HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Do you eat dinner for breakfast?

So I realized recently that if I eat dinner for breakfast -- i.e. a piece of salmon, greens, quinoa is typical -- I'm much less hungry all morning than if I eat typical breakfast foods such as cereal, pancakes, etc.

It's the protein-fat-complex carb combo that makes me feel satisfied.

This got me researching what breakfasts are in other cultures -- In Japan, breakfast is Miso soup, in Indonesia, curries are typical, beans and eggs are common in some Latin American countries, open-faced sandwiches with cheese and meat are eaten in Scandinavian countries ... in other words, other cultures eat a lot of savory, protein-rich foods for breakfast.

I'm wondering:

What do you eat? Is there a specific reason?

If you live/lived/traveled to other countries, what were typical breakfast foods? Is there a theory behind eating curries for breakfast, for example? Does the spice wake you up for the day?

I guess I'm looking for both cultural and nutritional context ... so tell me what you know!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Noodles, Soups and Porridge are staple breakfast items in Asian culture. Whenever I vacationed in a Latin country, e.g., Mexico.....meat was always available with tortillas.

    I always enjoy Steak and Eggs.....or leftover roasted meats....a pork chop, Irish Bacon

    Actually, I never ate cereals, pancakes and waffles growing up. I didn't care for them.....and still don't.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      I lived in Norway for a year and you are correct about the open-faced sandwiches. My preference was cheese with a slice of sweet red pepper. The most popular topping my friends ate was caviar/roe topped with sliced boiled eggs. These same types of sandwiches were lunch fare also. The only hot meal was dinner. We did have cereals and things as well, but it was so cold I just didn't want cold cereal for breakfast. On Sundays we would have a huge spread of rolls, cheeses, jams, soft boiled eggs, some kind of meat and sometimes pickled fish.

      These days I love a bowl of gumbo for breakfast. That's my favorite. But, I'll eat all kinds of left overs for breakfast. I'm still not a cereal fan. And too much eggs and bacon isn't good for me.

    2. I love noodles or soup for breakfast. I have a raging sweet tooth, but oddly I hate sweets for breakfast. (Pancakes, cinnamon rolls, cereal, etc)
      I can eat all those things for snacks but in the morning I like a nice sandwich or ramen with a poached egg.

      1. "What do you eat? Is there a specific reason?"
        i think savory foods are terrific for breakfast. then again, i also see nothing wrong with pancakes or cereal for dinner if that's what strikes your fancy! i'm a big believer that anything goes - i think it's silly to restrict foods to particular meals.

        for me, breakfast can be:
        - Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta, with fruit, chia or flax seeds, & nuts or nut butter
        - oats: sweet and with protein powder added; *or* savory with a side of egg whites or other protein. may be rolled, steel-cut or oat bran, and can be cooked on the stove, baked or pan-seared.
        - eggs prepared in any of a number of ways
        - salmon with brown rice or quinoa
        - polenta: sweet and served with cottage cheese or yogurt; or savory & served with eggs & cheese...and like the oatmeal, may be creamy and cooked on the stove, or firm, sliced & seared.
        - smoked fish on half a GF bagel (usually only back East at family gatherings with Zabar's fish)
        - a protein shake

        the reason? that's what i happen to be in the mood for at the given moment :) i will say that my meals in general tend to be lighter (and smaller) than those of the average American - i can't stand feeling weighed down by a heavy meal at any time of day, and i certainly don't want to start one off feeling like i have a hunk of lead sitting in my stomach. the only sure thing is that it will be heavy on the protein and fiber.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I love leftover cooked grains with fruit or leftover steamed or roasted veggies.

        2. I try not to eat too many carbs (medical reason). I also wake up hungry, and have no problem eating non-traditional or traditional American breakfast foods. I often have bacon and eggs, sausage and a cheese stick, apples and peanut butter, cheeseburgers, tacos, chili, cold leftover chicken or steak; Basically, whatever I can find in the fridge.

