Or is it?!! I used to cringe at the idea of trying to figure out what to have for breakfast, or was simply bored with the same thing every. single. morning. But, I also strongly believe that breakfast is important, and that it should be something that you look forward too!
For awhile, before the great parenting adventure, I had a long commute every morning on the train, meaning that I always needed something I could "grab and go" to have a smooth morning routine. Once I moved my work closer to home, I needed to ensure I had my meal before arriving at work where I had a position with lots of hustle and bustle - not to mention the energy to sustain me throughout the morning!
Over the years I've refined my breakfast creativity, and am happy to share a few ideas to help inspire your family (all toddler tested and approved, I might add!). My breakfast meal plan could easily be adapted to be entirely grab and go breakfasts for very busy weeks, or even more casual stay-at-home meals. It's simply a starting point for ideas and hopefully will inspire you to plan in advance to ensure that this daily meal is as enjoyable as possible as we embark on our routines and activities.
The Breakfast Meal Plan: How It Works!
The approach is simple - our family created a weekly meal plan that we rotate through for one month. The next month, we might change it a bit, depending on the season and what our schedules look like in the mornings. We also might change up what we have, such as a different flavour of pancakes, muffins, new recipe (e.g: little one is really into eggs at the moment), etc. But overall, the weekly meal rotation offers some choices across the course of each month so that it doesn't get monotonous, and enough convenience to make mornings enjoyable.
To make the breakfast meal plan run smoothly, I do a bit of preparation each month (which takes about 2 hours during which I am able to tackle a good portion of the dishes), and I keep a regular set of items in stock as part of our grocery shopping every couple of weeks (which I add into my "favourites" list on the Walmart app and order for grocery pick-up - more on that here). Our breakfast generally consists of having four items each week that we pull out of the freezer (breakfast cookies, muffins, pancakes, and smoothie packs). Once night per week I will make overnight oats or chia seed pudding, or alternatively toast with mashed avocado (as my little guy isn't always a fan of cold cereals). The weekend is when we have our freshly made, warm breakfasts (omelettes, breakfast quesadillas, steel cut oats). Most mornings we do try to eat as a family, but it's not always possible. And some days are busier than others, and if needed there are some flexible options if one family member needs a "grab and go" breakfast. I've included a FREE Breakfast Meal Plan printable for you so that you can get an idea of a typical routine that we use on rotation throughout the month. Recipes & links follow at the end of the post.
What You Need Prepare in Advance:
TIME: 2 HOURS per MONTH (approximately, for a family of 3-4)
- 1 double batch of pancakes (to freeze)
- 1 double batch of breakfast cookies (to freeze)
- 1 double batch of muffins (to freeze)
- Smoothie bags (to freeze)
When I have prepared the breakfasts, I usually do it at a time when I know I will have a block of 2 interrupted hours. I begin first by mixing the pancake batter, and setting it to the side. I then mix, and begin baking, the breakfast cookies. Next I go back to the pancakes and begin cooking them on the griddle (which I have to continually be checking on while moving onto the next set of tasks). While those are cooking I begin mixing the muffins and get them poured into the tins for baking (so when the cookies are done, they immediately go into the oven). Finally, I mix the fruit for the smoothie packs and begin packaging these. It is a busy schedule, but by overlapping the tasks all at once, I am able to focus and be set up for a smooth month of breakfasts! I usually find I am waiting a bit at the end for the muffins to finish, so I will begin taking care of clean-up during that time.
Monthly Grocery List:
Pancake ingredients, breakfast cookie ingredients, muffin ingredients, frozen fruit, Instant Oatmeal, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Yogurt, Fruit/Seed/Nut toppings (for oatmeal/chia pudding), Granola, Sprouted Grain Bread/Avocado (optional for meals with toast), Eggs/Milk/Flat breads (optional for quesadillas) & see additional breakfast options mentioned below.
Other Grocery Items to Have Available (optional):
Bagels, Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Cereal, Granola Bars, Instant Oatmeal Packages (that you add water to), and anything else you and your family might love!
Serves: 30 pancakes, or about 8 adult servings and 4 toddler servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Source: The All New Purity Cookbook, 2001, Whitecap Books
We have a variety of pancake recipes that we use, depending on the mood and flavour we desire. If you are looking for a standard pancake recipe that freezes well, we often use the Purity Cookbook Pancake Recipe and simply use a mixture of 50% regular flour and 50% whole wheat flour in the dry ingredients.
