As the back-to-school chaos hits full stride in the next couple weeks, I thought it might be useful to post some ideas for quick and easy (and nutritious!) breakfasts. I know that I struggle with getting a decent “meal” in while also trying to herd cats, I mean get my 3 kids off to school before the school day is actually over (and also while trying to remember that I need to go to school myself, and that my peers likely don’t want to see me arrive in bunny slippers and flannel pj’s either).
My usual “method” for constructing breakfast is to ensure my kids and I have some of each of the following:
- Complex carb (starchy vegetable or whole grain)
- Healthy fat
Now, this may sound way too hard, but really, you can do it. Here are a few ideas for you, divided into 5 minutes or less and 5-10 minutes of prep (and some ideas for make-ahead meals). Some of these you can even get started while you’re still getting ready (who doesn’t brush their teeth in the kitchen? I sometimes do….).
5 minutes or less:
- Smoothie with: 1/2 cup milk or water, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1 cup fruit of your choice, 1 cup raw spinach or kale, 5-6 ice cubes. Add extra protein powder or chia or hemp seeds for an added boost.
- Hard-boiled egg (boil a batch on Sunday night so you have them at the ready), 1 piece string cheese, 1 piece fruit, 1 piece whole grain toast.
- Whole wheat waffles with 1-2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter + one piece of fruit (I like to make waffles in advance and/or use toaster waffles and make a “sandwich” out of them)
- Oatmeal (get the old-fashioned kind), cooked for 3 minutes in the microwave, topped with 2-3 T greek yogurt, dried fruit and 1 T toasted nuts. To add some additional protein, you can cook the oatmeal with 1-2 egg whites (you won’t even notice the flavor).
- Homemade trail mix with almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, plain unsweetened coconut, and seeds of your choice (chia, flax, hemp, pepita).
- Cottage cheese with greek yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit (add some nuts or seeds for extra healthy fat and antioxidants).
- Don’t be afraid to have lunch or dinner for breakfast! A turkey sandwich on whole wheat with tomato, harvarti and some spinach is a great way to start the day. Add a piece of fruit and you’ve got a great meal. Leftover rice and beans topped with a fried or poached egg is also awesome!
5-10 minutes of Prep/Cook Time:
- Omelet with 2-3 eggs (don’t skip the yolks, they have lots of good fats) with spinach, your favorite chopped or canned veggies (I like mushrooms and peppers), and a pinch of cheese.
- Steel cut oats – Soak them for a bit before cooking to reduce cook time. (I like to make a big batch on Sunday and/or do it overnight in the crock pot too) topped with fruit, greek yogurt and nuts.
- Sweet potato pancakes (cook the sweet potato in the microwave or the night before to speed prep, and increase the eggs from 2-3 for more protein). These are really more of a 15 minute thing, but they are GOOD.
- Breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, whole wheat tortilla, salsa, avocado, cheese and plain greek yogurt topping + 1 piece of fruit. You can also use tofu instead of eggs.
- Egg sandwich with 1 egg however you like it + whole wheat english muffin (add hot sauce and avocado for a kick, and maybe a slice of bacon or sausage for extra protein).
Make Ahead Meals (or meal items) – you can get several meals out of a limited amount of prep work on a Sunday night!
- Grilled flank steak – grill and slice up a large piece of flank steak to have alongside eggs cooked your way. (Here’s my favorite recipe for grilled steak. Goes great in a salad for lunch too!)
- Hard-boiled eggs – I usually cook up 6+ each week for breakfast, lunch and/or snacks
- Breakfast casserole – this one sounds really tasty and I’m going to try it out next week!
- Crockpot oatmeal (steel cut or old-fashioned).
- Homemade energy or granola bars. Also, check out these great recipes for homemade Lara bars (they are amazing).
- Whole grain muffins (pair with some fruit, a piece of cheese and/or an egg for a full meal).
The best thing you can do is plan meals ahead if at all possible; make sure you have ingredients on hand, in convenient packages and portions, and always, double the recipe if you can to have leftovers for the next day!
Got other great ideas? Please share!