Breakfast is a meal preceding lunch or dinner and usually eaten in the morning. Less frequently, the term breakfast may also be used by people that work evenings or late nights to refer to the first meal of the day, although it may not include the same ingredients as breakfast in the standard sense.
The erosion of breakfast has been an ongoing trend in the West since at least the early 20th century, coinciding with later waking times than when most Westerners had agricultural occupations. Today, hampered by busy morning schedules, many neglect breakfast or skip it entirely. This trend now exists in industrialized nations worldwide, where it is accompanied frequently by replacing local breakfast traditions with modern Western-style foods, often packaged or pre-made. Nevertheless, many nutritionists consider breakfast a very important meal, since it provides vital nourishment and energy for starting that day. Studies have indicated that food eaten early in the day is less likely to contribute to fat gain than food eaten in the evening and that people who regularly eat breakfast weigh less than those who do not.
Typical breakfasts by world regions
The typical breakfast in Africa varies greatly from region to region, with the former colonial power of an area exerting a great cultural influence:
Algeria : the typical breakfast consists of coffee with French bread and butter or jam. (In Cameroon , the morning meal is simple and designed to hold one over until lunch. Breakfast often consists of beignets, which are either eaten with beans or dipped in bouilli, a sticky, sugary liquid derived from maize. Others eat fried eggs, often made into an omelette with other substances, such as beans, spaghetti noodles, or sardines.
China: Chinese breakfasts typically include huajuan, mántou (steamed breads), rice congee/jook (zou), shaobing (unleavened pocket-bread with sesame) and yóutiáo. Dòunai or dòujiang (soy milk), sweetened or savory, is used as a dip for the fried breadsticks. Street vendors also offer a wide variety of hot foods, often deep-fried. Items commonly sold are jianbing (fried pancakes), baozi (steamed buns with meat or vegetable filling), lúobogao (turnip cakes), zòngzi, noodles and soups. The dim sum breakfast, originally found in Hong Kong , Guangdong , and other parts of southern China , is a world in itself, and is often eaten as brunch.
India : In South India , the most popular breakfast is an assortment with several possible main dishes, such as idlis, vadas, dosas and chapatis. These are most often served with hot sambar and at least one kind of chutney (usually coconut chutney). Breakfast is usually followed by a glass of tea or coffee, both made with milk and sugar. Pongal is a common breakfast item in Tamil Nadu, while uppittu and kesaribath are the common items in Karnataka. The usual North Indian breakfast consists of chapati or paratha breads with a vegetable curry, plus sweets like kaju burfi. In Maharashtra , poha, Upma or shira (similar to kesaribath) is frequently eaten for breakfast. In urban areas, omlettes and simple butter sandwiches and some fruit juice, generally refered to as Continental Breakfast, are becoming a popular breakfast food.
Many large manufacturing industrial houses serve breafast, mostly Indian variety, to thier employees at the factrory canteens at subsidised rates.
Japan : A traditional Japanese breakfast includes items like miso soup, rice with nori or other garnishes, natto, grilled fish, raw egg, and a pickled vegetable. Western breakfast foods may be eaten. However, the influence of Japanese travelers has made the traditional breakfast a standard option on the menus of many upscale hotels world-wide.
Korea : In Korea , breakfast has not existed as a distinct concept. Food eaten in the morning does not differ substantially from the other meals of the day. Kimchi (a mixture of fermented vegetables) and rice are staples of the morning meal. Today, people are more likely to eat Western-style breakfasts similar to those in the United States .
Malaysia and Singapore : In Malaysia and Singapore , breakfast sometimes consists of a popular Malay food called nasi lemak. Other food such as roti canai (known as roti prata in Singapore ), kaya toast and wonton noodles are also among the favorites.
Myanmar : In Myanmar , the traditional breakfast is chapati or naan (Indian-style flatbreads) dipped in sweet-milk (home-made sweet condensed milk). Mohinga, a noodle soup is often eaten for breakfast in cities, where hawkers are common.
Thailand , Vietnam , and Cambodia : In Thailand , Vietnam , and Cambodia it is customary to eat soup for breakfast, as well as congee. Street eateries in Bangkok offer a variety of different soups.
