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What to eat for breakfast: Hot vs Cold meals

You’ve wiped the night’s sleep from your eyes, performed your morning grooming ritual and are ready to begin your day. First up: What’s for breakfast? Should you have a hot breakfast? Or a cold one?

Although the verdict is still out as to whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there is plenty of evidence that it is important.

However, that is not the only “controversy” around breakfast. The other is this: Is a hot breakfast is better for you than a cold breakfast or is it the other way around?

February is National Hot Breakfast Month, which was established to — obviously — encourage people to eat a nice hot breakfast rather than a quick cold one. However, you probably don’t have a lot of time to eat a warm meal first thing every day (unless you include coffee or a stop at your fast food restaurant on the way to work, neither of which are all that nutritious.)

Therefore, I did a little research to discover what the benefits were of a hot breakfast vs a cold breakfast. Here is what I found.

What to eat for breakfast: Hot vs Cold meals


  • Why Is Breakfast Important?
  • What To Eat for Breakfast
    • Healthy Cold Breakfast Ideass
    • Healthy Hot Breakfast Ideas
  • When Temperature Does Count
  • Conclusion

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Why Is Breakfast Important?

Eating breakfast provides a variety of benefits to get your day started right:

  • Jump starts your metabolism
  • Provides energy for the day
  • Improves memory and concentration
  • Lowers levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • Lowers your chances of getting diabetes and heart disease
  • Lowers your chances of being overweight

Some of these benefits are directly due to eating breakfast in the morning. Others may only be connected, either because eating breakfast causes healthy behaviors or healthy people tend to eat breakfast.

Research, the results which were published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, compared children who ate cereal for breakfast, to those who skipped and those who ate something else. They found that breakfast skippers were more likely to be obese, most likely because they tended to get more of their energy from “added sugars”, ending up with fewer nutrients, and less fiber and protein.

Now that we know that breakfast is important, it is time to address what to have for breakfast.

What To Eat for Breakfast

Depending on who you talking to and what their particular agenda, nutritional view or dietary soapbox is, you’ll hear just as many experts tell you that cold breakfasts are best as those who will tell you hot breakfasts are best. However, with a little more digging, I found that the temperature of your breakfast is less important than the content.

Healthy breakfast eaters are just as likely to have eggs for breakfast as cereal or a protein smoothie. What is important for breakfast is the protein, carbohydrate and fat ratio. You also want to keep the sugar content low.

Healthy Cold Breakfast Ideas

If you want a quick meal, like before work or school, a cold or room-temperature breakfast is often your best bet. Here are some ideas:

Healthy Hot Breakfast Ideas

You can still have a warm meal if pressed for time — I like to prepare overnight oatmeal and warm it in the microwave just before eating — but most healthy hot breakfasts take more time than most of us have time for. That said, when you can find the time for a warm, prepared breakfast, here are some healthy options:

  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast burrito

When Temperature Does Count

For some, a warm breakfast is best. Cold food can be more difficult to digest because your body needs to warm it up to body temperature before the digestion process can function properly. Therefore, those with digestive issues may find eating a hot breakfast easier on their digestive system.

That said, if your digestive system can take it and you are looking to drop a few pounds, cold food might help. Your body burns a few extra calories warming up that food, so there are fewer calories to turn into fat!


Is a hot breakfast preferable to a cold one? Not definitively. What is more important is that you have breakfast and that it provides you with the nutrients and energy you need to get your day started.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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