So here is my dirty little grocery shopping secret: breakfast cereal. Nope, don’t make my own. I know you can. I know oatmeal would be a wonderful way to start the morning for my kids. But to be honest, I remember my own childhoodof Rice Krispies, those tasteless little specks waiting to turn to mush. I loaded them down with spoonful after spoonful of sugar, begging them to taste like something, but all I got was a sugar rush. As I got older and began buying my own cereal, I decided to try some of the sugary cereals my mother wouldn’t allow in the house. To my surprise, the super sugary ones would only appeal to a 6 year old, too sickeningly sweet for my tastes. I found I enjoyed the middle of the road cereals, with a little added sugar, just as they were. I didn’t need to add unhealthy levels of extra sugar. Now I buy those for my children, resist their desires for cereals filled with toys and marshmallows, but know deep down in my heart that I could do better for them.
I am not my best first thing in the morning. I have never been a morning person, preferring to wake up at the crack of noon in my younger years. Now with a kindergartener and a toddler who rises with the sun, I have a rule that Mommy doesn’t have to talk until she has finished a full cup of coffee. My cup is very large, and it takes me half an hour to finish my first cup. Then it is time to pack DD’s lunch and make breakfast, and I have about 20 minutes to do that before the kids come downstairs. So, this is why I pull out a box of cereal, rather than cooking a good “real” breakfast for her.
Boogie Boy is easy, he gets a banana every morning right now, maybe a slice of homemade bread if I have some. If I am running on all cylinders, or actually cooking something for DD’s lunch (rather than pulling out leftovers), then I will also cook up some scrambled eggs for the kids. But I need to do better for my kids and for myself.
Here are some recipes that I KNOW can be made in less than half an hour with minimum brain power required. 🙂
Strategy #1 – Fill your freezer with goodies, and then hide them at the bottom. I find that I can make some really yummy breakfasts at about 11am while DD is at school. They usually freeze well, so I stash them, but they disappear within a day or two, even if I make a dozen servings! 😦 I have noticed that if I hide them in my big freezer (or under stuff in the small freezer), though it lasts much longer. Things that freeze extremely well: muffins, scones, quick breads, bacon (already cooked), homemade pancakes and waffles, and hashbrowns (yes, you can make your own). There are several OAMC breakfast recipes on Recipezaar, as well (some I have tried, most I haven’t). Most of these can be pulled out and reheated in the microwave or toaster.
Strategy #2 – Find quick breakfast recipes that don’t require brain power first thing in the morning. Less than 7 minutes of work, less than 30 minutes total would be my limits for time. So far I have tried:
Scrambled Eggs with cheddar cheese
Homemade Microwave Oatmeal
If you or your kids think a smoothie is breakfast, these are super easy, and can be very healthy. I just need more substance, as does my DD.
Strategy #3 – If you have a bread machine, fall in love it again. Set it out on your counter. Find a recipe that is good for your delay timer. Load it up Sunday night. Monday morning, take the loaf out to cool before slicing and topping with all kinds of things that are yummy, healthy, and kid-pleasers. Apple slices, banana slices, pb&j, a little butter and a little cinnamon and sugar – all good choices – canned fruit with cream cheese, or just straight up toast! 🙂 Make Toad in the Hole, the Southern way (an egg cooked in a slice of bread, here‘s a faster oven variety), french toast (I’m going to try this one!), or eggs and soldiers. Know that you are giving your children something that doesn’t have any weird chemicals in it to make the shelflife equivalent to Twinkies.
I’m going to try to do better, and will be using these strategies to help. Hope they can help you feed your family a better breakfast less filled with “stuff”, too.