Image: Croissants for dinner, nothing to see here, folks… (via iStock).
I don’t consider myself a particularly controversial person, but every time I voice my support for eating breakfast foods outside of breakfasting hours I feel like a lynching is imminent.
When my pantry’s looking a little bare, I’ll often serve myself scrambled eggs, corn fritters or, in desperate times, cereal as an evening meal. Yet many of my friends are adamant these delicacies have no place on the dinner table. “They’re not real foods!” they protest. “It doesn’t count as dinner if there’s no meat on the plate!” they cry.
Thankfully, pop culture is on my side. The characters of Parks and Recreation have done wonderful things for the ‘all-day breakfast food consumption’ campaign. “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?” Leslie Knope ponders in one particularly memorable scene, to which Ron Swanson replies, “People are idiots, Leslie.”
While Leslie and Ron make a compelling case for eating breakfast at dinner, it's probably not very wise to get your nutritional advice from fictional characters. So I took this very important question to nutritionist and dietician Arabella Forge, one of the expert team behind the new app Trim For Life, for a more reliable opinion.
As with so many things in life, the answer isn't exactly black-and-white.
"It depends on what your definition of breakfast food is; some breakfasts can be extremely nutritious," Forge says. Sadly, I don't think pancakes, waffles and other sweet brekkies fit the dinner bill — but there's always dessert, right? (Post continues after gallery.)
"It also depends on what you're eating during the day and what you had for breakfast that morning - you want as much balance and diversity in the diet as possible," Forge adds.
In other words, eating a bowl of cereal for every meal of the day isn't advisable, even if it's a healthy version like porridge or oats. Sorry, cereal killers... but deep down you probably knew this.
"Porridge is quite a nutritious food, but I guess the thing would be that if you had porridge for breakfast, or you'd had something similar to porridge during the day as well, you might be eating just a bit too much of it," Forge explains.
"Particularly for weight management, you should aim to spread your protein intake throughout the day, so try and include protein with every meal. Your basic cereal would not meet your protein requirements and a lot of your vegetable recommendations as well."