          1. If you want an ample pulled pork sandwich on a crusty roll with hot sauce and crispy pork rind in the Yucatan, you had better get it by 10:30 am, because when they run out of pig you have run out of luck. 11:00 am? Snooze, you lose.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo

              I just drooled all over my computer.

            2. I love beans and eggs. I usually make my beans in some kind of tomato sauce, usually with sauteed onions and garlic, and sometimes bacon. I like the beans on toast with a sunny side up egg on top of the beans. The past couple days, I've been eating the savory oatmeal from the oatmeal thread-- crispy fried leeks, salty oatmeal, a runny egg cooked on top of the oatmeal and siracha and sesame oil drizzled on top. I also like an egg on top of cheesy grits. A bagel with turkey and hummus is one of my favorite bagel shop breakfasts. I do try to hit all three food groups in the morning, and from there it's whatever I find in the fridge.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jvanderh

                For some reason, one of the few things I recall about the old Dick Van Dyke show was that Rob Petrie's favorite breakfast was leftover franks and beans - eaten cold, if memory serves.
                A combination of protein and soluble fiber certainly makes sense as a meal that will keep you satiated and energized for the first half of the day.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Dick's brother Jerry lives in Playa del Carmen, and at age 79, you should see what he eats for breakfast!

              2. As big breakfast people my husband and I admittedly enjoy a Full English (or Welsh or Scottish) breakfast when we travel to the UK. Tatty scones and laver bread are amongst my favourites. In Italy breakfasts are insubstantial (i.e. a stale croissant) so we must plan ahead - my hungriest time of day is in the morning. We also go to the markets. We normally pick up some great local cheese, bread and dried or cured ham such as prosciutto. Breakfasts in Germany and Switzerland can be good with various cheeses, breads, charcuterie. When we travel we stay in small B&Bs (what the breakfast is comprised of is one of the deciding factors) and really enjoy our breakfasts. One of our best was in Croatia at a B&B where we had local cheeses (over the next hill), their own olives and olive oil, warm freshly-picked tomatoes and walnuts, freshly-baked and grilled bread, all drizzled with local acacia honey. Served with rakija (aka grappa)!

                Another time whilst in the Czech Republic we were served so much food for breakfasts even we could not finish them - hot entrees (i.e. potatoes and cheese casseroles), charcuterie, cheeses, fruit, fresh baking, toast, and so on. WHEW!

                Whilst I've been talking a lot about breakfast-y foods many travel breakfast dishes have included plump sausages and gratins and baked beans. I personally could eat almost anything for breakfast, from chili to cold pizza.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chefathome

                  Croatia breakfast sounds sooo yummy. I'm drooling. Thanks for sharing.
                  I've been to Switzerland and had the breakfast you spek of there and loved it.

                2. I eat leftover dinner for breakfast because it's there. Leftovers have to be eaten and my husband isn't big on 2nds plus 3rds except for some of his favorites - such as pot roast. Waste not want not!

                  1. I think American breakfast food is lame, and I'd much rather eat dinner food. Usually, however, I just have some coffee or a croissant or something like that (for the sake of keeping calorie intake reasonable).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sushigirlie

                      I'd like to have your metabolism if a croissant helps keep you within a reasonable caloric intake!

                      1. re: link_930

                        Really. I mean, aren't they about 90% butter, 10% white flour? ;-)

                    2. I love having dessert for breakfast, esp. ice cream and cold fruit pies (and sometimes both like a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with apple pie).

                      Other times it'll be fried rice, with a fried egg, and a big bowl of hot and sour soup.

                      Lately, I've been having alot of grilled salmon and steak for breakfast.

                      I'll basically eat whatever, whenever, and however I want.

                      The clock doesn't dictate what I eat, my appetite does.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        "I love having dessert for breakfast, esp. ice cream and cold fruit pies (and sometimes both like a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with apple pie)."
                        ahh, yes, let's not forget the "pie for breakfast" thread!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          "Dad is great, he gives us chocolate cake". We use to let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast during our vacations where we had a kitchen. Often on the last day before we departed.

