This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

The European Breakfast Explained


Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and for all the right reasons. Continental breakfast is quite widespread in the US, being served mostly by restaurants and hotels. Studies show that Europeans are more aware of the importance of breakfast than Americans, with over 88% of British and over 95% of French eating breakfast every day. On the US soil, the percentage drops considerably, and just about 60-80% of Americans do not forget to skip breakfast. If you are interested what European breakfast is, and what Europeans eat for breakfast, in various countries, you will find all the basics as follows.


Why is eating breakfast so important?


It is well known that children should not skip breakfast if they want to grow healthy and have enough energy to keep them through the day. But lately, health care professionals recommend adults to do the same and avoid skipping breakfast as a rule. Breakfast is a very nutritious meal, rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. In Europe, the inhabitants of small countries consume a combination of breads, dairy products, protein rich foods and fruit juices. With such a well rounded meal, the body can kickstart the day and ensure its necessary energy for getting involved in all kinds of activities.

Europeans really consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day and in 2008, a campaign called “Breakfast Is Best” was launched by several important European organizations involving teachers, medical professionals, dietitians and other health oriented institutions.


Eating breakfast to stay slim


The fact that the obesity index in Europe is lower than in the US may have something to do with the habit of eating breakfast in the morning. It is a proven fact that eating breakfast helps you stay slim, since you will not feel as tempted to nibble through all kinds of snacks and junk food through the day if you are already full and satisfied.


Breakfast can be light or heavy


In most European countries, breakfast is usually light, and it mostly consists of some kind of bagel or toast, served along with a cup of coffee or some fruit juice. But this is mostly the rule for southern countries, and as you advance north, you will find heavier foods being served for breakfast, culminating with the famous (and infamous) English breakfast, not so playfully nicknamed the “Cardiac Arrest Plate”. Famous chefs, however, claim that even an English breakfast, if prepared and served right, is much healthier than having no breakfast at all.

If you are interested in starting to eat European style, you should get a few kitchen utensils to make your life easier. A toaster is always a welcome addition and Americans love their toast, too. By toasting a slice of bread, you can greatly reduce the calorie intake during breakfast, and still enjoy the nutritious value of cereal based foods and their content of fiber.

Another piece of equipment you should get is a crepe maker. While there are countries in Europe where pancakes are considered dessert, it is not unusual for others to serve crepes for breakfast. The filling is up to you, so whether you prefer your crepes savory or sweet, you will have plenty of choices for a lighthearted breakfast that will put a smile on your face.

Do not forget about the mundane sandwich maker, either. Europeans eat plenty of varieties of sandwiches for breakfast, so you can make full use of a sandwich maker. Offering you many opportunities to try various combinations of meats, cheese and veggies, a tasty sandwich will help you start the day right.

The main advantage of all these kitchen utensils is that they help you put together a fast and easy breakfast that also tastes good. Plus, if you want to change your breakfast habits to the European way, it will be easy for you to achieve this purpose.



Click here to see the best breakfast station on



Breakfast throughout Europe


To have a better idea about what Europeans consume for breakfast, here are some popular choices loved across the pond.


England – Here, you can indulge in the same croissant/ bagel with tea or coffee combination. But, if you dare eating a cooked breakfast, this usually consists of an important source of animal protein, such as sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, a source of fiber like baked beans and a source of vitamins like fried tomatoes.


France – Croissants, as you may well know, are a traditional pick for breakfast in France. A good hearty cup of café au lait (coffee with milk) completes the usual French breakfast. If you go for a cooked version of breakfast, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and cucumbers on the side are very popular, as well.


Spain – For those with a sweet tooth, the Spaniards’ idea of a good breakfast will light up their day. Chocolate with churros represents a typical choice. Basically, a small pot or cup with thick hot chocolate is brought in front of you, along with fried pastry sticks to soak in it.


Germany – Various types of breads are very popular in Germany, especially for breakfast. Butter and honey are added generously to a toasted slice of bread for a breakfast that will fill you with energy. Germans do not shy away from heavier foods, just like the Brits; ham and sausages can be found on the table at breakfast in Germany, as a common choice.


The same habits as Germans and British are shared by other northern countries, like Sweden and Norway, while Italy and Switzerland mainly share the same breakfast options with French.


Eastern European countries, on the other hand, present a more colorful mix. Russians, for instance, eat a traditional type of pancake, called blini, combined with porridge, red caviar, eggs, or cheese. The morning coffee is a staple for them, too. From open end sandwiches, which are the Polish people’s favorite type of breakfast, to the heavier breakfasts preferred by Croatians and other people living in countries that used to make former Yugoslavia, to the light versions embraced by Czechs who love their croissants just like real French, you have plenty of options to choose from.