By Shelly Barclay

Continental breakfast is a vague term that describes a light morning meal. Hotels often serve it as a free amenity for guests. What foods constitute a continental breakfast typically depends on who is serving it, though there is one common theme. Greasy, fried foods and meats are typically absent from continental breakfasts.

Continental breakfast
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Continental breakfast


Coffee and juice still life
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Coffee and orange juice

Beverages served with continental breakfast include fruit juice, coffee, milk, tea and hot chocolate. Sometimes your host will serve all of these drinks. Other times, you will find only two or three beverage selections with your continental breakfast.


Assortment of fruit
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Hosts often serve fruit with continental breakfast. You may find fruits like bananas, blueberries, apples, oranges and grapefruits. Continental breakfast fruits may be in the form of a fruit cocktail or whole.


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Some form of bread is nearly always present in a continental breakfast. Sliced loaf breads like white or wheat come as toast in many continental breakfasts. English muffins and bagels do as well. If these items come with the continental breakfast, at least one topping typically appears with them. Toppings may include butter, jam and/or jelly.


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Breakfast pastries are among the heaviest foods you will find in a continental breakfast. They include donuts, danish, croissants, scones and muffins. These are among the most common, but any breakfast pastry will do.


Breakfast food
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Protein makes rare appearances in continental breakfasts. Boiled eggs and yogurt are the most fitting proteins for continental breakfast. However, some hosts serve ham, salami, fried eggs and more, while still calling it a continental breakfast.


Bowl of cereal
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There are a few miscellaneous items you are likely to find in a continental breakfast. Hot cereal, cold cereal and sliced cheeses are acceptable continental breakfast foods. Granola is served in addition to, or as a lighter alternative to, breads in some continental breakfasts.