The least dignified meal of the day
July 19th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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Linda Petty is an editor at CNN Living. She liked boxed mixes, tarted-up vegetables and letting produce rot in her crisper.

I don’t always eat breakfast at home. But when I do, it is usually healthy. It may be some oatmeal with fresh fruit, black walnuts and cinnamon or perhaps brown rice with lemon juice, soy sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

But if I’m running late, my breakfast is often a ham and cheese biscuit picked up on the way to work from a fast food restaurant with a huge container of unsweetened ice tea.

That crumbling meal is eaten over my computer as I wait for programs to load and ask the nearest coworkers how their evening or weekend went.

About once a week, my employer pays for breakfast and a restaurant brings in boxes of bagels with a variety of cream cheese flavors, muffins and other pastries, some meat and cheeses with biscuits and huge platters of fresh fruit. As we circle the feast laid out on the break room island like a pack of wild animals circling prey, we often run into coworkers we don’t often see and talk about what projects we’re working on. It’s sort of a working breakfast.

And occasionally, if I’ve had pizza the night before, I bring in a slice and eat it, unheated, at my desk. It's usually spinach and mushroom – so I tell myself there are some healthy aspects to the greasy, cheesy breakfast.

But no matter what we’ve eaten, half way through the morning, a silent signal goes out through our newsroom and a herd of journalists start moving towards the high-priced latte stand in the CNN Center's food court to get another jolt of life-giving caffeine to sustain us until lunchtime.

Previously - This just in: 24-hour journalists will eat absolutely anything

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Filed under: Breakfast • Culture • Dishes • Office

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Yogurt with honey and berries, cereal, a slice of bread with nutella or toast with peanut butter, fresh fruit, pancakes (that I made on the weekend and froze for later)... all delicious options. To drink: lots of water and sometimes coffee.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  2. Steve

    Unless you count my coffee at home (and again in the car, and again at my desk), I don't eat breakfast, usually.

    July 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  3. The Witty One

    What is a place that I will be tomorrow night?

    I'll take American Presidents for $200 Alex.

    July 20, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  4. Marie

    During the week, I have coffee with a toasted high fiber English muffin with spray butter and strawberry jam, eaten at my desk. About 150 calories; keeps me going until lunch. On the weekends, I splurge and have a big bowl of cereal or an "egg mug", which is egg substitute combined with whatever variety of omelet ingredients dumped in a large mug and cooked in the microwave. Healthy, filling, and yummy! Never, ever skip breakfast!

    July 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Thomas

      I never heard of an "egg mug" before but it sounds like a great idea.

      July 20, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  5. Noxious Sunshine

    Breakfast is a staple for my fiancee & me. Usually it's huevos con chorizo or eggs scrambled with black beans w/ corn tortillas (i stick to a small serving cuz chorizo has tons of fat & sodium) or eggs over well with hashbrowns (Simply Potatoes Southwest style) & turkey bacon..

    July 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  6. VZX

    I eat an apple and drink a diet coke every morning in my car on the way to work. Once in a while, I will eat a protein bar, but that is a rarity.

    July 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  7. Stephanie

    I only eat a bowl of cereal every morning, and I am a healthy 125 pounds. Breakfast is the most

    July 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      I guess you had something more important to do than finish that thought. ; )

      July 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • Leprechaun

        Breakfast: it does a body good!

        July 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  8. A

    I try to eat breakfast every day if I have time! It's usually at work. I love greek yougurt and usually have one every day. So sometimes it's breakfast. Weekend mornings I enjoy a spinach and cheese omlette. LOVE eggs! And always coffee. :)

    July 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  9. Mare

    I don't eat breakfast – haven't in years. I can't stand that full feeling in my stomach 1st thing in the morning. Coffee only please.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  10. LP

    I work four tens and my day starts at 6:30, so I eat breakfast at my desk. Been trying to stay away from breads/sweets and am currently on a bean soup kick. Bean soup: equal parts black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, refried beans (no, really!) and chicken broth, all reduced-sodium. Sprinkle a little cheese on top.
    Big mug of decaf Good Earth tea on the side.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • shar

      I love beans for breakfast! I was on a chickpea breakfast stew kick for awhile. The recipe is really quite versatile and any number of additions or substitutions can be made. It came from the NYT's a few years back.

