Make a Filipino Breakfast Healthier for Kids

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A Filipino breakfast is a hearty meal that usually includes eggs, fried rice, and cured meat or dried fish. Kids sometimes eat this same food combination as their parents because of limited prep time. However, most Pinoy breakfast food feature processed meats containing sodium nitrite. This preservative gives the meat a reddish color, improves flavor, and prevents the growth of bacteria. But it is detrimental to the overall health of children.

But what if you had a chance to improve your kids’ morning meal? Remember that the country is rich in both seafood and vegetables. Take advantage of that! Plus, you can do some swaps and minimal steps to transform any breakfast plate into a nutritious powerhouse. Here, learn how you can make traditional Filipino breakfast recipes healthier.

How to Make Filipino Breakfast Food Healthier

1. Pandesal

Traditional pandesal in a brown paper bag

Pandesal is a soft, warm, pillowy bread eaten at breakfast or as a snack. These bread rolls become vessels for different fillings to make sandwiches. Here comes a concern for parents. Pandesal is typically stuffed with luncheon meat or extra-sweet jams like peanut butter or coconut spread that are not health-friendly to kids. Why not go for wholesome options like Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread or mashed avocados? A classic egg mayo sandwich is always a reliable choice.

2. Champorado

Champorado is one of those quintessential Filipino dishes that doesn't seem to make sense but is utterly delicious. Making the combination of chocolate and rice healthier isn't simple. However, you can use unsweetened or dark chocolate to trim sugar content and choose with adlai for a better carb.

3. Arroz Caldo

A bowl of arroz caldo with eggs, shredded chicken, chopped green onions, and fried garlic

Traditional arroz caldo uses glutinous rice and chicken and has green onions, garlic, and boiled eggs as toppings. Want ways to upgrade its nutritional value? Make some ingredient swaps! Instead of rice, you can use oats or quinoa. For protein, try fish fillets, steamed tofu, or chopped shrimp. And to make it even heartier, you can mix in mashed squash or diced sweet potatoes.

4. Torta

Torta is the Pinoy version of an omelet. Many variations exist, with tortang talong and tortang giniling being perennial favorites. Healthifying this dish is as easy as sneaking vegetables into the mix. Add malunggay leaves, shredded carrots, mashed squash, diced bell peppers, or grated broccoli. Serve it with brown rice to slightly cut the carbs and sweet-tangy ketchup for dipping. Got any leftovers? Turn them into sandwiches with Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise and serve as merienda for kids.

5. Daing na Bangus

Fish is another viand Filipinos love to eat for breakfast. Daing na bangus is on top of most lists. However, daing is typically deep-fried until crisp and golden. All that oil won’t do your kids any good. Instead, you can air-fry the fish to keep things healthy. Pair it with a refreshing Pinoy ensalada of tomatoes, red onions, and pako to increase the nutritional value. An alternative is to make paksiw na bangus, which uses almost the same ingredients but follows a healthier cooking method.

6. Silog Meals

Traditional tosilog with side dishes

Silog is a classic Pinoy breakfast meal featuring different cured meats, such as tapa or cured beef (tapsilog), tocino or sweet red pork (tocilog), and bacon (bacsilog). However, silogs are not always healthy, especially when you consume them almost daily. Many chronic diseases are associated with processed meat consumption, including hypertension, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

What can you do if you and your kids still want a silog fix? Turn to healthier ingredient alternatives. For proteins, go for fish tapa, chicken tocino, or turkey bacon. Vegan (not Vigan) longganisa and soy-based chicken nuggets are already available in the market. You can also make sinangag using shredded cauliflower, quinoa, or heirloom rice. As for the egg, choose cooking methods that don’t require oil, like poaching, boiling, or baking.

In the end, moderation is key. While a Filipino breakfast may not be the healthiest meal, occasionally indulging in your favorite silogs and chocolaty champorado shouldn’t be too harmful. Balance things out with healthful cooking techniques and wholesome kitchen staples. These keep the cholesterol at bay while affording you and your kids the delicious tastes of a traditional Pinoy morning meal.

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