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What Is a Second Breakfast?

Dan Harkins
Updated May 16, 2024
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One breakfast is not enough for some who may prefer to eat more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. A second breakfast is customary in parts of Germany like Bavaria and Zurich as well as in Poland, Austria, England and on farming homesteads across the globe — where the first breakfast is apt to have been just a cup of juice or coffee with some toast or a pastry. This is followed up at about 10:30 a.m. by a fuller meal to keep the tanks full until lunch in the early afternoon.

Second breakfast goes by a number of names, depending on where it is being served. In Germany, beer halls called bierpalast will often offer the meal, called zweites fruhstuck, which literally translates to second breakfast. It regularly includes a wheat beer, soft pretzel with mustard, and some white sausages called weisswurst prepared that morning. These sausages are a blend of pork, lamb and beef, and are so perishable that they must be eaten within about 12 hours of being made — a standard maintained by tradition and government inspectors.

In Austria, this meal is called gabelfruhstuck, translated as "fork meal." Held at about 10 a.m., the foods might be similar to the zweites fruhstuck or completely different. A popular alternative is called bauernfruhstuck, which is fried potatoes and bacon, topped with a scrambled-egg mixture coursing with tomatoes and cubes of ham.

In other countries, the foods are likely to be different but the intent is the same. Second breakfast is known as drugie śniadanie in Poland. The British call this meal "elevenses," while the term is jause to Austrians. Perhaps the most common westernized way to refer to this meal is brunch. Farmers in all of these places often partake in this tradition, largely due to the extended work hours and need for energy throughout the day.

The intent of the second breakfast is to spread nutrients more thoroughly across the day, which is a practice endorsed by nutritionists, fitness trainers and physicians alike. In Germany, perhaps the most devoted partakers of this meal, school children are accustomed to break for bread at this time of day, called pausenbrot. As adults, they continue the tradition with fuller, in-between meals, known as zwischenmahlzeit.

The types of foods served during a second breakfast depend on the culture and means of the server. In Americanized settings, this will include foods like eggs, bacon, pancakes, fried potatoes and toast. For those in Europe, the meal is just as likely to include standard sandwiches, fruits, pastries, crepes and puddings.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins , Former Writer
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.

Discussion Comments

By Ivan83 — On Jul 14, 2012

I had a lot of success losing weight when I went from the traditional three meals to six daily meals. They were smaller and tended to be fresher and lighter than the gut busting meals I was accustomed to eating.

It was a big change though and it takes a lot of planning and hard work. You have to give up burgers and fires and think of truly new ways of eating. Luckily, I read a lot of books and consulted with a nutritionist. 6 months later and I am down 30 pounds!

By vigilant — On Jul 13, 2012

I went on a cruise once and they offered a second breakfast buffet. They had about 8 buffets a day and one of them came between the first meal, which started at about 7AM and lunch, which started at 11:30AM.

It consisted mostly of cereal and cold pastries, things that required no preparation or that could be made ahead of time. I never hit it up myself but you would be surprised how many people did. Cruises are a lot about eating.

By chivebasil — On Jul 13, 2012

I wake up pretty early and I am always hungry when I am first up. But I end up getting hungry again at about 9:30 or 10 so I usually eat something more. Kind of a pre-lunch snack. I think that sounds nicer than eating a second breakfast.

It is usually small and light. Maybe a piece of fruit or one slice of toast. Just something to keep my stomach from growling before lunch and to get my mind off of food so that I can go back to work.

Dan Harkins

Dan Harkins

Former Writer

Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
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