      July 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  11. Erin

    Breakfast & "mid-morning snack" are sometimes the same meal... I always eat at my desk staring at my computer. Usually some peanut butter toast, yougurt or a piece of fruit or if no time for toast – I do a granola bar. I also have just bought the Jimmy Dean's low-fat breakfast sandwhiches.. made with a whole wheat bun, egg whites, low-fat cheese & a turkey sausage patty. Total calories is 280 – but it defintely keeps me full through until Lunch Time. I just need to start remembering to grab one out of the freezer before I head to work...

    July 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  12. Mr.Freeze

    I eat ice cream,lottsa lottsa ice cream. oh, and cherry pie for fiber.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  13. Breakfast

    I had a big bowl of homemade yogurt with sliced bananas, red grapes and some almonds. I feel Greaaaat.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Breakfast

      BTW-it took a total of 2 minutes to make it.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  14. killallthewhiteman

    I switched to a low carb diet almost two weeks ago. I am down almost ten pounds! That's steak and eggs every day for breakfast.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Matt

      So, what's the story with you username?

      July 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Thomas

      What's your HDL and LDL?

      July 20, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  15. T

    Blonde Dove, I too have lost weight by eating breakfast every weekday. I have the equivalent of one egg of
    Eggbeaters with a slice of turkey bacon three days a week and cereal and 1/2% milk the other two days.
    Have lost my goal of thirty pounds and kept it off for over two yaers now. Works much better than the
    Snickers bar I used to have every morning about ten.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  16. Sara

    I make a couple of pieces of turkey bacon each morning and bring them to work. I also try to bring a piece of fruit, and I have several boxes of cereal to choose from at work if I'm still hungry. I used to eat the instant oatmeal packs til they got to be too sweet for me.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  17. katiedid

    Jimmy Dean Dlight breakfast sandwiches are my fav!

    July 19, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  18. MarkyGA

    When ya start gettin' up there (age > 50), ya better damn well start eating more fiber. Unless you wanna start passing blood. I generally start the day at my desk with two slices of Costco Mutii-fiber bread (5 grams of fiber for EACH slice) shmeared with PB&J.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  19. Blonde Dove

    I usually eat breakfast at home. A whole grain tortilla, spread with fat free refried canned beans, and scrambled eggs. I make up a whole bunch then wrap then in plastic wrap and keep them in a freezer in a large zip lock bag. That way when I am in a hurry, its a good breakfast on the run. I also make up a huge omelet mixture in a bowl with roasted potatoes and peppers, ham, cheese, onions then pour into large muffin tins and bake. Those freeze excellent too! When at home you can pair them with fresh fruit or oatmeal for a complete breakfast or just grab from the freezer alone and still be low fat and healthy! I have lost 120# this past year by doing things like this.... You should take the time to take better care of yourself, you are worth it :)

    July 19, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • andiecakes

      sounds yummy.... How do u heat the wraps or the omlet muffins when u take them out of the freezer?

      July 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • shar

      I like the omelet in the muffin tin idea! You should be really proud of yourself for making changes and losing so much weight! So many people just make excuses. It takes a lot to make serious changes in your life and to stick with them. Good for you!

      July 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
      • Noxious Sunshine

        Corn tortillas are better than flour ones. Especially El Milagro brand. They're only 50 cals for 1, 0.5 g fat, 12g carbs, & 1g each of dietary fiber & protein.

        July 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
      • Noxious Sunshine

        Also, use whole black beans. Much healthier than the refried variety.

        July 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  20. reimann

    I eat the Heartland Scramble from Dennys everyday followed by a bottle of diet coke to cut the calories. If I still feel empty, I just do a pit stop at IHOP. I then drive and sit on a chair for the rest of the day. I weigh 152 pounds btw. The only other meals I eat during the day are lunch, 2 evening snacks and a light dinner which is usually a burger or pizza.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  21. Nichole

    I make my old fashioned oatmeal with PB and eat it at my desk. I look forward to it every morning. Yum!

