Exploring the Turkish Breakfast: A Sensible Choice for Western Culture?

Breakfast, often hailed as the most important meal of the day, varies significantly from culture to culture. In Western societies, breakfast often consists of foods like ham, bacon, and eggs. However, in Turkey, the morning meal is a different affair altogether, featuring soft boiled eggs, olives, and a variety of cheeses. This prompts the question: would the Turkish breakfast make more sense today in Western culture? Let’s delve into the components of a traditional Turkish breakfast and explore its potential benefits for Western societies.

The Components of a Turkish Breakfast

A traditional Turkish breakfast, or ‘kahvaltı’, is a feast for the senses. It typically includes:

  • Soft boiled eggs or ‘menemen’, a dish made with eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, and spices

  • Olives, both green and black

  • A variety of cheeses, including ‘beyaz peynir’, a white cheese similar to feta

  • ‘Simit’, a circular bread covered with sesame seeds, similar to a bagel

  • Fresh vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers

  • Jams and honey

  • ‘Çay’, Turkish tea

Health Benefits of a Turkish Breakfast

The Turkish breakfast is not just delicious, but also packed with health benefits. Here’s why:

  • The variety of foods ensures a balanced intake of different nutrients. The eggs provide protein, the olives and cheese offer healthy fats, and the vegetables contribute vitamins and fiber.

  • The emphasis on fresh, unprocessed foods aligns with current nutritional advice to limit processed foods and added sugars.

  • The inclusion of vegetables at breakfast is a great way to start the day with a serving of veggies, something that is often lacking in Western breakfasts.

Would a Turkish Breakfast Make Sense in Western Culture?

Adopting a Turkish-style breakfast could certainly have benefits for Western societies. The focus on fresh, unprocessed foods and a balance of nutrients aligns with current nutritional advice. Additionally, the variety and abundance of a Turkish breakfast could make it a more satisfying start to the day, potentially helping to curb overeating later on.

However, cultural and individual preferences play a significant role in food choices. While some people might enjoy the variety and freshness of a Turkish breakfast, others might prefer the familiarity of their traditional Western breakfast. Ultimately, the ‘best’ breakfast is one that is nutritious, enjoyable, and sustainable for the individual.


While the Turkish breakfast offers a nutritious and delicious alternative to the traditional Western breakfast, its adoption in Western societies would depend on individual and cultural preferences. Regardless, exploring different food cultures can provide inspiration for healthier eating habits and a more enjoyable eating experience.