Not Just Fry-Ups: Top 5 Irish Breakfast Choices.
What do Irish people eat for breakfast? Well, contrary to what some out-of-towners may think, no we don’t just eat meat, potatoes and fry-ups.
In fact, Bord Bia, the Irish state agency responsible for the promotion of Irish food at home and abroad, conducted a research study in April 2016 which investigated breakfast eating habits of Irish citizens.
The study included what we eat, the way we eat it and the patterns and considerations we have developed around the culture of eating the “most important meal of the day”.
From this study, entitled the “Breakfast Club” report, we learnt that 87%-89% of Irish people eat breakfast every day.
Furthermore, with a newfound emphasis on wholesome, healthy and natural lifestyles, it was foreseen that the main consideration for most people’s breakfast choice was health. Indeed, 23% of people claimed to have changed their morning menu for options which are lighter on sugars and carbohydrates, for example.
So, what are the top five meals consumed by the Irish then? Let’s take a look.
It may sound surprising, but a breakfast consisting wholly of fruit is the fifth most common morning meal consumed by the Irish people.
Although we have a mild-cool climate with lots of rain, our soil is rich and fertile, resulting in the prosperous growth of tonnes of fruit such as apples, strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, loganberries and raspberries.
In fact, Ireland can produce up to 8,000 tonnes of fresh strawberries per year worth an estimated 40 million Euro. And, seeing as many berries grow wild, not only are they tasty and nutritious but also wildly affordable, if you’re willing to forage for them!
Eggs are the fourth most common Irish breakfast choice to be consumed first thing in the morning. As a large part of our culinary culture, eggs are available in abundance and are affordable, too.
They are as diverse as they are tasty and provide immense health benefits to any diet. Eggs are incredibly nutritious and are the source of tonnes of hard-to-get vitamins such as vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, phosphorus and selenium. They raise your “good” cholesterol which lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems.
On top of all that, eggs are packed with antioxidants that have eye-health benefits, not to mention they are packed with protein and a great source of the essential nutrient for those who do not eat meat.
A new study has found that eating up to a dozen eggs per week is not harmful and will not increase the risk of heart disease – seems like the Irish got the memo anyway, as it is one of our favourite breakfast meals.
The third most common Irish breakfast meal, according to the Bord Bia “Breakfast Club” report, is cereal. Although cereal types and brands change from country to country, they all pack a similar punch: processed grains often served with milk, yoghurt or fruit.
There is a wide range of health-conscious cereals available which offer higher protein content or lower carbohydrate content, for example – perhaps lending to Ireland’s newfound healthy-eating considerations.
Popular cereals brands in Ireland include Shreddies, Crunchy Nut, Corn Flakes, All-Bran Flakes, Rice Crispies, Special K, Golden Nuggets, Cheerios, Frosties, Weetabix and Coco Pops. Although not all of them hold the best health benefits, as they are packed with sugar!
The classic breakfast dish, porridge, is the second most popular Irish breakfast meal. This dish is made by slow-cooking oats soaked in milk or water on a hob or stove-top until the desired consistency is achieved. Modern (fast) methods include “instant porridge” where you simply add hot water. Alternatively, porridge is often cooked in the microwave.
Toppings such as honey and fruit often accompany this healthy breakfast dish that provides a hearty, filling first meal of the day, and slow-release energy to keep you grooving until around lunchtime.
1. Bread and Toast
The number one spot goes to bread and toast as being the premier breakfast meal for the Irish nation.
This category spans all types of bread and toasts popular in Ireland ranging from your classic sliced pan and brown bread to bagels and pastries.
Affordable and available in abundance, bread is a staple of the Irish diet and often made at home (if in doubt ask your Nanny, and she’s sure to have a family recipe).
This dish is often served with butter, jams and spreads. It is a super filling, no-mess breakfast solution and wins the race for top Irish breakfast dish hands down.