    July 19, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  22. erich2112x

    Mickey D's, best breakfast in the world.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Matt

      ...and it is healty and good for ya' too...

      July 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  23. Adrian

    In the Bathroom

    July 19, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  24. Jimbo

    I'm lucky if I have an appetite after waking up and thinking about what the next 10 hours of the day is going entail.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  25. keith

    I usually eat steak and eggs while sitting on the john...kill two birds with one stone.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  26. Mar

    In our studio we have a full kitchen with stove and refrigerator. This is not an office, it's a graphic design studio, so we prepare meals and eat them together and the kitchen table. I usually bring in granola and yogurt once a week and that last me all week for my breakfast. Weekends, breakfast at home is usually eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, etc.. not all at once of course :)

    July 19, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  27. Jarrod

    I hate when people say they don't have time for breakfast. Get up earlier! This should be your biggest meal of the day! Eat a good breakfast and you will have enough energy to make it to lunch with a small snack in the middle, perhaps a protein bar. Give up the coffee and eat well. Your heart and body will thank you.

    I usually eat oatmeal or eggs. A protein bar for a snack around 10:30. Subway or a leftovers for lunch. Another protein bar in mid-afternoon and a protein rich dinner, usually fish. Make time!!

    July 19, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Jimbo

      You must have a nice schedule.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  28. I want da gold!

    I always cook and eat at home. It's cheaper and tastes better.

    Lightly scrambled eggs (or over easy), English muffin (or a flour tortilla), cheese, sausage (Homemade McMuffin anyone?)
    Grits, cheese, sausage (or Hormel bacon bits), eggs (All -in-one for simplicity)

    July 19, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • I got dat gold!

      I'm with you on dat!

      July 19, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  29. Cameblue

    Oh my "journalists" must be bored today! YAWN!

    July 19, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  30. mabel floyd

    i have always eaten breakfast at home. coffee with fake sugar and fake flavored cream, or tea, and two pieces of whole grain toast.
    it is a time to watch the news on tv and plan my day.
    when my children were small and at home, my breakfast was the same, but in a more hectic atmosphere .

    July 19, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  31. SmartPotato

    Meat and vegetables at home or at the desk, and only 2 small cups of coffee between 7:00 -9:30 a.m. Most people think this is weird, but our bodies weren't built to digest bread very well (it adapts, but bread on a regular basis = more work for the intestines). If I could, I'd have cold shrimp and broccoli every morning!

    July 19, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Jerv

      Not weird at all. When I tell folks, "no thanks, I don't drink coffee," they look at me like I have a third eye.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • HariKrishna@Jerv

      You do.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:58 am |
      • Jerv

        Actually fout.

        July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • Jerv

        Haha! four

        July 19, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • shar

      You eat like me! I had leftover shrimp, stir-fried with spinach from the garden and leftover couscous for breakfast this morning. Yum. I was on a chickpea breakfast stew kick for awhile but that is really better in the colder months. I find that veggies, grains and beans really stick with me and I'm not hungry again until early afternoon. I pack my lunch so I have complete control over that meal and I am less tempted to order out with the rest of the office.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  32. Katie

    I eat either 2 eggs with whole wheat toast or oatmeal with blueberries and whole wheat toast. I pair that with a small glass of OJ (sometimes) and always a small cup of coffee and I'm good to go. I'm only 20, but I think breakfast in absolutely essential before my work days (yes, I do have a full time job despite being a student). If I don't eat breakfast, I get really cranky and am entirely unproductive... but I guess I am on CNN while at work right now. Hmmm.....

    July 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  33. mikey

    cold pizza w/ hot sauce and a glass of milk for breakfast is fantastic

    July 19, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • I want da gold!


      July 19, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Ms. Grammar

      When I was younger (in the partying days), I LOVED cold pizza and hot chocolate for breakfast. It had to be a white veggie pizza. Kinda miss it, but need the fiber now. Aging sucks, but it beats the alternative!