                          I've eaten left overs for breakfast but more often use some of the previous meal and transform it into a breakfast meal. Like left over veggies to make a frittata and some times just left over grains and vegetables.

                      2. Yes, and not just leftovers from the night before, although that's often an option. Light broth and noodles, chili and eggs, sandwiches, especially grilled, hearty grains as cereal, pasta, leftover desserts from dinner, a slice of cheese and a salad; this morning I had Cacio e Pepe for breakfast.

                        Oddly, I prefer dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.

                        1. Lahore, the city in Pakistan where I'm from, is famed for its breakfast habits. The traditional Old City way to start the day is with siri paye, a slow-cooked stew of goat head and trotters, with a special naan made with ghee, a garnish of goat brains, and a jug of salted lassi. In Lahore's Old City, very few families actually cooked breakfast: they would order out to one of the local specialists.

                          In my family, which doesn't live in the Old City any more, siri paye has migrated to lunchtime on special occasions, since it's guaranteed to knock you out for the day.

                          A less over the top, and now more common Sunday breakfast, is spiced chickpeas and potatoes and semolina halwa with freshly-made deep fried puri. Very tasty, and eaten off the same plate so you get hot and sweet and spicy all together. With lassi or an espresso-cup sized serving of very milky and sweet tea. I've yet to meet a non-Pakistani who can stomach it for breakfast and continue functioning.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tavegyl

                            That Sunday breakfast sounds so great to me. The savory/spicy is really what I'm after in the morning, to get the appetite and blood flowing for the day.

                            1. re: tavegyl

                              I never liked sweets for breakfast, but my father loved to give us sooji or vermicelli pudding on weekend mornings. My taste would skew more towards nihari, beef shank cooked overnight in a spicy gravy and garnished with fresh cilantro and slivers of ginger. There are few better things than marrow in the morning.

                            2. Often times I will eat what one would consider non-traditional breakfast food. Leftover meat with eggs, all sorts of sandwhiches, soups, salads, etc...

                              Sometimes it is just easier to make a sandwhich then dirty up the kitchen by making waffles.

                              1. sometimes
                                my wife is Japanese so breakfast can be very interesting
                                natto at 7am anyone?

                                She does make this killer white stew that is great with toast on cold mornings.

                                1. I start with a bit, like yogurt or cereal, exercise, then have something egg based (breakfast burrito, omelette, etc.). Couple of reasons for this:

                                  1. Just need the sugar/protein mix to complement the workout.
                                  2. They're very quick to make. Dinner for breakfast is great, but there's no time early in the day.

                                  1. I have to agree that I'm not fond of sweet food in the morning. I don't make dinner foods specifically, but if there are some good leftovers in the fridge, then I will eat those up.

                                    I wish there was an Ethiopian place nearby where I could get ful for breakfast. It sounds really yummy.

                                    1. Dinner foods for MY breaky.

                                      I eat a lot of leftovers for breakfast, but especially (meaning every single time I make it):
                                      Dip (especially hummus)

                                      I also eat strange breakfast burritos filled with BBQ pork and kimchi, black beans, corn and avocados...

                                      I also eat turkey sandwiches for breakfast.

                                      I loathe breakfast style pancakes and waffles. They make me feel ill and sleepy.

                                      1. Heh. This is an oft-discussed topic, with frequently contentious arguments. I myself eat savory breakfasts, frequently various permutations of noodles [e.g. wonton, pork, chicken+whatnot, ramen, etc etc], soups, with or without eggs and meats added; cooked meats (freshly cooked or leftover = last night's dinner, yes), veggies, fried rice sticks with meats/veggies; bak kut teh, yong tow foo [especially when made the day before, though I've made it for eating later the same morning], Hainan chicken; NY strip (freshly broiled) & veggies & rice, and so on. I RARELY eat bread and essentially never anything sweet like Danish and so on. I can't remember the last time I ate any cereal - maybe 20 years ago? I do eat the occasional "full English" or at least bacon+eggs w/ fried tomato halves, potatoes, sauteed zucchini or some such...but this is very rare. A lot of this comes from my upbringing in SE Asia, so the "standard American breakfast" is not part of my background.