The typical breakfast of Australians resembles breakfast in many Western countries. Owing to the warm weather in most parts of Australia , generally breakfast is light, consisting of cereals, toast, fruit, and fruit juices rather than cooked items. A Full English breakfast might still be enjoyed on weekends or at a café, but is not a daily ritual.
Australia has a unique spread called Vegemite that is routinely smeared on toast for breakfast. It is similar to a popular British spread called Marmite, but has very few followers outside of Australia other than expatriates.
As a general trend, traditional breakfasts are less substantial and less elaborate in the warmer, more southern countries bordering the Mediterranean , while breakfasts are traditionally larger, with a greater variety of dishes and greater prevalence of hot dishes in the cooler northern- and central-European countries.
An institutional meal plan based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions and served in hotels world-wide is known as a European "Continental breakfast". It is a light snack meant to tide one over until lunch. It consists mainly of coffee and milk (often mixed as Cappuccino or latte) with a variety of sweet cakes such as brioche and pastries such as croissant, often with a sweet jam, cream, or chocolate filling. It is often served with juice.
In Italy the traditional breakfast is caffe latte (warm milk and coffe) with bread or biscotti (plain cookies), children drink hot chocolate or plain milk. If you have your breakfast in a bar (coffee shop) it is made of cappuccino e brioche (frothed hot milk with coffee, and a pastry).
Hotels and other types of lodging in Europe typically include breakfast in their rates, and in many cases, especially in larger hotels, it is served as a buffet. Specific items will vary from country to country, depending on local breakfast tastes and habits. In Switzerland , for example, cold cuts (luncheon meats), cheese, yoghurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads, and rolls are served. Regardless of location, the standard requirements for a British breakfast (eggs, potatoes, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms) are also often a part of the buffet.
Traditionally, inhabitants of the British Isles have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, all washed down with tea or coffee.
England . The full English breakfast (see article) also includes tomatoes and several other items such as beans, mushrooms, black pudding. These are served with toast or crumpets. Alternatively, fish (especially kippers) can be served with bread and butter and often scrambled eggs. Eating a full English breakfast daily is, however, now rare, and most opt for cold breakfast cereal or toast, which is usually eaten with marmalade. Grapefruit halves are commonly served.
Scotland : A full Scottish Breakfast will consist of similar items to the full English breakfast — in fact the Scottish rendition could be no different yet still be defined as a Scottish Breakfast — with possible additions such as potato cakes and white pudding becoming more common. For simpler breakfasts, porridge is popular in Scotland .
British imperial experience in India introduced kedgeree to the breakfast buffet in grander British households. Today this dish remains popular but is normally served later in the day rather than at breakfast.
Ireland : breakfast traditions resemble those of Britain . A specifically Irish breakfast may include white pudding, soda bread, and in Ulster , soda farls and potato farls.
Germany : The typical German breakfast consists of bread rolls or toast with butter, honey, jam, ham or sausage, a soft-boiled egg, and coffee. However, cereals have become popular, and regional variation is significant -- cheeses, cold cuts, meat spreads and fruit (fresh or stewed) may appear, as well as eggs cooked to order (usually at smaller hotels or B&Bs).
Netherlands: A traditional Dutch breakfast consists of a combination of poached eggs, bacon (ontbijt spek), sausage (ontbijtworst), breakfast cake (ontbijtkoek), and cold sliced meat such as smoked horse (rookvlees paard) or smoked beef (rookvlees rund).
Today those people that eat breakfast at all typically eat sliced bread with toppings such as cheese, a variety of cured meats, or something sweet like jam, the typically Dutch hagelslag (hail) which comes in two flavors; chocoladehagel (chocolate) and vruchtenhagel (fruit), chocolade vlokken (chocolate flakes), Muisjes (mice), peanut butter, syrup (from sugar beet or fruit) and honey. Rusks are also popular; cereals are less so. Tea, dripolator coffee, milk and juice are the most popular breakfast beverages.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
In Eastern European countries with cold climates, such as Russia , breakfasts tend to be substantial. Zavtrak may consist of hot oatmeal or kasha, eggs, cheese, cured meats or sausage, rye breads with butter, and coffee or tea.
