How well do you know your Breakfast Cereal?

Tony the Tiger and Lucky the Leprachaun have conditioned us to think that a “complete” American breakfast revolves around a bowl of cereal, possibly with some toast, and a glass of orange juice.  Yet, this has not always been the case.  Throughout the 1800’s, the previous evening’s dinner was often served up as breakfast, and often served cold. Breakfasts became a bit more elaborate throughout the late 19th century. Due to the schedule of the average farmer, breakfast was the most convenient meal for a family to enjoy together. Farmers would rise early and head straight out to tend their fields & livestock, then reconvene at the table with their families to share a late morning breakfast. In addition to leftovers from the night before (fish or meat), eggs and bacon were added, sometimes accompanied by porridge or toast.  The midday/afternoon meal was the largest of the day, while evening meal was quite small, if it occurred at all.

The brakes were put on the bountiful breakfast by religious organizations that deemed flavorful meals of protein & fat too indulgent.  Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a scientist & prominent member of the Seventh Day Adventists accidentally invented what would become cornflakes while attempting to create the blandest meal possible (really). Kellogg’s theory was that eating a bland diet would decrease a person’s sex drive, so that they could more easily reduce temptation. Yay, cereal!

In the 20th century, led by the religious fervor sweeping the nation, boosted by the rationing of eggs and meat during the World Wars, as well as the march of people heading out to factories, offices, and schools for the bulk of the day, cereal stole the spotlight at the breakfast table.

Breakfast today is very much a reflection of out fast-paced culture. We still call it the most important meal of the day, but many of us take the least amount of time to prepare or enjoy it. We can do better.

Here are some meals you can prepare in advance, so that you can keep your morning routine streamlined while putting some dignity back in your breakfast:

Egg Cupcakes from

Bacon-Crusted Quiche from

Maple Sausage Patties from

Paleo Granola from

Mexican Omelette from

The McSoG Breakfast Sandwich from

Tasty Breakfast Egg Loaf from

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie from


Giddens, Elizabeth (2011) “How Has Breakfast Evolved?” New York Times [New York] 2 October 2011 New York Times Magazine

“History of Breakfast” The Breakfast Panel. Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers, 2010.  Web. <;

Kellogg, J.H. (1888). “Treatment for Self-Abuse and Its Effects”. Plain Facts for Old and Young. Ayer Publishing.


~ by 8weeks2thrive on January 16, 2012.

2 Responses to “How well do you know your Breakfast Cereal?”

  1. Wow. I didn’t know all of this. Interesting info. I also don’t spend much time making breakfast. I’m lucky if I can squeeze in a bowl of cereal. Also I miss breakfast while living in France. I wrote a post about it:
    France can do better!

  2. Great explanation. Chris and I always thought we were eating ‘well’ because we ate Kashi and thought that it was a great breakfast. Until one day we actually read the label more carefully to discover that all the “good” stuff in it was added (vitamins, etc). So if the good stuff has to be added to make cereal “healthy”, how good can cereal be by itself? Not very. We now eat eggs, smoothies (coconut milk+fruit), and/or previous night’s leftovers for breakfast 🙂

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