                                        I don't think of the stuff I described above as "dinner food" per se - just stuff that I feel like eating whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or night. I don't really have foods that are engraved in stone as "breakfast food" or "dinner foods" etc, meaning I don't fixate on a certain food stuff as appropriate for only dinner, say, or only breakfast etc. Y'know, in a comment to a post on a food blog, I said that there was so much other stuff out there and expressed a wish that people would be more adventurous and eat stuff other than the standard/'traditional' "American B'fast" of bacon&eggs, pancakes, waffles, bread, stuff like that - and got attacked for it.

                                        The two main Wikipedia entries show you a lot of what other folks eat:

                                        If you search for 'breakfast' here on Chowhound you will get hundreds of threads.
                                        Here's a recent thread related to your query: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/742323

                                        1. Two of my favorite breakfast foods are cold fried chicken legs and cold pizza.

                                          1. I love to eat fried rice the morning after eating Chinese food out because my the morning you get really hard big clumps of it.

                                            Also I enjoy putting sprinkles on my breakfast cereal. I already know it is bad for me. We live once. I love sprinkles.

                                            1. There's nothing like awakening to a traditional Japanese breakfast at an inn.

                                              Aunt Jemimah syrup is nowhere to be found. Everything is savory.

                                              Check these pics and drool, via Google images "Japanese breakfast".


                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                I'd only be drooling if I'm not the one tasked to do the dishes ...

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  And that, Mister Dixit,
                                                  is why we ate at the inn.

                                                  It's a little bit simpler at Breakfast McDonalds
                                                  where at 7 AM, fish fillet sandwiches take 80% of the bin.

                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                    It's a little bit simpler at Breakfast McDonalds
                                                    where at 7 AM, fish fillet sandwiches take 80% of the bin.

                                                    I need to start vacationing in Japan ...

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Just be aware that McD's tartar sauce is subcontracted out through Kewpie.

                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                        Even more reason to go!

                                                        Is that half-slice of cheese subcontracted out through Snow Brand Milk Products?

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          Ahh,, Snow Brand...
                                                          Those masters of dairy, packed in small cardboard boxes
                                                          containing the worst of bland processed cheeses.
                                                          I'll never forget the teeth-clinging claw
                                                          of fake cheeses from YukiJirushi.

                                                          So I'd garner a guess that the answer is "Yes".

                                                          For years I was Jonesin' for Stilton.

                                                          But to steer it on back
                                                          and keep thread on track
                                                          McD's has no trouble
                                                          contracting for Pollock.

                                                2. re: FoodFuser

                                                  Aren't they pretty! The only drawback is the fish. I am not fond of it in the morning. Even lox must wait until brunch. Any other fish is out until lunch. I like the idea of soup in the morning. The picture of the breakfast with the ketchup bottle depresses me. The rest are things of beautiful complication.

                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                    What is it about fish that you dislike in the morning?

                                                  2. re: FoodFuser

                                                    Very true! But its depends on the quality of the inn. Natto breakfasts, (the first goggle image that comes up), which are more common at minshkus are not as pleasing as the ones your get at an onsen or ryokan. Unless you love natto that is.

                                                  3. In Vietnam, pho is a very traditional breakfast food. Growing up in my Vietnamese household, we often had rice and omelettes, and rice and eggs over easy with some spicy nuoc mam drizzled over top - sort of like a lazy version of com tam. For this reason I do not like continental breakfasts; I never feel satisfied.

                                                    1. I'm not much of a breakfast person but love making it for someone else on the weekend, providing it's not early in the morning.

                                                      I'm not much of a breakfast eater (though I realize it's the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah).

                                                      If it's a workday, I usually eat at my desk, an apple, handful of almonds. I try to swig down a handful of vitamins with whatever's still fresh in the fridge: milk, juice, gagging the entire time.

