The “new normal” brought on by the COVID pandemic has altered the way we do so many things in our day to day lives. While we are now getting back into the swing of some of our regular activities, we’re still affected in significant ways, not the least of which is how and what we eat on any given day.
As restaurants and other food venues closed down in the height of the pandemic in early 2020, we were also sent home to work. These things in conjunction have made a big impact on our daily eating habits. For one thing, in 2019, only 37% of our meals were home-cooked. Post pandemic, that number has risen to 60%. We aren’t going out as often and we aren’t driving through fast food lines as often either, since many of us are working from home.
One of the meals that was most commonly picked up through a drive thru on the way to work is breakfast. Pre and post pandemic, about the same number of people are consuming breakfast during the work week, but those that do make breakfast a priority (2 out of 3 Americans) are having to do so differently.
The American breakfast has always been about convenience. Eggs and bread became staples long ago as they were always available in the morning. Today, 57% of Americans, and 87% of parents say they don’t have time to eat breakfast, and 50% of us say that breakfast is the most time consuming meal due to having to decide what to eat, the actual preparation, and the clean up. With all these things to consider, 63% of us would choose a little extra sleep over breakfast any day of the week.
Nevertheless, even though breakfast consumption numbers have stayed steady, we’re actually eating more breakfast foods. Most Americans view breakfast foods as comfort foods, and it’s no surprise that our need for comfort has gone up significantly in the past year and a half. We often eat breakfast at times other than the traditional breakfast hours. During the pandemic, our consumption of pancakes went up by 25%, waffles by 20%, sausage by 16%, and bacon by 15%.
Americans love breakfast, but we do usually require that it is easy and convenient. This is why heat-to-eat meals have increased in popularity since so many of us are doing much more cooking at home. Heat-to-eat meals, like breakfast sandwiches, biscuits, and oatmeal, are the perfect solution to everything we want our breakfast to be. They’re very easy to prepare with very little cleanup and cook time. They’re tasty, can be healthy, and are also easy on our wallets.
Most Americans who don’t eat breakfast during the workweek, aren’t refraining just because they don’t want breakfast. There are other factors that cause them to neglect this meal. However, eating breakfast is shown to have many health benefits and also increases focus, and helps us to make healthier food choices throughout the day as we start off the day satisfied.
In a post pandemic world, when we are no less busy than we were before, heat-to-eat breakfast is the perfect way to start the day right.