The tradition of eating a morning meal has been enjoyed for centuries, going back as early as prehistoric man. With the little fanfare that breakfast sometimes gets today, you may be surprised by it’s storied history.

In our ONE on ONE article, Breaking Fast: Traditions of the Morning Meal, we journey through several centuries of this morning ritual, from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. We show how what we ate, and when we ate it, was influenced by religion, geography, and trade. You’ll learn how breakfast foods have evolved — and in some cases, have stayed the same — even while our eating patterns have morphed from “sit down at the table” occasions into more mini-meals, often eaten away from home.

Rooster Chalkboard
Are You a Breakfast Champion?
Test your knowledge with this quick quiz:

1. What institution banned eating breakfast, and why?

2. During the 17th century, the sanitary conditions of water were pretty iffy. What did people drink for breakfast instead?

3. What is “stone bread” and why was it so important to soldiers and sailors?

4. What is the original meaning of the word, “breakfast?”

5. Which region was known for traditionally eating yogurt, vegetables, and whole grains for breakfast (still a favorite breakfast today)?

Learn the answers to these questions, and more, in this article. If you’re too curious to wait, the answers are at the bottom of this post.

Breakfast is Easy as 1-2-3!

If all this thinking has left you hungry, don’t grab that donut! Instead, get inspired with this chart, and see how easy it is to enjoy a 21st century morning meal that is quick, nutritious, and delicious.

Breakfast Chart Easy as 1-2-3
A Reason to Celebrate 

September is National Better Breakfast Month, and a perfect time to try these ideas. If you’re up for making your own granola from a few simple ingredients, try this Oldways recipe for Homemade Granola. Add some fruit and yogurt and you’re good to go. (It’s great for an afternoon snack, too). For a weekend breakfast, our Southwest Tofu Scramble recipe may have just the kick you’re looking for to tickle your tastebuds. Twenty minutes, some veggies and spice, and you’ve got one creamy, savory egg dish to enjoy.

For additional quick breakfast ideas, check out this toolkit by belVita, featuring belVita Breakfast Biscuits paired with other healthy foods, perfect for at-home or on-the-go meals. (Disclosure: belVita is a sponsor of the ONE program.)

Whether you’re eating on the run, or sitting tableside with family and friends, take time to celebrate the goodness of a healthy breakfast. Who knows, you may develop your own morning tradition.

Deborah Plunkett, ONE program manager

belVita breakfast biscuit with cheese and fruit
Quiz Answers:

1. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church banned eating a morning meal, considering it sinful and slothful to do so.

2. Before coffee and tea became popular and affordable, most people drank wine and beer with their morning meal.

3. Stone bread refers to a hard biscuit, similar to a cracker. It was a staple for soldiers and sailors during the 17th century because it was a portable, practical way to preserve carbohydrates.

4. The word breakfast literally means “breaking the fast” from the previous night’s slumber.

5. Around the Mediterranean, Greeks, Turks and Syrians historically ate (and continue to eat) breakfast foods similar to what they ate during the day, including yogurt, veggies and whole grains. 

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