By Daja Gombojav, Contributing Writer
Mornings are just busy. There’s no way around it. Whether you homeschool, send your children to school, work from home or work at the office, mornings are just busy! There’s a bevy of shoes in the hallway, but somehow you’re missing the middle child’s left sneaker. You’ve got homework assignments and work assignments and laundry. And did someone remember to feed the dog? And in the midst of all this you have to eat breakfast. Which may be why cold cereal became such a go-to in our country. It’s fast. It requires zero cooking, minimal clean-up and no fuss whatsoever. Of course, you will (I guarantee it!) be hungry thirty minutes later, as will your children. Necessitating the mid-morning snack or two….or three. So, have you really saved any time, money, clean-up or brain-power if one shoddy meal requires two others to make up for it? We can do better.
Three Quick Nutrient Dense Breakfast Ideas
- Cannot take more than 10 minutes in the morning to prep.
- Cannot take more than a few moments to clean-up.
- Must be nutrient dense. (Review nutrient density, if you’re not sure if your food meets the requirements.)
- Must please the whole family–kids and parents.
The Prep Work
A little bit of forethought can save so much time and hassle in the morning. I recommend that once or twice a week you set aside an hour or so to get a few things ready for the week. Then (I promise!) the time and drama you save all week will be totally worth it!
- Mason jars (half-pint size)
- Mason jars (quart size) or reusable plastic or glass containers
- Snack-sized ziploc bags
The Shopping List
- oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats, not quick or instant)
- seeds (chia, flax, or hemp)
- bran (oat or wheat)
- powdered milk
- powdered peanut butter
- regular peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- freeze dried fruit
- fresh fruit (bananas, apples, pears, berries, etc.)
- fresh veggies (peppers, shredded carrot, chopped greens, diced onions, etc.)
- bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- shredded cheese
- nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.)
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
- grass-fed gelatin or collagen
- Spices and flavorings (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, pepper, herbs)
- Milk (raw dairy or almond milk)
Number One: Refrigerator Oatmeal
I put these together in the half-pint mason jars. I make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Each person grabs their favorite flavor and breakfast is a cinch!
In the jar place (do not stir or mix this! Just layer it in the jar!):
- 1/3 cup oatmeal
- 1 T. chia (or flax or hemp) seeds
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin or collagen
I prep a couple dozen jars just like this. (Well, I have nine children, so, we do a lot!) Then on to the toppings. Just place the toppings on top of the other stuff and put the lid on them. Pop these in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, breakfast is grab-and-go! (Most of my kids will eat these cold. A few like to heat them up. Either way, they can handle it on their own.)
Here are some great combos:
Maple Blueberry Oatmeal: 2 teaspoons maple syrup, a little handful chopped walnuts, and the rest of the jar fill with whole blueberries.
Apple Pie Oatmeal: 2 teaspoons maple syrup, chopped apple, sprinkling cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg
Carrot Cake Oatmeal: about 1/8 cup shredded raw carrot, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1 tablespoon chopped nuts, 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Peanut Butter and Honey Oatmeal: 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey
Number Two: “Instant” Oatmeal Packets
We started doing this for camping trips. Turns out it’s so easy and fun that no one can resist it! Even the oatmeal dissenters.
Start with the snack sized ziplock bags. Alternately you can use pint-sized jars.
Place the following in each bag:
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1 T. seeds (chia, flax or hemp)
- 2 t. powdered milk
- pinch sea salt
- 1 t. gelatin or collagen
- 1/8 t. real cinnamon
- 2 t. bran
- 1-3 t. dry sweetener (brown sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar, etc.)
Then customize each jar! Things to add: peanut butter powder, freeze dried fruit, nuts, raisins, unsweetened cocoa powder….the possibilities are endless. Make sure you label each bag with a sharpie so you remember what combos you did!
In the morning all you have to do is put the tea kettle on. Put the contents of the packet in a bowl, pour in hot water, stir. In about 3 minutes it’ll be the perfect bowl of oatmeal.
Number Three: Veggie Egg Scrambles
In small jars or reusable containers place your favorite chopped veggie combos, such as:
- peppers, onions, bacon
- mushrooms, broccoli, onions, garlic (bacon)
- zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic (bacon)
- mixed greens and bell peppers (and….bacon)
Bacon’s the best, even the frying of bacon sounds like an applause. –Jim Gaffigan
Once your veggie and bacon mixes are ready to roll, just place them in the fridge. Come 7am, you just place a little butter or bacon fat in a pan and heat. Dump in your veggies and give them a quick sauté, crack your eggs over the whole thing and stir until cooked. Top with pre-shredded cheese (that you’ve shredded when you prepped the veggies) if you want. Boom. You’re done!
And please, for the love of all mothers, let’s stop with the Mom Breakfasts. You know what I’m talking about. When we feed everyone else, but we don’t feed ourselves. We just eat whatever lonely cold half-eaten piece of toast remains after the dust has cleared. And cold coffee. Let’s stop with the cold coffee. You deserve better, Mom. Eat breakfast! Eat it with your kids. If you can’t then eat before you feed them. But just say no to Mom Breakfasts.
Confession Time: What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Tell me in the comments!
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