your child to eat yoghurt, because it’s now more flavourful and colourful!
  • Instead of mayonnaise, use yoghurt as salad dressings, or to replace coconut milk (santan) in curry.
  • Milk is marvelous and is rich in calcium:
    • Helps build strong bones and teeth.
    • Helps your child maximise bone gain from an early age to prevent osteoporosis in later life.
  • Let your child drink milk every day.

Tips!

  • Add milk to your child’s oatmeal and cereals for breakfast.
  • If your child doesn’t like plain milk, serve him flavoured milk, which also contains protein and calcium, but has more sugar and a slightly higher calorie content.
  • Add plain milk instead of sweetened condensed milk to your child’s malt drink.

Group 6

Fat, Sugar, Oil & Salt

  • The items in the tip of the Food Pyramid are not considered as a main food group.
  • Use in small amounts when preparing meals for your child and family.
  • Can be one of your child’s source of energy.
  • Can be obtained from:
    • animal sources (e.g. butter, lard, ghee) and
    • plant sources, such as margarine and vegetable oil (e.g. canola oil, safflower oil, corn oil).
  • Some fats, especially from plants, also provide essential fatty acids (EFA) which your body can’t make and must be obtained from food.
  • These essential fatty acids have many important functions in the body.
  • Fat helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).

Tips!

  • Use as little cooking oil as possible for cooking, and preferably use plant oils.
  • Limit your child’s intake of animal fats because they tend to increase blood cholesterol.
  • Limit your child’s consumption of foods that may contain high amounts of hidden fats, such as burgers, chips and local kuih.
  • Can be an instant energy source but it does not contain any nutrients.
  • Naturally found in foods (e.g. sucrose in sugar cane and honey).
  • Hidden in foods, such as canned fruits, cakes and confectionaries, kaya, jam, and local kuih.
  • Use as little sugar as possible in your food.

Tips!

  • Prepare kuih or bake cakes using less sugar than what the recipe calls for.
  • Sweeten up your child’s oatmeal with fresh fruits instead of adding sugar.
  • If your child wants to eat cendol or air batu campur, share with him so that both of you can enjoy the food, but with the sugar load divided!
  • Foods that are high in salt include seasonings and sauces, salted nuts, preserved foods (e.g. salted fish), pickled vegetables, etc.
  • Salt (sodium chloride) adds taste to our food, and sodium is an important mineral for the body to function normally.
  • Limit the use of table salt to 1 teaspoon daily, including when cooking.
  • Use as little sugar as possible in your food.

Tips!

  • Instead of using salt, enhance the flavour of your dishes using natural herbs and condiments, such as garlic, white pepper, lemon and vinegar.
  • Soak preserved foods, such as dried anchovies and prawns, in water to remove most of the sodium before using.
  • Limit your child’s intake of salty foods, such as salted fish/eggs, salted vegetables, potato chips and processed foods (e.g. sausages, nuggets).