The Changing American Breakfast

The Wall Street Journal recently had an interesting piece called Fast and Furious: Americans at Breakfast. While the piece had a business angle (after all, it is the Wall Street Journal), there were some interesting points about the changing ways that Americans are eating.
Here are four points that I thought were interesting:

1. Americans seem to be slowly moving away from cereal consumption toward a more protein rich breakfast. Cereal sales are down approximately 4% over the past two years(Burger King actually started serving burgers at breakfast!)
2. Americans still tend to eat breakfast at home
3. Morning eating routines are more rigid than other meals
4. The average American spends 12 minutes eating breakfast, 28 minutes for lunch and 24 minutes for dinner.

There’s a lot to say about these points. Here are two ideas that I took away from them.

First, breakfast has long been hailed as the most important meal of the day. That’s because it fuels your morning, replenishes your body after sleep and is most likely to be burned throughout the day. I also think that it frames your mindset for healthy eating throughout the day by starting off on the right foot.

There are two important points about American breakfast habits that we need to consider: 1. we spend the least amount of time eating breakfast; and 2. our breakfast routines are rigid. Keeping in mind those points, it makes sense to put a little effort into planning what your breakfast menu will be, at the very least, the day before. Plan a healthy breakfast in advance and shop accordingly so that the foods you need are available.

Second, as Americans are moving toward less carbohydrate rich and more protein rich breakfasts, it’s important to realize that there are ways of getting more protein without turning to fast food choices that are very heavy on calories.
Protein choices do not need to be calorie laden, Greek yogurt is high in protein (as well as calcium, Vitamin D and active yogurt cultures) and does not require prep time. Eggs are a protein rich breakfast staple that are filling and can be prepared in many ways. If you are crunched for time in the morning, boil eggs the night before for a quicker breakfast, even on the run.

Better menu planning and smarter food choices will help you get more protein into your breakfast in a healthier and pleasurable way.