A second breakfast has never been just a Middle Earth Hobbit tradition. Europeans have long enjoyed eating another morning meal. School children in Germany get a mid-morning break around 9:30 a.m. where they eat a second breakfast, which, studies show, benefits their health. German adults also eat second breakfast, weisswurst frühstück, a small meal of poached sausages with mustard and a pretzel—and sometimes beer, according to German-born Chef Michael Kuefner of the Brightwater Center for the Study of Food.
But now, Americans are picking up on it, too, and depending on lifestyle, a second breakfast can be just as beneficial as a first.
"I see more and more people eating a mid-morning snack or second breakfast to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch,"says Torey Armul, MS, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "I see it in a variety of people — those working outside the home, teenagers, athletes and people looking to gain weight."
Exactly what a second breakfast is in America, though, depends on who is eating it and why. Athletes who need fuel to power hours of practice eat large meals with specific ratios of carbs, fat and protein. For the average exerciser, a light breakfast might be plenty to sustain a workout, especially when followed later in the morning by a more substantial breakfast.