Labor Day - the unofficial end to summer - is behind us and school has started. Which means any lazy mornings you had been experiencing over the last several months are likely long gone. Alarm clocks now start mornings in our house. And even though they have the gentle sound of chirping birds thanks to the bedtime setting on my phone, it is still an alarm clock.
Slow-to-wake kids, the desire to hit snooze at least once (maybe, ehem, twice), and the myriad tasks required to be ready for school and work can often mean breakfast is rushed, relegated to pop tarts or grab-n-go bars. (Not that there is anything wrong with those once in a while.) But it doesn't have to be. Here are a few time-saving tips we use to ensure that breakfast isn't just an after thought, but also fits into our hurried mornings.
1. Prepare the night before: Meals like overnight oats and frittatas can be made the night before and kept I the fridge ready to be pulled out and served. Although this means a little extra work in the evenings, you might be able to do some of this prep while dinner is cooking. Or, better, yet, enlist the help of your kiddos while you're working on dinner. You'll spend valuable time together, your littles will learn valuable skills, and they may even be more invested in the meal because they made it. Need some inspiration? We love this recipe (and its variations) for overnight oats and appreciate the versatility of this frittata recipe.
2. Allow your kids to personalize it: Yogurt parfaits, granola bowls, cooked cereals (think quinoa or steel cut oats), or egg scrambles can be personalized to suit (1) the foods you have on hand and (2) your families individuals tastes. I'm often setting out bowls, plain greek yogurt, and lots of different toppings (including sliced fruit, dried fruit, or berries, nuts and seeds, and/or granola (all right in their packages)) and letting the kids make their own breakfast bowl. It saves me time (by not plating the options or the yogurt for each kid) and they get to make it their own.
3. Prep ahead: My youngest usually wants scrambled eggs for breakfast. Usually I try to include a couple slices of a vegetable (cucumber, pepper slices, etc) but lately we've been trying different egg scrambles. To make this easier, I sauté vegetables the night before (or use the extras from dinner) so there's one less step in the morning. Warm the prepared veggies over a skillet, scramble and cook the eggs right in the pan, and toss in a few fresh herbs right at the end. Easy as pie. Easier, actually. Seriously, the sky's the limit on these combinations, but if you need inspiration, who better than Ree?
4. Have dinner for breakfast: Warm up left-overs and you're done. Seriously. (Wasn't that easy?)
5. Use the store-bought stuff: Frozen whole grain waffles, low-sugar cereal (shoot for 6g of sugar per serving or less), granola bars, instant oatmeal ... these are all perfectly viable and acceptable breakfast options for busy mornings. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you can always boost their nutritional and flavor profile by adding nut butters, seeds, or fresh fruit, but if you do nothing other than throw down a bowl of Cheerios for your kiddo, at least you have given them something to get their metabolism working and the brain cells firing.
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PPS - In case you missed it, you might also like this post for 5 easy toddler meals you can prep ahead. As long as you're revamping breakfast, why not lunch and dinner too?!