When school starts up, a usual weekday morning in my house looks a little something like this:
Get up at 6 am, have a quick shower, wrangle my 2 and 4-year-old daughters into clothes that at least partly match. Then it’s a mad dash to the kitchen as I choose, assemble, and cook breakfast for the two of them (and cross my fingers they both want the same thing!)
Next, it’s time to make sure everyone has their water bottles, lunch, snack and extra clothes as we race out the door to make it to daycare, school, and work on time.
In that almost two hours of craziness that is a typical weekday morning for me, one priority is breakfast. It shouldn’t surprise you that as a dietitian and a mom, making sure my kids are fed something that is somewhat nutritious and sometimes homemade is kind of important to me. And if we can all eat sitting down together at the table—that’s a bonus!
It doesn’t always happen—there are weeks when we are eating cereal every day and others that the kids are eating bagels in the car. But no matter what, they are eating something for breakfast. And that’s really what matters most.
Over the last few years of weekday morning madness, I’ve developed some tips and tricks that can help get breakfast on the table, even on the busiest of mornings.
Here are my top three tips for breakfast success.
Setting up a meal plan at the start of the week can help alleviate breakfast time stress and give you peace of mind knowing you will have a delicious, healthy, and affordable breakfast on the table every day of the week.
Sit down on the weekend and plan out your breakfasts for the week. Whether it’s a batch of your favourite oatmeal for Monday or a simple piece of toast and peanut butter on Tuesday – write it down. Add it to your plan. This will help answer the question ‘What’s for breakfast?’ and ensure you have everything you need on hand come Monday morning. It may not happen every week, but when it does, I promise you it will make a world of difference.
You’ve got your plan, now it’s time to prep! Cut up the fruit you’re going to eat, chop any veggies; you can even go so far as to place the cereal in bowls and cover them up so all you have to do is add your milk in the morning. One of my favourite make-ahead breakfast tools is the slow cooker, especially in the winter months. You can prep all your slow-cooker oatmeal ingredients the night before so breakfast is ready the second you wake up.
Other breakfast foods to prep:
- Mix together dry ingredients for pancakes, waffles, or muffins
- Place frozen fruit in bags in the freezer for smoothies
- Mix together all your ingredients for baked oatmeal
Utilize Your Freezer
Batch cooking and making some breakfast items ahead of time that you can store in the freezer is really a LIFESAVER come a busy morning. Items like muffins, breakfast burritos, and mini frittatas all freeze really well. Cooking up a batch of your family’s favourites and tucking them away in the freezer means you are only minutes away from a delicious and homemade breakfast any day of the week. Make sure you label all your bags or containers with the recipe and date and it’s also helpful to keep an inventory list handy so you can keep tabs on what you’ve got on hand.
One of my favourite items to make-ahead and freeze are these Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. What deems a cookie a ‘breakfast’ cookie? They aren’t super sweet and are loaded with oats, bananas, and flax, all qualities of a delicious breakfast. Plus, they’ve got a good helping of chocolate chips and are nut-free, so they easily double as a crowd-pleasing school snack. Serve them on their own with a glass of milk, or top with a bit of peanut butter and jam. Either way, having a batch of these breakfast cookies in your freezer means you can go to sleep at night knowing that a delicious breakfast is a mere 1 minute and 30 seconds away from your table.
Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
Makes 8 large cookies
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup ground flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ripe banana (mashed)
½ cup tahini
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, whole wheat flour, ground flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk mashed banana, tahini, and maple syrup.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix again.
4. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop batter about 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten cookies lightly with your hand. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and brown around the edges.
5. Let cool for five minutes on a baking sheet. Remove to cooling rack and let cool completely.