When I started a new job, I carefully planned out my time, and timed how long it took to have breakfast.
It became part of my planned and structured morning routine.
I summarised my results so that you might get an idea for how long it will take you to eat breakfast – wherever in the world you are.
So, how long does it take to eat breakfast?
On average Americans and British eat breakfast in about 10 minutes.
However due to a diverse array of foods and cultures globally as general rule of thumb to cover this I would say you should plan for 30 minutes as the average is between 12-30 minutes.
But remember, it will take longer if you’re watching TV, interacting on social media, or using your smartphone at the same time as you’re eating. Your habits will impact your time.
So to be productive and to ensure you have time to eat unrushed and digest your food properly then plan 30 minutes and without distraction.
There is some debate about how long you should wait to eat breakfast after you wake up. And some food are better to eat for breakfast than others.
So, below I’ll summarize the research and give you the best recommendations based on what I found.
How Long Does It Take An Average Person To Eat Breakfast?
According to the Wall Street Journal, most people in the USA spend 12 minutes eating breakfast.
However, the Daily Mail concluded that people that live in Britain eat breakfast in only 8 minutes flat.
ABC News did a study into what food Americans eat for breakfast, and the results are summarised below:
|Food||Percentage of Americans who eat it for breakfast|
|Bacon and Eggs||11%|
|Ham and eggs||2%|
|Orange(s)||Less than 0.5%|
It’s clear that Americans mostly eat cold cereal, eggs, bacon and eggs, and hot cereal. Most of these foods take about the same amount of time to eat.
But, cold cereal is the fastest to prepare which is why I think it’s the most popular.
I, like most people love to sleep in, and leave it to the last minute to get ready for work, or whatever the day has in store.
So, it makes sense that a lot of people prefer to pour some cereal then some milk into a bowl and they’re on their way.
Cornflakes are a popular cold breakfast cereal and I ate a bunch as a kid.
Now that I’m older I researched whether they are healthy for breakfast, and summarised what I found in this [link: Are cornflakes healthy for breakfast?] article.
Definitely check it out if you want to learn more about cornflakes.
Or, like me you’ve had at least 100 bowls in the past couple of months!
How Long Should You Wait To Eat After Waking Up?
According to a leading nutritionist quoted in a Forbes article, you should eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking up.
If you head off first thing in the morning you can experiment with having something light like a banana or a protein shake for breakfast.
Some people find they run out energy during their workout if they don’t eat anything beforehand.
But, being fasted really challenges you mentally, and many people get a real buzz out of forcing themselves to do really hard exercise early in the morning.
If it’s going to take you longer than a few hours to get some food in because of how long your workout is, and how long it takes you to go to the gym then you should eat something beforehand.
Or, take a snack with you to eat immediately after you workout.
It sets your natural body rhythms up, otherwise you’re more prone to overeating later in the day.
Should You Eat Or Skip Breakfast?
It depends on you and your lifestyle. Many people fast often for health, and it has become somewhat of a mainstream idea.
But, on a normal day you should eat breakfast if you aren’t in the middle of a fast.
It increases your focus, and gives you the energy you need to work, or take care of important tasks such as running errands.
If you’re having a day off and don’t have much planned for the day, then skipping breakfast is fine because you don’t need to be full of energy and focused.
However, in my experience you will enjoy your day more if you take the time to eat breakfast.
I often get bored of the same breakfast food everyday.
So, I mix it up from time to time.
For example, I might change the toppings on my porridge or switch to avocado on toast. Then to bacon and eggs.
Having a particularly delicious breakfast planned out really motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. Because you can’t wait to eat it.
It is common wisdom to eat breakfast.
But recently a study looked into all of the data and found the evidence wasn’t that strong.
Therefore, in my opinion you should be guided by how you feel when you:
- Eat breakfast
- Skip breakfast
- Eat a lot
- Eat a light breakfast
Many people will keep a journal of how they feel during the day based on what they eat because emotions and memories are quite subjective.
Then you can course correct based on re-reading your food journal.
Is It Better To Eat Breakfast Or Fast?
There are numerous health benefits to fasting intermittently
(in this article I answer a common question o get asked; can we eat chia seeds in fast).
But, extending the fast that occurs when you’re asleep, every day of the week, doesn’t produce any health benefits based on the findings presented in this scientific paper.
But, skipping either dinner or breakfast every now and then was found to be beneficial to a person’s health.
Because it induced ketosis.
Therefore, neither eating breakfast or fasting is better.
You should eat a breakfast most of the time, and only rarely or intermittently fast in the morning or the evening.
What Are The Healthiest Foods To Eat For Breakfast?
Healthline.com has concluded that the following food are the healthiest to eat for breakfast:
- Greek Yoghurt
- Chia Seeds
- Green Tea
- Protein shake
- Cottage cheese
You can combine these to make interesting breakfast snacks.
For example, oatmeal with fruit, berries, and Greek yoghurt.
Then have a coffee after.
Or just fruit with Greek yoghurt.
I personally find Greek yoghurt really sour, and prefer to have only a tablespoon or two in smoothies, on muesli, or with sweet fruits.
I would try incorporating some of these foods into your breakfasts and see how they go.
I recently wrote an article about drinking coffee and eating bananas in the same meal because it’s a very popular option.
To read that article click Coffee and banana for breakfast.
How Long Should It Take You To Eat A Meal?
According to Clevelandclinic.org, you should try to stretch out the time it takes you to eat a whole meal to 30 minutes.
The response from your stomach to say that you’re full is a bit delayed.
So, when you eat quickly, you can eat more than you need to satisfy your hunger before you feel full.
Which means you’ll eat more, and you have more chance of putting on weight.
But, if you’re just eating a piece of fruit or a light snack that won’t make you feel full, you can tend to eat it quite quickly.
You just want to make sure you chew it thoroughly to make it easy on your stomach and intestines. It also breaks down the food so that you absorb more nutrients from your food.
It takes the average person between roughly 10 and 30 minutes to eat breakfast.
And most people in the US eat cold cereal for breakfast.
Skipping breakfast or dinner, every now and then is good for your health.
Eating breakfast within the first two hours of waking up is the best for your body and improves energy levels, and focus throughout the day.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.