Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is it?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – we are told.  Followed up by: “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper”.


Who says?


Is it true?

Turns out John Harvey Kellogg started it off as a promotion for his – ok, you guessed it – cornflakes.

That was in the late 1800s.  In 1917, Lenna Cooper, an American dietician associated with the Kelloggs suggested that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

The like a king quote didn’t arrive until 1956 when another American nutritionist – Adelle Davis – altered an older saying.

Have we always eaten breakfast?

Wikipedia is quite interesting on this one.  The word breakfast literally means to break one’s fast from the night before.  Therefore whatever time it happens is breakfast.

Practicality ruled – is it better to eat at home before going out to work or to wait until the big midday dinner?  By the middle ages food in the morning was only given to those who were too young or ill to wait.

By the industrial revolution though with long hours being worked in factories the practice changed to eating something early and then not eating again until the end of the day.

What did we eat?

Again, it depended on what was available.  Breakfast foods weren’t necessarily identified as such.  Cheaper foods like bread were staples – meat being left until the main meal.

So do we need breakfast?

What does stand out in all of this is that three meals a day seems to be unusual across history.  One or two meals being the norm to allow people time to get work done.  Three meals plus regular snacks just don’t crop up even for incredibly wealthy people.

We don’t need breakfast although at some point during the day we probably will break our fast. (You may be deliberately fasting for some reason).  We also don’t need specific breakfast food although you may want to leave the more expensive food for the main meal later.

So whatever your preferences are – go for it!

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