                                                      On weekends, I'd rather perfer good coffee and a couple crackers and cheese or a cookie.

                                                      1. "In Japan, breakfast is Miso soup"
                                                        They eat much, much more than just miso soup for breakfast in Japan. See FoodFuser's posts in this thread for example.

                                                        1. On workdays, I usually eat a peice of dry toast with a mug of hot lemon water and then have a banana or another fruit about an hour later and then another snack before lunch, maybe nuts, yoghurt, another fruit.
                                                          On non workdays I'll have a yoghurt if it's a gym day and then a shake after and if not a gym day, it can be anything from eggs(veggie omlettes lately), cheese, tomatoes.
                                                          Rarely do we have the full breakfast with bacon and we don't usually eat dinner foods for breakfast, although I will be rethinking that now after reading this thread.....lots of great ideas.

                                                          1. Yes, most of the time, in fact, if I even eat breakfast. I've been eating low carb for over a decade and there are just so many eggs and bacon or omelettes one can stare down on that many mornings. I thought in Japan, it was miso soup with a bit of fish?

                                                            1. Hi: I come from a savory breakfast culture. Typical South Indian breakfast foods include carbs + protein + spices: e.g. idlis or dosais + sambar/chutney. the batter for idlis/dosais are made of dal + rice, so you get the nutritional balance there. There are lots nf different kinds of dosais and idlis (e.g. rava dosai, adai, pesarattu, kanjivaram idli, etc,).
                                                              Upma is another great breakfast favourite (cream of wehat spiced South Indian style) - quinoa makes a terrific and very nutritious upma! .
                                                              Typically you drink hot, milky, sweetened coffee.
                                                              I don't know about any food theories about South Indian breakfast foods though.

                                                              Other Indian regional breakfasts include parathas with achaar (=pickles) and yogurt or raita, also savoury.

                                                              I have lived and traveled in the US (which is foreign land to me) and some other countries. I don't like sweet breakfasts, though I eat them sometimes. I loathe breakfast cereal, tolerate pancakes, like homemade waffles, like toast with something savoury (e.g. cheese or peanut butter). Or very spicy omelette or scrambled eggs.

                                                              1. After reading a lot of international food blogs, I began to realize the same thing. People don't always eat what I personally consider breakfast, for breakfast! So, now I eat what I feel like, similar to every other meal! Sometimes, I wake up and am not hungry at all. So, I will grab a piece of toast with butter and jelly. Other days, I am so hungry, I am up an hour before I have to be! So, I will have a sandwich (yes, I have been known to eat a ham sandwich for breakfast), or some leftovers, or I will make myself a big breakfast. It's all what I feel like eating. If I wanted taquitos for breakfast I would eat them. It doesn't matter what you eat, what's important is that you eat at all for me.

                                                                Oh, and I am the third generation of Americans in my family. Prior to that, we are from predominantly Western and Northern Europe. That hasn't really affected what I eat for breakfast though. Nutrition-wise, I am not going to eat french fries for breakfast, but, I really try to make it protein and carb heavy to make certain that I have plenty of nutrition for the day!

                                                                1. I can have this for breakfast, lunch and, for today, dinner:
                                                                  Southern fried chicken, fried eggs, hashed potatoes, biscuit and gravy.

                                                                  1. Reminds me of this NYT article I read years ago, and ha !, it's still online :-D


                                                                    So ya wanna eat an authentic Northern Chinese brekkie ? ..... head to Flushing :-


                                                                    "China has two traditional breakfasts, northern and southern, dictated by local agriculture. The breakfast of northern China, where soybeans and wheat grow, is eaten in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and, authenticity intact, in Flushing, Queens."

                                                                    These are good too (but generalized than representative):




                                                                    1. In high school I often ate a broiled hamburger patty, with ketchup, and a glass of orange juice. That's as exotic as I get! LOL :)

                                                                      1. I love leftovers for breakfast. Just had some Eggplant Lasagne. And when I package chicken to serving sizes I always cook an extra piece for breakfast. It does hold me longer without getting hungry.