      July 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  34. Todd

    I tend to eat in the car, I know I shouldn't. Why getting up early enough, to take a show get dressed, and get awake enough while giving yourself ample night time sleep (Not going to bed at sunset), is a tight schedule if you need to be at work on time. I have a decent drive that is rather dull and low traffic so it is easy and time efficient to eat while driving. So when I get to work I am full and have energy to make it to a late lunch.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  35. Jeff

    Nothing like the smell of someone's egg sandwich at work in the morning.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Jimmy Durante

      I like to smell egg farts.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:44 am |
      • Flatulant Flagulous

        Your own or others?

        July 19, 2011 at 10:54 am |
      • Fart Smart

        Lets play fart football!

        July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • I want da gold!

        I LOVE the smell of my farts after I eat hard boiled eggs! They, smell, AMAZING!

        July 19, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  36. T3chsupport

    I can't eat in the morning. My body just will not have it until after a certain hour. Everything tastes like cardboard until about 10am, by which time it's almost lunch for me anyway.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • AleeD@T2chsupport

      Capeche. I was in that boat, too. There are still mornings I have to MAKE myself eat but it's worth it for me.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • AleeD@T3chsupport

      Sorry, hit the wrong # key. ;-}

      July 19, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  37. Pittsburgh

    Not eating anything for breakfast on workday mornings I think is a big mistake. As I've gotten older I've begun to need something to eat. Sadly, most of what I like is a carb (pancakes, bagel, toast, biscuit, doughnut...). Most mornings it's just water, cereal or yogurt. Consequently, I eat a big lunch and a small dinner-with something sweet before I get in bed. My biggest problem is not wantintg to get up early enough to make a healthy meal, let alone to sit and eat it. But at 48, I'm paying for it.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • David

      Look up Dr. Joel Furhman, this guy is the real deal and tells the truth.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  38. Poppy

    I pretty much eat every meal in my car...It shows too

    July 19, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  39. Patrickk

    American tastes are so unsophisticated that I think pretty much any meal qualifies here.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Chris

      Don't generalize.....chefs and friends of chefs(Me) will take offense.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Offense Schmoffense @Chris

      What are the consequences? Ya gonna bleed out? Suck it up.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Justin Beiber

      I'm going to slap you with my purse!

      July 19, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • Bailes

        Eating breakfast at home would either A. force me to get up earlier to go to the gym- which translates into less sleep, or B. spend less time at the gym which isnt an option either. Fruit, yogurt or oatmeal with water. Gave up all soda and coffee.

        July 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Jarrod

      “Sophisticated” tastes. You make us all laugh.

      Should we have tastes like the toothless Britons? Or shall our tastes be hit with the blandness that is French “cuisine”. Perhaps something as nasty and overwhelming as curry. Maybe we should eat engendered sea-food like sharks and whales like the Chinese/Japanese. No, I’ve got it, let’s eat PEOPLE like some from Borneo!

      The fact is that we have tastes and dishes brought here from all over the world and, over time, they have blended. Give me a filet mignon, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a cold Sam Adams and I’m a happy man.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • Carles

        filet mignon, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a cold Sam Adams – for breakfast? mmmmmm . . . beer!

        July 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      It's funny how this dude repeatedly posts his childish, anti-American comments and calls us unsophisticated. What a hypocrite. Absolutely pathetic...

      July 19, 2011 at 11:03 am |
      • Conan the Barbarian

        It IS funny! I laugh!

        July 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  40. jon

    I only eat breakfast at my desk (usually pop-tarts) when I wake up with a stomach ache and have to run to catch the early morning train into the Manhattan every day.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Jarrod

      And that’s why I would never live in New York City. Fun to visit but over-rated (and over-priced) when it comes to living.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  41. Thomas

    In a past job, there were days when I ate all three meals in my car, in between meetings.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  42. Todd

    Coffee, oatmeal, strawberries at Cosi. It may sound boring, but it is a healthy, filling, quick breakfast.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Andrew

      I usually have a similar breakfast; cereal or oatmeal with fruit and some coffee. Such a simple thing though, I don't understand why people get it at a restaurant for 5 times the price when it takes the same amount of time to make it at home, often less time if you count going out of your way to get to the restaurant, parking, etc. Why not just enjoy at home?

