From Bed to Breakfast: Exploring The Morning Eating Habits of People

Conventional wisdom has long suggested breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You probably heard your mother say it once or twice while she was trying to convince you to eat your eggs instead of watch cartoons in the morning. But when you’re trying to get as much sleep as possible, rushing out the front door, or thinking about the day ahead, breakfast can be the furthest thing from your mind.

Still, experts suggest having a structured morning routine can be good for your health on a number of levels, and breakfast is often an integral part of some of those nutritional perks. Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, feel more focused throughout the day, or generally be in a better mood, the right breakfast on a regular basis can help.

So how many people are still making time for hash browns in the morning, and how many are skipping it entirely? To find out, we polled 1,000 people about their breakfast habits and what their excuses were for skipping right to lunch instead. Curious whether eggs or oatmeal ranked as America’s favorite breakfast food? Read on to learn more.

First Meal of the Day

Overview of People's Breakfast Habits in America

Millennials have been accused of killing everything from the diamond industry to golf and home ownership – and breakfast might be next.

In reality, younger generations today simply have a different approach to traditional customs like dinner outings and shopping, and getting in their first meal of the day might not be any different. While most baby boomers ate breakfast nearly five days a week on average, Gen Xers (3.8 days) and millennials (3.5) weren’t nearly as committed to their morning meal.

People with the Best Sleep More Likely to Eat Breakfast

For some people, making time for breakfast may not entirely be a matter of preference. People who got the best sleep, regardless of age, were 33 percent more likely to eat breakfast on a daily basis compared to those with poor sleep quality.

For most people, breakfast is a meal best enjoyed at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it with you on the go. More than 17 percent of respondents said they took their morning fare with them to work or school, and nearly 1 in 10 ate during their morning commute instead.

No Time for Apples or Bananas

Why People Skip breakfast

Despite what you might have heard about how getting up before the sun might somehow be the secret to productivity or success, consider this: Studies show our bodies are simply hardwired to be either more active in the morning or in the evening. Trying to force yourself to adhere to a schedule that doesn’t fit your predisposition can be stressful and often unsuccessful.

For most people, the most common excuse for skipping breakfast was all about time. More than 60 percent said they were too busy in the mornings, over 40 percent of people admitted to oversleeping, and more than 1 in 3 said they had to prepare for the day ahead in lieu of nutrition.

While more than half also said they simply weren’t hungry, there’s a powerful correlation between how rested and energized a person feels in the morning and how likely they are to eat breakfast at the start of their day.

A “Balanced” Breakfast?

Breakfast Preference in America

Scientifically, there’s some truth behind the saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Of course, those studies also suggest what you eat is more important than when you eat it. Too much sugar can kill the productivity boost you’re supposed to get from breakfast, and too much starch might slow you down.

People who recognized how important breakfast was to feeling healthy were more likely to eat a full meal compared to people who didn’t have the same feelings toward the first meal of the day. People who saw less value in eating a balanced meal in the morning were more likely to grab something on the go (like a toaster pastry or cereal), a caffeinated beverage, or fast food. Those meals may not have the same nutritional benefits as people stopping to have a hot, complete meal, or even a breakfast smoothie with the right ingredients.

Eating Fast Food for Breakfast

Too Busy to Eat

Industries Most Likely to Skip or Eat Breakfast Daily

How much sleep a person gets regularly might inspire their breakfast habits, and the same could be true for the jobs they have.

Popular TV shows help make working in the legal field look glamorous and exciting, but being a lawyer in the U.S. ranks as one of the most stressful jobs anywhere in the country. From the long hours at the office to stressful caseloads, nearly 24 percent of people working in the legal industry admitted to skipping breakfast on a regular basis – more than any other industry. Like legal, people working in hospitality, technology, and IT services also confessed to skipping their first main meal more often than people working in other industries.

On the other side of the breakfast nook, people in marketing and advertising, education, and arts and entertainment were more committed to getting in their morning meal than anyone else. And that doesn’t necessarily have to mean getting up earlier in the morning, either. More than 1 in 3 employees ate during their morning commute at least once a week.

Starting the Day Off Right

Whether you’re a bagel and cream cheese kind of person or agree no breakfast meal is complete without eggs, there are plenty of reasons why making time for breakfast is an important part of a successful morning routine. Like getting enough sleep at night, eating a balanced meal at the start of the day can help you feel energized and stay healthy.

And just like the quality of the food you eat, the quality of the sleep you get can have a profound effect on the rest of your day. At Best Mattress Brand, our goal is to help you find quality sleep.

Our comprehensive guides and reviews on the best mattresses aim to help you identify the bed that fits your body – and budget – perfectly.


For this campaign, we surveyed 1,008 people through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Our respondents ranged in age from 18 to 75 with an average age of 35. All of the data presented in this report rely solely on self-reporting. Studies based on self-reporting are paired with issues such as selective memory, attribution, telescoping, and exaggeration.

Industries that did meet a sufficient sample size were excluded from our findings. The data have not been weighed nor have the hypotheses been statistically tested. Therefore, the results of this study serve as entertainment purposes only.

Fair Use Statement

Know a breakfast food aficionado who’d like to see our story? Feel free to share our study with your readers for any noncommercial use. Just ensure a link back to this page so that our contributors get credit for their contribution (and cooking skills) too.

Medical Disclaimer: The information contained on the site should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.

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