Got The Back-to-School Breakfast Blues?
If you’ve got kids (or are in school yourself), chances are the beginning of the school year brings feelings of excitement, but also a little wistfulness. Long lazy summer days have turned into hectic school days. How to get back into a routine? A healthy (and tasty) breakfast is a good start. Unfortunately, a leisurely nosh at 9 a.m. is probably not going to work —you need a bit more of a plan. Here are some ideas to help you kick the back-to-school breakfast blues so you successfully begin your day with a tasty and nutritious meal.
Of course, not every morning spread you create is going to be worthy of an Instagram photo—and that’s perfectly ok! A bowl of quick oats, cooked in the microwave and sprinkled with cinnamon and a handful of berries (may I suggest Wild Blueberries?) is a wholesome, hearty breakfast that’s simple and easy to make. When you do have more time, however, try perusing Pinterest for new ideas. I like searching for “healthy school morning breakfast recipes” or “easy healthy breakfast ideas.” For some great breakfast recipes featuring Wild Blueberries, we’ve got you covered here.
- By now you must have seen all the wonderful recipes for overnight oats made in the cute little jars that are oh so portable when topped with a lid. The Mason jar trend is one that’s been around a couple years, but shows no signs of slowing down yet. Kids like the novelty of eating out of the jar, and in a pinch, they could even eat their breakfast-in-a-jar right in the car. Plus, this trend is endlessly customizable—use what you like most, what you happen to have on hand, or put together seasonal combos. Best of all you can create this delicious breakfast the night before to cut down the morning chaos. Involve the kids because they’ll be more likely to eat it if they help create it.
- Another trend is what I’ll call the “non-bread breakfast sandwich.” This is where you use something instead of bread, such as two waffles or two pancakes instead of bread, then stuff the sandwich with breakfast faves like peanut butter and banana, cream cheese and berries, or a fried egg and slice of ham. Don’t forget that things like whole grain crackers and even rice cakes can make a sandwich. Again, portable, filling and kid-pleasing are the keys here.
- Smoothies are here to stay, and both children and adults seem to have smoothie fever these days. It certainly helps to keep smoothie ingredients on hand (think yogurt, frozen Wild Blueberries and other frozen fruit, lowfat milk, nut butters, bananas) so you can easily whip up a smoothie with very little fuss. Some folks have even gone so far as to create resealable bags of smoothie ingredients all pre-measured so that kids (or whomever) can just grab a bag from the freezer, add a little milk or yogurt and in a jiffy they’ve got a nutritious smoothie. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got a great little smoothie recipe book to share with you—also check out our smoothie recipe section on the website for other ideas.
Prepping breakfast ahead of time isn’t a new concept, but it sure is a handy one. Here are some ideas that might help you save time on busy mornings:
- On the weekends I like making Wild Blueberry muffins or a quick bread recipe (then baking it in a muffin tin for portion control), and freezing the cooled muffins. A few seconds in the microwave yields a perfectly delicious, fresh-tasting muffin that will help pull any sleepyhead out of bed! Also, if I have extra pancakes, waffles or French toast from the weekend I freeze them in reasonable portions (say, three small pancakes or 2 small waffles per quart-sized freezer bag). I hate to waste good food!
- Using the slow cooker is another way to prepare breakfast ahead of time—let the machine cook your breakfast while you sleep! Steel-cut oats are great in the slow cooker, but you could also make a savory breakfast casserole, or a sweet French toast casserole. Do be sure to check the cook time on all slow cooker breakfast ideas—some don’t take all night. In general, cereal-based slow cooker recipes can be cooked overnight, but not so with eggs, etc.
- Kids welcome the opportunity to customize their food—in fact, that’s a trend most age groups enjoy these days. If your kids love yogurt or cereal in the morning, organize foods in advance to make customized toppings for everyone in your household to use. For example, keep a few see-through containers of toppings in the pantry and in the fridge/freezer that are easy to see and reach. Try chia seeds, ground flax or wheat germ and have a variety of chopped fresh fruit and frozen fruit like Wild Blueberries, strawberries and frozen cherries, coconut shreds, chopped nuts and granola to round out your selection. With add-ons and mix-ins like these, the easy container of yogurt or bowl of cereal will really make the grade taste-wise, and will likely earn bonus points in nutrition as well.