Breakfast: the most important meal(s) of the day?

Our love of morning snacks has food manufacturers drooling at the potential profits. Will eating more than one breakfast hurt our health as well as our wallets?

Photo by larryvincent via Flickr

My husband says I eat like a Hobbit.

If you’ve read the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, or have seen the The Lord of the Rings series based on his work, you know that Hobbits love to eat — above and beyond the typical three square meals a day. They savour breakfast. Then a second breakfast. Then a third breakfast called “elevenses.” And that’s all before lunch.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that I eat like a Hobbit, but I am a grazer, and I do love my second breakfast. Apparently, I am far from alone in this. According to a report in The Globe and Mail, second-breakfasting is on the rise: “The NPD Group, a U.S. market research company, projects that between 2008 and 2018, there will be a 23-percent increase in the number of times people snack in the morning,” notes the Globe story.

That’s already inspiring good manufacturers to create more morning snack products — in case grazers like me are growing tired of packaged granola and cereal bars.

As the article points out, these foods can be high in sugar and fat, ultimately bulking out your waistline as they satisfy your desire to nosh between the time you left home, and lunch. Moreover, purchased snacks generally cost more than the bowl of cereal or scrambled egg you might eat at home.

When I realized the financial enormity of my daily coffee-shop muffin ($2 x 5 days a week adds up pretty quickly), I looked to cheaper options that — bonus! — are also healthier. I buy boxes of instant oatmeal and stash the whole thing in my desk, so I never have the excuse of being too busy to pack a snack, or forgetting: A yummy, easy snack is always around, and i just add hot water from our office kitchenette. I’m aware of the high sugar content of flavoured instant oatmeal, so I stick to unflavoured varieties, and when my favourite (but pricier) Nature’s Path Flax Plus oatmeal goes on sale, I stock up. My colleague Elana goes one step further in terms of healthiness and frugalness, prepping regular quick rolled oats in the microwave.

Are you a mid-morning snacker? And, if so, are you at all concerned about the consequences for your finances and your health?

Photo by larryvincent via Flickr

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