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Breakfast is a meal, often light, usually taken in the morning. The name derives from the concept that you have not eaten whilst sleeping, i.e. you are fasting during that time, and break that fast with the meal. It is therefore a calque of the French déjeuner or petit déjeuner and the Spanish desayuno. The German Frühstück and Esperanto matenmanĝo mean "morning meal."

North American breakfasts may feature such foods as toast, breakfast cereals, eggs, bacon, ham, sausages, pancakes, waffles, French toast, pastries such as croissants, doughnuts, and muffins, and fruit. Britons would add tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, and fish to the list - see Full English breakfast. Common beverages include fruit juices, milk, tea, and/or coffee

English speakers tend to eat more for breakfast than continental Europeans, whose breakfast is scarcely more than a snack to tide one over until lunch - commonly called a "continental breakfast".

A distinctive breakfast of Europe is the Madrid early morning post-discotheque fare of chocolate y churros - the standard extremely thick, hot and sweet hot chocolate with fritters.

Many nutritionists promote breakfast as a very important meal which provides important nourishment and energy to begin the day. Studies have indicated that food eaten early in the day is less likely to contribute to fat gain than food eaten in the evening.

Some restaurants devote themselves to breakfast or have special breakfast menus. The field is dominated on one hand by greasy spoons, diners, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food places, and on the other hand by hotels. However, some breakfast places resemble standard restaurants in procedure, selection, and price.

Breakfast is occasionally served as an entertainment meal. More popular than breakfast in this regard, however, is brunch.

The serving of a pancake breakfast is traditional on Shrove Tuesday, and some celebrate a festive breakfast on Christmas morning.

During Ramadan, Muslims describe the early morning meal (Iftar) that breaks the fast as Breakfast.

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