Yoghurt or, especially in central and eastern Europe , kefir may be consumed.
In some Balkan countries such as Serbia , savory pastries known as burek are consumed with yogurt.
A typical breakfast in Denmark , similar to its southern neighbor Germany , consists of bread rolls or toast with butter and Danish skæreost (slicing cheese), a buttery creamy white cheese (often Danish havarti or Danish tilsit), fruit jam, and a lot of coffee. A bigger and fancier spread might also include cold cuts (cold, thin-sliced ham, rullepølse, salami), soft-boiled eggs, muesli and sweet rolls of all types. Special occasions are often celebrated with a shot of Gammel Dansk. Danish workers typically start their Friday mornings with "breakfast meetings".
Breakfasts in other parts of Scandinavia may be quite ample. Fish, cheese, eggs, bacon, hot and cold cereals, breads, potatoes, and fruits are all eaten in various combinations, along with juices, coffee and tea. Filmjölk, a soured milk similar to buttermilk or yoghurt is often used on cereals. Whole-grain porridges are popular in Finland , also accompanied by this type of soured milk.
France: In France a typical domestic breakfast will consist of bowls (rather than cups or mugs) of coffee, often café au lait, or hot chocolate with tartines – slices of baguette spread with jam - to be dunked. Croissants are also traditional.
Greece : In Northern Greece a pastry called bugatsa is eaten with Greek coffee.
Italy . In Italy prima colazione (Italian: "breakfast") is simply Caffè e latte with bread or rolls, butter, and jam. It is very common for Italians to have a quick breakfast snack during the morning (typically a panino, or bread roll).
Spain: A distinctive breakfast of Europe is the Spanish early-morning (post-late night) fare of chocolate y churros – an extruded stick of doughnut like dough with a star shaped profile covered in sugar, and very thick, sweet hot chocolate drink. In Madrid churros are somewhat smaller and shaped like a charity ribbon.
Portugal : A Portuguese pequeno-almoço comes in two varieties: one eaten running to work and another, more time-consuming one, more common on the weekends. When rushed in the morning, a cup of yogurt, milk, coffee or both and some bread with butter, cheese or jam suffices. Given the time, additions include orange juice, croissants, different kinds of pastry and, with luck, beautiful weather to the above said.
Latin American breakfasts feature many items seen in North American and Continental European breakfasts in regional variations. Maize-based breads such as tortillas or arepas may predominate, or be augmented with wheat breads or pastries. Coffee, chocolate and tea are usually taken with milk.
In the past, when Mexico 's population was predominantly rural and agricultural, breakfast tradition included a light desayuno of hot beverages and breads at dawn, and a heavier almuerzo mid-morning, with egg dishes such as huevos rancheros, meats, beans, tortillas, pastries, and fruits. Today almuerzo generally means lunch, and the Mexican breakfast may be the lighter or heavier version, depending on the person or occasion. Menudo, a tripe stew considered a folk remedy for a hangover, has become a breakfast dish as well as one eaten at other meals.
In most Arab areas, the most popular breakfast by far is pita bread dipped in rich labneh, a type of creamy curd, or in olive oil and za'atar (a common Middle-Eastern spice mix). Other popular breakfast foods in the Mashriq include boiled eggs, olives, cheese and beans.
Egypt : the traditional breakfast is ful medames: slow cooked fava beans (sometimes with lentils) dressed in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
Turkey : a standard breakfast is comprised of white cheese, tomatoes, black olives, bread with honey or preserves, soujouk, and an egg — all accompanied by sweet black tea.
Israeli: breakfast typically consists of nothing more than some coffee (usually instant) and some small cookies or slices of cake. A fuller breakfast might include fried or hard-boiled eggs, toast, or "Israeli salad": diced cucumber and tomato with olive oil and an acid (vinegar or lemon).
