Aragorn: Gentlemen, we do not stop till nightfall.

Pippin: What about breakfast?

Aragorn: You’ve already had it.

Pippin: We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?

Merry: I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.

Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?

Merry: I wouldn’t count on it.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

So it’s Pancake Day on Tuesday. Also known as Shrove Tuesday to any fans of the liturgical calendar 😁. Not only is it the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent BUT it is also the only day where we can eat breakfast for every meal with no one freaking out. 

For foodies everywhere, Pancake Day is up there on “should be a national holiday”. (As a Christian foodie, I’m all for making it a mid-week weekend and including Ash Wednesday too.)

As a breakfast lover- I have been known to have breakfast for dinner- I have decided that one breakfast is not enough. Well, at least during the working week when we don’t have time for a leisurely breakfast that will actually keep us going until lunch. But fortunately I am not on my own. I have the support of J.R.R. Tolkein and the Hobbit community behind me. That moment when the hobbits discover they are only having one breakfast is the ONLY time I disagree with Aragorn in the WHOLE of Lord of the Rings… and I have loved Aragorn since before he was immortalised on film! 

So today I am sharing my own thoughts on second breakfast and why I think they are beneficial. Because, after green smoothies and realising that life IS better with Maoam and Skittles, second breakfasts have revolutionised how I eat and feel about food. 

First up, why love breakfast?

I could never understand, and still don’t, why skipping breakfast is something people do to lose weight. I’ve done the intermittent fasting thing but even then I still had three meals a day because BREAKFAST! I’d rather have a smaller lunch. So here is a quick list of why we need to give breakfast some love:

  • It’s the first meal of the day, setting you up for the day; providing your body with the energy it needs to do all the things.
  • There are no rules! If you want to have toast and chocolate spread, no one is going to stop you. Even breakfast cookies and milkshakes are now considered to be totally amazing breakfast foods.
  • Eggs with anything EQUALS breakfast. So those leftovers from last night… top them with a poached/fried egg; use them to fill an omelette; scramble some eggs in to it. Suddenly you have a super easy and cheap breakfast. DREAM!
  • Unlike brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, and supper, which are all debatable and time-dependent, breakfast is always the first meal wherever you come from. You are breaking your fast, so it is always break_fast! Easy to remember 😄

So what’s the deal with second breakfast?

Let’s talk about when second breakfast works. Unlike our beloved Merry and Pippin, today we do not have the time to have numerous meals throughout the day. Instead, a lot of us are busy rushing around. This has resulted in the traditional sit-down breakfast being pushed to the side. Instead, we grab a piece of toast or a yogurt and hope it will keep us going till lunch. But really, we are all just kidding ourselves in an attempt to get all the things done. 

For me, that means getting into work before 8am so that I can leave work before 5pm in order to then run Finding Chaya. For my mum, that looks like working over 9 hours a day and putting dinner on the table. For one of my best friends, it means working in an intense field while also preparing her manuscript for a literary agent. My other best friend works long hours as a teacher and is figuring out what it looks like to live as part of a couple. 

We all have different lives. We all have lives that feel busy.

For me, the second breakfast has enabled me to slow my week day life down. While on a Saturday or SUnday I can grab my cup of tea and spend 10 minutes staring out the window, that just isn’t possible on a normal work day. I’m not getting up any earlier just to sit down and eat. Breakfast, I love you but not that much. 

But when I realised that I could split my breakfast in two, what a revelation!

So this is what my breakfasts look like, including the prep:

The night before work…

  1. Put all the ingredients for a green smoothie into the blender. Everything in together and leave it in the fridge over night.
  2. I have granola and yogurt but hate it soggy. So really simple. Put a few spoonfuls of yogurt into one pot and a small portion of granola in another pot.
  3. If you feel fancy or bored, add an extra topping to granola or yogurt. Dried toppings (raisins, coconut, etc) with granola. Fruit with yogurt.

In the morning…

  1. Grab the pots you prepped last night. (Top tip: instead of feeling smug, say thank you to “yesterday you” for being on the ball)
  2. Grab the unblended smoothie and give it a quick blend. If it’s longer than a minute, what are you trying to blend?
  3. Grab all your bags and lunch (which you can prep at the same time as breakfast the night before because “yesterday you” is amazing), walk out the door to grab the bus. 
  4. Sip on smoothie while travelling to work.
  5. When you get hungry, eat granola and yogurt.

Sure, there are eight steps but they take about 10 minutes the night before and less than five minutes in the morning. The key  for me is having a smoothie as a first breakfast because I can drink it on the way to work. The granola and yogurt is a lot easier to change. I’ve done scrambled eggs on toast; breakfast cookies; bagels and butter; pain au chocolat. If it can be breakfast, then it can be second breakfast.

I know that doesn’t work for everyone. So think about what would work for you. The key is to think about how we can take breakfast and split it into two parts. Maybe you enjoy coffee, orange juice, and toast in the morning. You have time for the juice and toast but the coffee never cools quick enough. Then buy a thermos cup and sip it on the way to work. Are you trying to gain weight? Follow my friend’s example of a hot drink and something carbs before she sets off to work and then a second breakfast of a pastry and another hot drink. It counts as a second breakfast because she still has fruit for her mid-morning/elevenses snack. (Living that hobbit lifestyle)

Second breakfast = Slow breakfast

Adopting the second breakfast life is not about having another stick to hit yourself with. It comes out of a desire to be kinder to yourself and to your stomach. Here are the lessons I have learnt from a slow, second breakfast life:

  • Work has become less stressful because I don’t turn up hangry from waiting to get to work to have breakfast.
  • I am able to work more efficiently for longer because I don’t (normally) get hangry during the morning, having eaten all the snacks by 10am. (Obviously I still have snacks 😛) 
  • I have lunch later, which means that I am less lightly to be hungry on my way home. This means I save money by not going to the shops.
  • I can embrace variety with greater ease. By prepping both breakfasts the night before, I have the mental space to change it up and keep breakfast exciting… and when I’m in need of something really different, I can use the kitchen at work for eggs and toast.
  • Having a second breakfast slows down the work day in a good way. It allows me to be in earlier, when I’m more productive, so I maximise that. My morning is also split up by second breakfast AND mid-morning coffee, giving me two chances to stop, breathe, and figure out what is happening around me.

I just love breakfast

When I first decided to write this post, it was so I could talk about two of my favourite things: Lord of the Rings and breakfast. I honestly just wanted to share the joy that having two breakfasts brings to my life in this season.

So what is it that I really want you to take away from this post? That breakfast is amazing. Yes, I’ve talked about the joy of second breakfast but only because the breakfast of my dreams is currently out of reach five days a week. Often breakfast is seen as a chore or is even skipped in the name of health/weight-loss. All I wanted to do is give breakfast some love.

Whether introducing the second breakfast philosophy in to your life is something you want to do or not, I hope this post has inspired you to love breakfast again. Not just brunch with the girls or slowly sipping tea while staring out a window. Normal, standard breakfast deserves love. The nourishment of blended spinach and mango first thing. The joy of coco pops turning the milk chocolatey. The delight of perfect eggs on buttery toast. The nervous excitement of seeing how your overnight oats have turned out. All of which give us the energy to get up, do those things, and be genuinely pretty brilliant people. 

Breakfast is amazing. It deserves a little bit of love and appreciation.

Maybe we need to be a bit more like Pippin and a little less like Aragorn.

The Second Breakfast Life as inspired by Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took