Did you know September is supposed to be “Better Breakfast Month?” Maybe that’s because kids are back in school and need this “most important meal of the day” to do their best work. Unfortunately, my “better breakfast” record this month leaves a lot to be desired.
That’s because September has been unusually busy for our family. In the past four weeks, we’ve traveled coast to coast, dealt with five flat tires on five different cars, and demolished the front end of our truck when we hit a deer at high speed on a dark highway.
Not only have I been homeschooling my four youngest children, but I’ve started teaching five of my grandchildren a couple of days every week. In addition to lessons, we registered nearly nine dozen craft projects in the creative arts competition at the East Texas State Fair earlier this month and also toured the Texas Broadcast Museum in Kilgore and the DPS Crime Lab in Tyler (both fascinating, informative field trips).
September has also afforded me the privilege of addressing a hundred or so ladies from a local Variety Club, teaching two classes and leading a women’s group at our weekly homeschool co-op, and fielding a slew of interview questions from the senior producer of ABC’s 20/20 for an upcoming special report.
What I haven’t done in September is feed my children very many hot, homemade breakfasts. I’m sorry to say, we’ve eaten cold cereal more mornings than not (provided, of course, we can find any milk in the fridge).
We need to do better
So… I could wrap up this post by vowing to do better in October and sharing a recipe for made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls using home-ground flour. Mmmm. Doesn’t the very thought make your mouth water?
Or maybe you’d prefer my blueberry oat muffins (bonus points for gathering the berries yourself at a local pick-your-own farm)? Or a nice, fluffy, spinach soufflé seasoned with herbs you grew in your own garden? Or perhaps you’d enjoy the crunchy, nutty, slow-roasted granola I used to make when life was less hectic and my teen boys couldn’t polish off an entire batch in three seconds flat.
Well, if you have time to make those kinds of breakfasts, you have time to look up the recipes yourself on Pinterest.
(To view my “Breakfast of Champions” Pinterest board, click here.)
We’re all busy
My guess is, if you still have school-aged children at home, you’re every bit as busy as I am.
Seriously, the thought of having to have all my kids dressed and ready for school, lunch bag in hand and completed homework assignments in backpack, and delivered to their various campuses before the first bell rings every day literally makes my head spin. Yet that’s a daily reality for lots of moms all across the world.
(For help making your mornings run more smoothly, click here.)
And in addition to chauffeuring kids back and forth from school and soccer practice and dance lessons and scout meetings, many mothers work outside the home — and still manage to cook meals, help with homework, and do laundry when they return.
Frankly, that kind of regimented routine and responsibility seems like a rougher assignment to me than all my busiest months rolled into one.
(To ensure busy schedules don’t cut into family meal times, check out my book.)
That’s why, instead of letting “Better Breakfast Month” make us feel guilty for all the time-consuming dishes we aren’t preparing, I think we should use it to brainstorm how we might serve up some super quick and easy meals that are equally nutritious and delicious, like the ones listed below.
13 Quick & Easy Breakfast Ideas:
This is our go-to breakfast as long as we have ripe avocados in the pantry; smear that creamy goodness on half a bagel or a piece of toast, then add a dash of paprika and some hummus, sprouts, or a few radish slices, if desired. Eat open-faced or as a sandwich.
Our favorite combo is mango, strawberry and banana, but feel free to mix it up and experiment; we use frozen fruit and almond milk and will often add a few fresh spinach leaves for extra vitamins, as well. They’re super quick and super healthful, and are easy to take along if you’re in a rush.(And our Vitamix can handle anything we throw at it.)
Spread a tablespoon or two of peanut butter on toasted whole-grain bread and top with sliced bananas. When my kids were little, I’d make faces using banana slices along with raisins or chocolate chips. We called it Teddy Bear Toast.
Take a lesson from hotels by boiling and peeling a batch of eggs the night before so kids can grab them on the go. I like mine with a little salt and pepper. They’re a great source of protein! To prepare 6 eggs or less, cover eggs with water in a small saucepan, put pan (no lid) over high heat, and set timer for 15 minutes. The eggs will be perfect when the timer goes off.
veggies and hummus
This makes a great after school snack, but works in a pinch for breakfast, too. Our favorites are baby carrots and sugar snap peas (as they keep well in the refrigerator and can be eaten as is. But sliced red and yellow bell peppers are also yummy, if you have time in the morning or pre-slice them earlier in the week.
These are quick baking, very satisfying, and will really stretch your staples. A single can of flaky layer biscuits and three eggs makes two dozen muffins. My older kids love them (the younger two don’t eat meat, cheese, or eggs, so we must work around that).
My dad used to feed me and my sister ice cream cones for breakfast (unbeknownst to my mom), claiming it was no worse than most sugary cereals served with milk (he had a point there). Turns out, eating ice cream in the morning can help improve focus, but we serve up a healthier version (basically, its a really thick fruit smoothie) using frozen berries, bananas (for a creamier texture), and greek yogurt. Yum!
We make our own “instant oatmeal packets” by putting 1/2 cup of oatmeal, a dash of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of brown sugar, and a few nuts and/or raisins into snack-size ziplock baggies. Put the tea kettle on have breakfast ready in two minutes flat.
The thing I love about these muffins is that the batter will keep in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. We make a double batch and just scoop out as much as we need for the number of people we’re feeding. If you bake it in mini-muffin tins, it will cook even faster.
I’ll admit, pancakes seem more like a weekend, special treat sort of breakfast than something fast and easy you can grab on the go Monday through Friday. But did you know you can make a batch of pancakes (or waffles) and freeze them for later? Cook them a little less brown than normal, then warm them in a toaster when you’re ready to eat.
Once you memorize this recipe, you can throw it together in a snap the night before you need it. Just remember to pop it in the oven early the next morning. When it comes out, cut it into squares and either eat with a fork or put it between two pieces of toast for a take-along breakfast sandwich.
Teach your older kids how to use a knife to cut the sections away from their surrounding membranes, then enjoy them with a spoon. For a twist, try sprinkling the halved grapefruits with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, then popping them under a broiler for three or four minutes.
Bake a few of these loaves on the weekend. Once they’ve cooled, you can wrap and store them in the pantry, then slice on busy mornings for an instant meal. Bonus: This recipe is a great way to make certain overripe bananas don’t go to waste!
Those are a few of our family’s favorites, but I’d love to add some more recipes to my “better breakfast” repertoire.
What would you add to our quick & easy list? (Comment below.)
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