UNITED STATES AND CANADA
Traditional breakfasts in the United States and Canada are inspired by the Full English Breakfast and feature predominantly sweet or mild-flavored foods, mostly hot. Typical items include cold breakfast cereals, hot oatmeal, grits, other hot grain porridges, eggs, bacon, ham, small sausages, pan-fried potatoes (hash browns), toast, pancakes, waffles, French toast, cornbread, English muffins, bagels (often with cream cheese), pastries (such as croissants, doughnuts and muffins), yoghurt (often sweetened and flavored), and fruit. Orange juice is a standard breakfast beverage, along with coffee, tea, milk, and other fruit juices. Caffeinated carbonated beverages are occasionally substituted for these. An emerging tradition is to eat left-over pizza from dinner the night before (commonly called cold pizza, although sometimes reheated) for breakfast.
Many regions of the U.S.A. have local breakfast specialties that are less popular nationally. In the South, liver and grits are one traditional breakfast food; the Southwest has huevos rancheros; scrapple is a favorite in the Mid-Atlantic states ; pork roll is rarely available outside New Jersey and Philadelphia ; and New Englanders still occasionally indulge in fried salt-pork, and pie. Sausages also vary in popularity regionally, such as linguiça in southern New England , andouille in Louisiana , chorizo in the Southwest, et al.
Today, most Americans and Canadians eat a reduced breakfast most days, but may still enjoy a traditional hearty breakfast on weekends and holidays.
A worker's breakfast often consists only of coffee and prepared food purchased on the way to work or brought from home, eaten during the morning commute. Food items that fit this eat-on-the-go strategy include various sweet breakfast breads and pastries, sweetened flavored yoghurt cups, fresh fruit, granola or "energy" bars, toaster pastries such as Pop-Tarts, and instant oatmeal.
A typical contemporary combination of food for a hearty breakfast consists of eggs (fried or scrambled), one type of meat, and one or two starchy dishes; commonly hash browns and toast. A more basic breakfast combination would be a starchy food (such as toast, pastry, cereal, porridge, or pancakes) either alone or served with fruit and yogurt. This second option, similar to the Continental breakfasts served in Europe , is especially common in situations where serving hot food is difficult, expensive or impractical.
Eggs are strongly associated with breakfast, to the extent that many Americans and Canadians consider egg dishes out-of-place later in the day. Many fast-food restaurants sell breakfast versions of their typical offerings that include eggs and are usually sweeter and less spicy. Examples of such breakfasts-to-go are: egg-filled sandwiches of croissants or muffins; hamburgers without the usual vegetable garnishes; and breakfast burritos or tacos filled with eggs and cheese, optionally with other additions like meat or beans. Huevos rancheros is treated as such an hybrid in non-Mexican communities in the United States .
The modern options typical of the U.S. and Canada are representative of Western-style breakfasts that have become common worldwide, especially in industrialized nations.
English: 1463, from break (v.) + fast (n.). Cf. Fr. déjeuner "to breakfast," from L. dis-jejunare "to break the fast." The verb is from 1679. The Sp. almuerzo "breakfast" is from L. admorsus, pp. of admordere "to bite into," from ad- "to" + mordere "to bite."
The English name derives from the concept that one has not eaten while sleeping, i.e., one is fasting during that time, and one breaks that fast with the meal. The meaning is therefore the same as the French déjeuner or petit déjeuner and the Spanish desayuno. The German Frühstück, the Danish morgenmad, the Esperanto matenmango, the Japanese asameshi , the Chinese zao can and the Hebrew aruchat boker mean "morning meal."
The Portuguese pequeno almoço, meaning "little lunch", like its eastern neighbors, France and Spain . In Brazil , breakfast is café da manhã, the "coffee of the morning".
Common beverages at breakfast worldwide include fruit juices (orange juice, apple juice, grapefruit juice, etc.), milk, tea, and coffee. Cultures around the world commonly shun or restrict alcoholic beverages at breakfast. A notable exception would be the Mimosa: champagne and orange juice. Even a Mimosa, however, is rarely consumed before 10am .
Some restaurants devote themselves to breakfast or have special breakfast menus. The field is dominated on one hand by greasy spoons, diners, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food places, and on the other hand by hotels. However, some breakfast places resemble standard restaurants in procedure, selection, and price.
Breakfast is occasionally served as an entertainment meal. More popular than breakfast in this regard, however, is brunch.
The serving of a pancake breakfast is traditional on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), and some celebrate a festive breakfast on Christmas morning.
During Ramadan, Muslims describe the meal after sunset that "breaks the fast" as Iftar.