After making my daily cup of joe, most mornings I have yogurt, granola, and honey as a quick breakfast. Sure, there are days when I’ll fry up some eggs or reach for a thick slice of toast slathered in butter, but my usual yogurt and granola bowl never fails me. I know I’m not alone in reaching for the same foods every morning — and newly published research explains why, when it comes to breakfast, many of us tend to be creatures of habit.
A recent study published in Appetite explored why most people stick to the same breakfast, but don’t do the same for other meals. They examined the food diaries of 4,481 French and American study participants, collected data, reconstructed events, and conducted a variety of experiments.
Utilitarianism vs. Hedonism
One of their primary conclusions was that, just as people tend to sleep and wake according to their circadian rhythm, they have a pattern when it comes to what they eat. In the mornings, researchers theorized, people tend to seek less excitement. Scientifically speaking, we’re all about “utilitarian goals” as we’re waking up. As the day wears on, we’re more likely to seek out what are known as “hedonic goals” — in other words, the pursuit of pleasure. We’re more willing to spend time preparing meals, varying what we’ll eat, and getting creative about things like where we eat, and with whom. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense: Aren’t we far more likely to go to dinner with someone than ask them to breakfast?
Weekends are another matter (hello, brunch!). On weekdays, researchers say we’re all about those utilitarian goals, — but on weekends, hedonism reigns. Basically, during the week, when we’re in a rush, we tend to grab something quickly before going to work or running errands. Eating the same simple breakfast, like cereal or yogurt, is reliable and will keep us satisfied until lunch. But on weekends, we have more time to try something new and are more likely to spend some time cooking breakfast and linger over the meal.
Is it bad to eat the same thing for breakfast every day?
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the same breakfast day after day. (Good thing, because I love my yogurt and granola!) But switching things up from time to time is good for your health, the researchers said — especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Need some inspiration? These five make-ahead breakfast recipes are a great place to start if you’re looking to hit the refresh button on your morning meal without spending a ton of time in the kitchen!