Most of us have heard before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For a non-breakfast-loving person, like me, this can seem pretty daunting, considering that I much rather just skip it. I do it many times and I always regret it.
Even when I don’t believe all the researched evidence, my body constantly proves to me the importance of the first meal of the day when I feel run down before noon. If skipping breakfast or eating a lousy one negatively affects my adult body, how much more so does unhealthy breakfast habits affect my kids?
Preparing healthy and nutritious breakfasts does not have to be a time sucker and you don’t even have to cook something every morning. You are perfectly capable of serving your family a satisfying breakfast despite little cooking ability, lack of time or picky eaters around. Let me show you how.
Aaaah, my infamously favorite two words. Breakfast does not have to be cooked in the morning. Who says you can’t cook a double batch of your Sunday morning pancakes and freeze them to use throughout the week? Or why you couldn’t use your slow cooker overnight and wake up to a delicious smelling meal? Did you know that most ovens nowadays are programmable? No more waiting for reheating! For the not so Type A readers, a simple plan of “Breakfasts for the Week” could look like this:
Monday: pancakes/waffles/muffins with protein of choice
- Tuesday: eggs/casserole
- Wednesday: oatmeal
- Thursday: pancakes/waffles/muffins with protein of choice
- Friday: eggs/casserole
It does not have to be different every single day. You can add enough variety by changing the fruit or veggie choices or the flavors of baked goods. After all, having cereal each morning isn’t exactly a diverse diet either, so even this simple plan should be pretty exciting.
… with good stuff that is. It’s extremely important not to make breakfasts too carb-heavy. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar, which is crucial if you want to avoid the mid-morning crash. Cook up several links of sausages or bacon to last you for the week, and reheat in the microwave. Alternatively, you could serve yogurt or cottage cheese or eggs, of course.
Sorry guys, but a ton of food you make at home will be tastier and healthier than store-bought versions. I know this is arguable, but I am a firm believer in controlling the ingredients that go into my family’s food. If you have never thought twice about Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles, read the labels and see if you can pronounce most of the stuff you eat. Thankfully, there any now many brands that made it their mission to provide pre-made food with quality ingredients. I highly recommend Applegate brand, Trader Joe’s brands, Simple Truth brand at Kroger, Greenwise brand at Publix, Van’s at most stores, So Delicious at most stores, and any other natural brands that include clear labels and don’t use a gazillion of ingredients.
If your plan and recipes aren’t simple enough, you won’t stick to it. Monday isn’t the time to bake cinnamon rolls from scratch (unless you love torturing yourself or suffer from insomnia). Below are some trusty recipes that aren’t only simple and quick, but delicious too.
Whatever freezable breakfast foods you make, double or triple the batch. If you are already cooking, why not cook a bit more and freeze it? I love to do this with waffles and muffins especially. A quiche or breakfast casserole will stay in the fridge for several days without going bad, so make enough to last. If you just dedicate your Sunday or Saturday morning to creating a little bit of extra food, you should be good to go for the week.
Don’t Sweat It!
Let’s be honest — some mornings will be crazy, you will sleep in without meaning to, somebody will get sick, life will happen. Don’t feel discouraged and give up altogether just because a few mornings have not gone well. A few occasions here and there will not completely sabotage your efforts in feeding your family better. Remember, it’s not about perfection but about progress. On these days, break out the sugar free, additive free, preservative free cereal box and serve your family with a smile.
Now for the recipes:
This is the best recipe to date. I would really really love to give credit to whom it belongs, but years ago I copied it to my cookbook and I don’t know where I got it from! (and for the record, I never measure anything except the eggs and milk)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 c ham or bacon or sausage
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 c milk or non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 8 oz cheese (swiss is my favorite) or Daiya non-dairy cheese
- Add ins: spinach (my favorite), broccoli, peppers, etc.
Line a 9 inch, prepared crust with the meat and onions, and the optional add-ins. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over. Bake at 375 for 4o minutes. It’s the perfect quiche every time!
If you feel up for it, try this recipe for the crust, it’s foolproof!
For individual quiches, spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and line the bottom with good quality deli ham, crumbled sausage or bacon. Crack and whip up 8-10 eggs, add a splash of milk (optional), salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder. Distribute liquid in muffin tins evenly and sprinkle the top with shredded cheese. You can add chopped spinach or broccoli as well, but then you may need to use less eggs. Bake in preheated 350 oven until set, about 25-30 minutes.
This breakfast can be made ahead and stored in the fridge in a ziplock bag or other container.
I always choose waffles over pancakes. Not cause I necessarily like them more, but because they are waaaaaaay easier. Close the lid and forget it until the light goes off. Works for me!
A high-protein, gluten-free waffle recipe from Against All Grain is amazing. I promise you won’t notice the difference, but your tummy will thank you!
- 3 eggs
- 1 c raw cashews
- 1/3 c milk, or non-dairy milk
- 3 tbsps honey
- 3 tbsps coconut oil, or butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsps coconut flour
Blend eggs, cashews, milk, honey and coconut oil in a blender until very smooth and creamy. Add salt, baking soda a coconut flour and blend again until everything is very well incorporated. Be patient and scrape the sides of your blender if needed, your waffle’s success depends on how smooth you mixed the batter. Once done, use your waffle iron to prepare your waffles, just like you would regular ones.
Notes: You can find coconut flour even at Walmart nowadays, and since you will use only a couple of tablespoons, a bag will last you forever! For a good store-bought version, try Van’s waffles.
Tip for food allergies: Here is a waffle recipe that is gluten, egg, nut and dairy-free.
Overnight Slow Cooker Oats
Delicious and creamy. Add nuts, fresh fruit, more milk or whatever your family likes in oatmeal! (Recipe adapted from the Healthy Maven)
- 1 c steel cut oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
- 2 cups milk or non-dairy milk
- 2 cups water
- 2 medium apples, chopped
- 2 tbsps sweetener or Stevia drops to taste
- 1 tbsps butter or coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
Grease the inside of your slow cooker generously, or spray with non-stick spray. Add all ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 7 hrs, and try not to overcook it or you will have to scrub a burnt pan!
Overnight Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole
- 1 30oz bag of frozen hash browns (I like Trader Joes or Alexia brand)
- 1 lb crumbled breakfast sausage or bacon or cubed ham
- 1 bag of cheese or Daiya dairy-free cheese
- 6 green onions, chopped small
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 milk or non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
Pour half the hash browns on the bottom of a slow cooker that you have greased generously. Layer half the meat, half the cheese and half the onions. Repeat layers starting with hash browns, meat and cheese, reserving the second half of green onions for serving. Then wish eggs, milk and seasoning and pour it over the layers. Cook on low for 8 hrs. Serve with the remaining onions on top and ketchup, salsa or whatever else your heart desires.
Other Tasty Meal Ideas to Try
If you are in search of more tasty, kid-approved recipes, check out Momables and Sarah’s allergy-friendly breakfast recipes. Of course, there is definitely no shortage of other resources online and chances are, you already have some family favorites as well. I hope these tips encourage you that sending your kiddos off to school with a nutritious breakfast is possible and easy!