Monday, 16 May 2011

Breakfast around the globe

I read about these cereals loaded with sugar and bad breakfast habits. It made me think about breakfast habits across the globe. Breakfast is interesting because it is so different across cultures. Where I come from, lunch and dinner are often inspired by other cuisines, but most people could never think of eating a Thai, Indian, Lebanese, or even Italian inspired breakfast.

I think one of the best things of going on a trip is the hotel breakfast - I love breakfast! But I'm not very experimental. My favorites used to be oatmeal, cheese sandwich, yoghurt and muesli or other cereals. Very typical where I come from. No sweet flavors at all, not even sweetened muesli.

But it doesn't look like that in other countries. I like to travel and since I moved around quite a bit I have friends from most parts of the world. I'd like to think this gives you an indicator of how profound this analysis is ;)

Let's start with the French "breakfast" - croissant with jam, at the most. And coffee, off course. Simple and light.

In Germany, breakfast is the complete opposite. It's a lot! It often equals muesli or a basket of bread and sweet spreads are common but also sausages. The muesli is sweetened with sugar, honey, or even chocolate and having jam on the bread is quite typical. Not to mention Nutella. Rich in calories, very sweet and it will keep you full for a whole day.

The Dutch breakfast is sweeter, but smaller. I know a few Dutch people who now get to represent the whole country, but according to them, everyone tops their bread with Nutella or chocolate flakes.

I'm not too familiar with southern European breakfast habits. I once lived with a Spanish family while attending a language course. I remember having chocolate milk for breakfast and my lunch bag was packed with sweets. Don't know if it's typical. In Italy, it's quite common to have cake or other sweet pastries for breakfast.

Here in the UK, a typical breakfast seems to be toast and jam. Oatmeal can be bought in portion-sized packages labeled "instant", which is ridiculous since that is essentially the exact same product as the big packages for baking. And all of is instant.

Well, Quaker made the Americans like their "instant" oatmeal as well. But not as much as they like donuts and muffins for breakfast. I used to live in New York, so this list would be incomplete without the BAGEL. And McDonald's, sadly enough.

Heading East, the Russians (women) I know don't eat breakfast at all. They are very petite and health conscious. A cup of tea and a piece of fruit is what they're having. Further East, Indians either don't eat breakfast or they eat any type of warm food. Dinner, lunch, breakfast - it's usually no difference the same for them. Lots of people only eat 2 meals per day, especially in Asia. Or simply any type of food for breakfast, like rice, meat, or vegetables. My Japanese friends eat rice or sushi in the morning, seems to be quite normal. 

From a low carb perspective, all these breakfasts are notoriously bad. In fact, the traditional UK breakfast minus toast and beans might be the one breakfast best suited for low carb diets. Bacon and egg is and will always be the no. 1 breakfast for all low carbers out there.

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