Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night's sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work. Among English speakers, "breakfast" can be used to refer to this meal or to refer to a meal composed of traditional breakfast foods (such as eggs, oatmeal and sausage) served at any time of day. The word literally refers to breaking the fasting period of the prior night.
Breakfast foods vary widely from place to place, but often include a carbohydrate such as grains or cereals, fruit and/or vegetables, a protein food such as eggs, meat or fish, and a beverage such as tea, coffee or fruit juice. Coffee, tea, juice, breakfast cereals, pancakes, sausages, French toast, bacon, sweet breads, fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, muffins, crumpets and toast with butter or margarine and/or jam or marmalade are common examples of breakfast foods, though a large range of preparations and ingredients are associated with breakfast globally.
Nutritional experts have referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day, citing studies that find that people who skip breakfast are disproportionately likely to have problems with concentration, metabolism, and weight. The nutritionist Monica Reinagel has argued the metabolic benefits have been exaggerated, noting the improvement in cognition has been found among children, but is much less significant among adults. Reinagel also explains that the link between skipping breakfast and increased weight is likely behavioral—compensating with snacks and/or eating more later—and therefore not inevitable.