STAFF OPINION: Why I’ll never skip breakfast

Even if it means waking up earlier…or showing up late to class

By Maria Wanzek | May 4, 2023 10:00am

Photo courtesy of Maria Wanzek.

Before I say anything, I want you to know that I am not a morning person. I am no early riser, but I’m also not one to sleep in. 

A lot of people will probably agree with me when I say that the early morning is not when I feel most productive. I’ve never understood how some people prefer waking up at 5 a.m. to start work early or head to the gym by 6 a.m. That’s definitely not me.

But don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like mornings. I love mornings. This time of day is great for a few reasons, but there is one that stands above all — breakfast, and of course, coffee. 

I am a big believer that you should never skip breakfast. Though, I am pretty sure that I don’t need to explain to you why breakfast is important for your physical health and metabolism or whatever — you’ve probably already been told all about that. Instead I’m going to tell you why I think it’s important for your mind.

I hate being rushed in the morning, which is why I usually try not to schedule anything too early. However, if I do have something scheduled earlier, I will change my sleep schedule a bit so that I still have enough time to sit down and eat.

Most days I try to set aside more time for my breakfast, although it’s not always doable. I try my best because I really love slow mornings (maybe not always slow, but at least not rushed). 

Breakfast is a priority. I can hear myself saying this right now — I think I say this a lot. My flatmates, who I studied abroad with in London last summer, would always joke with me about how I prioritized coffees and croissants over being on time to class. 

Sorry to my professors, but commuting in London was hectic and if I was in a rush, the one thing I would be sure of was that I was fueled for class before I entered the room. Nothing sounds worse to me than rushing to class to sit at a desk for an hour (or longer) with a headache and growling stomach. Pausing to eat and check in with yourself in the morning, even if it’s on the go, is the simplest way to set yourself up for a better day.  

Breakfast is part of my morning routine, which gives me comfort as I begin each new day with food and familiarity. To be honest, eating is usually the first thing on my mind in the morning. Sometimes I’ll even think about it as I’m going to bed. What can I say? Food is one of the best parts — and breakfast food in particular has a special place in my heart.

At home my breakfast ranges from oatmeal loaded with my favorite toppings to elaborately decorated waffles to the classic trinity of eggs, bacon and toast. If I go out for brunch, I’ll usually hit up the savory side of the menu opting for an omelet or eggs benedict and don’t even get me started on bakeries. I spend way too much on pastries, but every chocolate croissant has been worth it. 

Writing this now is making me hungry, so I’ll pause there — but just in case you need visuals to be persuaded on the importance of this meal, here are some photos of my favorite breakfasts from eating out (these dishes tend to be much more photogenic than my own).

But, my goal here isn’t to convince you that breakfast is the best meal of the day, I just think it deserves some more of our time and appreciation. It doesn’t matter so much what you choose to eat, as long as you're taking the time to slow down in the morning while you prepare your food and yourself for the day.

Mornings can sometimes feel overwhelming when you have the entire day ahead of you. But, by making time for breakfast, you are giving your mind a chance to let those thoughts float into the peripheral. Let yourself become absorbed in the process of preparing your breakfast and then sit down and enjoy your meal. Food has the power to completely captivate you. It definitely does for me.

After getting out of bed, I usually head to the kitchen to start boiling water for my coffee. Every morning it's the same — the feeling of holding the kettle handle as I wait for it to fill with water from the sink, hearing the metal lid click shut before I set it on the stovetop and then wait for the water to boil. 

While I am waiting, I shift into making breakfast. Cracking an egg on the cast iron and popping some bread into the toaster, I listen to the buzz and crackle of my morning kitchen. 

The water boiling gets louder and louder, then it whistles and it’s time to make coffee. Just the smell of the beans alone begins to wake me up, which gets even stronger after I grind them and add them into my French press. I pour in the hot water and watch the coffee grounds swirl as I stir it around, not thinking about much.  

Then I hear a ding and the bread, perfectly browned at the edges, pops up. I flip the eggs and butter the toast. Gathering my plate and utensils, it all starts coming together. 

It really doesn’t take me too long, because at this point the whole routine is ingrained in my muscle memory and the timing of each moving piece is so exact. Making breakfast sometimes feels like I am directing a mini orchestra in my kitchen. 

Having this routine where I can move through simple tasks with ease allows me to lose myself in the present — a necessary step in transitioning from the sleeping world to the awake world. It is my first opportunity for mindfulness every morning as I come back into awareness of myself. 

Each morning I realize over and over again that ‘I’m awake,’ ‘I’m alive.’ Then I check in with myself. Maybe I’m feeling tired or well rested or energized or anxious or calm, but one thing that rarely changes for me is noticing ‘I’m hungry’ when I wake up. 

I can’t speak for everyone, but I am guessing most people are hungry when they wake up or sometime relatively soon after – I mean, your body is basically coming out of an eight hour (or longer) fast everyday when you wake up. You need to replenish yourself before anything else in the morning, which is why I don’t expect anything of myself before getting some water, food and (personally) coffee. 

Set aside more time in the morning to make yourself something to eat and even if you’re in a rush, don’t skip breakfast. It’s probably more important than anything else you can do to get yourself ready in the morning. Prioritizing breakfast is prioritizing yourself. It’s a time to check in with your body, be present and respond to what you need before turning to your list of to-do’s.

Breakfast and coffee are my favorite moments of mindfulness every morning – a chance to tune in to how I feel as I engage my senses in the experience of preparing, and of course, eating my meal. 

Waking up every morning, the first sip of coffee or the first bite of food makes me feel brand new. This moment cycles back everyday, a little different every time, like a process of continual rebirth — and there’s nothing like slowing down to notice and appreciate it. 

Maria Wanzek is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at

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