A Sort of Short History of Breakfast

It turns out Tony the Tiger lied to us…

Adelina Vasile


Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Do you believe that no one "needs" any meal in particular?

Or are you a promoter of the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" slogan? Speaking of which, do you know its origins? No, it wasn't your mother who coined it, but it's not much of an old idea either.

We've been serving breakfast as we know it for about 100 years. What was before that?

From Homo erectus to Kellogg and the lobbyists who came afterward, the idea of breakfast went through several stages:

🙉, 👨🏼, 💲💲💲.

TL;DR history of breakfast

Breakfast as we know it — first thing in the morning, only certain "healthy" foods — is a marketing product.

Throughout our history as humans, we went from no food for days to hearty, meaty breakfasts, to sugary cereal breakfasts, and back to no breakfasts.

The latter came as fasting entered the stage. Those who believe that skipping breakfast is the only way to fast might want to take a look at this article:

"Brace yourself for reading 'till you drop hungry" history of breakfast

For most of our history as humans, there were no grocery stores.

We would hunt and gather, literally burning our fingers and meals while experimenting with cooked food.

Functioning without food for long periods was the norm back then.

If anything, we survived and thrived while going through long periods of food shortage.

Three meals and two snacks a day, starting with a cereal bowl first thing in the morning?

It only became the norm within the past 100 years or so. And to this day, there's hardly any scientific evidence to support this theory.



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.