      July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Jinjiang,USA

      Agreed,best BF ever, those guys with BP take decaf..! stick to oatmeal and see improvement in your lipid profile and ofcourse it may revent colon cancer in the long run. I only wihs theer is a marathon drive ti make our children eat healthy BF like this. Nothing against cereal though. Eat healthy and save oru country from obesity !!

      July 19, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  43. Amayda

    If I have time for breakfast I have a bowl of cereal and drink my coffee in the car. If I am running behind I have a protein bar in the car along with my coffee. Only when I genuinely forget my protein bar (and run out of my stash that I keep in the car) then I stop for an egg mcmuffin. But that doesn't happen often. :) Don't like the greasy feeling for the rest of the morning.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Deedalee

      We follow about the same morning regime, Amayda ... I do granola cereal w/bananas when there's time and coffee for the ride. On those crazy mornings, if you do a mcmuffin with the egg and english muffin only (skip the meat and "cheese product"), it's much less greasy and tastes pretty good. Have them throw in a salsa packet if you need more flavor (and aren't wearing white that day)! :-)

      August 11, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  44. Tony the Tiger

    Eat Me, I'm Grrrrrrrrrrrreat!!!!

    July 19, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Captain Crunch

      Eat me raw, pilgrim!

      July 19, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  45. AleeD

    For years, my breakfast was bagels on the run and multiple Diet Cokes thruout the morning. Sometimes those multiple Diet Cokes were my only breakfast. Get to work, switch over to coffee and wait for lunch. For my health, I've recently had to change that habit. Many more proteins, no more carbs and one 20oz coffee at work. It was hard to get back in to my childhood habit of sitting down and eating a "real meal" for breakfast. Now I've made the transition and am glad.

    Today breakfast is an enjoyable, quiet time to slowly ramp up into my day, catch up on reading and have a good meal .... before the insanity of the day begins.

    July 19, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Jerv

      Hear, hear! I make time in the morning to sit and eat my breakfast, no matter what.

      July 19, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Jinjiang,USA

      If you have diabetes and particularly kidney problem, please avoid all kinds of diet soda and see a dramatic improvement in your kidney function !!!! I think that diet sodas are stressful for kidneys even among healthy people. Drink plain water or small qty of tea instead.Personal experience. It us shameful corporations are aggressively martking drinks at al times and places, it will only hurt us in teh long run.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:04 am |
      • sbp

        Not according to Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. His study followed more than 40,000 men for 20 years, from 1986 to 2006 – no association of diet soda and diabetes.

        July 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
      • Old Wife

        Oh how our tales abound.

        July 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Gondo

      you know who eats breakfast? fat people

      July 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
      • Breakfast

        I beg to differ.

        July 19, 2011 at 11:50 am |
      • Anne

        Actually, Gordo, I mean Gondo, studies show that skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day, thereby, increasing the chance for obesity. A healthy breakfast is actually key to maintaining weight and even weight loss. So keep your ignorant, pot-stirring comments to yourself. You're probably a closet fatty yourself anyway (that was thrown in to equal your mean stupid comment, even if it is stooping to your level).

        July 19, 2011 at 11:51 am |
      • amy

        Uh, no dipsh!t, people who eat breakfast are slimmer on average than those who don't.

        July 19, 2011 at 11:56 am |
      • Bhavin

        Thanks for sharing your stupidity Gondo! Now start eating some healthy breakfats. Maybe, just maybe, there might be a slight increase in your intelligence (assuming you have a brain)

        July 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
      • AleeD@Gondo

        Skinny people eat breakfast, short people eat breakfast and tall people eat breakfast. What's your point?

        Oh that's right, it's on top of your head. Keeps that dunce cap right where it belongs.

        July 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • gabriel

        Silly Gondo

        July 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • shar

      I made similar changes in my diet and eating habits six years ago. I gave up all soda and I make time to eat a balanced breakfast each morning at home before I go to work. Combined with exercise, I lost thirty pounds and I have kept it off for over five years. I look and feel soooo much better. I also find that I eat less and I make better food choices throughout the day.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:59 am |
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