WOW Breakfast Cookies:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Adapted From: Sally's Baking Addition, Breakfast Cookies
I created this recipe to have a nut free Breakfast Cookie with Wow Butter.
- 4 cups quick/instant oats
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups wow butter
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 2 large bananas, mashed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
Preheat oven to 340F degrees. Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Combine all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough will be stiff.
Take 1/3 cup of dough and drop onto prepared cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the tops into desired thickness. The cookies will not spread in the oven.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets completely. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 4 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 8 hours 5 minutes
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup rolled oatmeal
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Optional Toppings: 3/4 cup fresh fruit, maple syrup, nuts, etc.
Combine milk, oats, yogurt, chia seeds, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Pour into three mason jars, cover and let set overnight (8 hours). Remove lid and fold in fruit. Enjoy!
Chia Seed Pudding:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Adapted From: My Whole Food Life
- 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or coconut extract for another flavour)
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge overnight. Top with dried coconut, berries, nuts and maple syrup (toppings are optional).
Tip: For a grab and go option, pour the mixture into mason jars the night before and it will be ready and waiting for you!
You may already have a favourite recipe for this category, and that is great! I often will make banana muffins, or a whole wheat banana loaf, as they tend to freeze very well. Pumpkin muffins are a hit in the autumn at our house a well. Lately, however, my little guy has decided that he really dislikes banana anything. I have only been able to find one recipe that incorporates banana where the taste is subtle enough that he cannot detect it, that that is a recipe by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Women that is called My Mom's Muffins. They are super and loaded with whole wheat, rolled oats and raisins (I leave out the nuts to make them school friendly)! A double batch yields 24-28 muffins, and they are not only great for breakfast, but also for extra snacks or alongside lunches.
Overnight, Slow Cooker
Serves: 4-6 servings
Serves: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 7.5 - 8 hours in a Slow cooker, 7-7.5 hours for InstantPot
Adapted From: The Yummy Life
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt (or a couple of twists of salt from the mill)
- Optional toppings: nuts, fresh fruit, maple syrup, almond butter, etc.
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 6-7 hours (in a slow cooker, as times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls. Add optional toppings, if desired.
Tips: Store leftovers in refrigerator; can be reheated in the microwave in 1 cup portions by gradually reheating, and adding 1/4 cup milk into the oatmeal and stirring at intervals as it heats. A double batch of this recipe could be accommodated in a 6 quart slow cooker for leftovers to be available on other days.
Serves: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15-20 minutes
Adapted From: Angela Bradley's Breakfast Quesadila's
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 button mushrooms, sliced
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- 8 (7-inch) whole wheat tortillas
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add spinach, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mushrooms have lost some moisture and spinach is lightly wilted. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add eggs. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from heat.
Top each tortilla evenly with egg mixture and cheese.
Fold each tortilla in half; cook in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.
Tip: You can cook these quesadillas and tightly wrap any leftovers and refrigerate them for 2 to 3 days. This is another great way prepare in advance!
Fast Fruit Smoothie FREEZER PACKS:
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Total Time: 10-15 minutes
Adapted from: Adapted from Budget Byte$
- 10 cups of frozen fruit mixed (usually three kinds of fruit, e.g.: cherries, peaches and strawberries
- 4 large bananas
- 12 ziploc bags
- Milk / coconut water
- Ground Flax (optional)
Mix the frozen fruit together in a large bowl. Set aside, Put one third of a banana in each ziploc bag. Add just over 3/4 cup fruit mixture to each ziploc bag. Seal and freeze.
To make Smoothies: Remove contents from the freezer and empty into a blender. Add 3/4 cup of milk or coconut water and 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal (optional). Enjoy!
Tip: If you have a favourite smoothie recipe, try mixing it in bulk, freezing the bags in advance, and simply adding liquid to it before you're ready to sip!
I also have a collection of Breakfast Recipes within Pinterest, so feel free to check out what's on my boards for further inspiration!
Additional Tips for Breakfast:
We also do a few other things daily to ensure our morning routine suns as smoothly as possible. This includes:
1) Check the night before to see if anything needs to be prepared/defrosted.
2) Set the coffee maker to brew automatically in the morning.
3) Ensure all lunches are packed for the next day.
We love this routine, it's diversity, and not having to really worry about what we're going to eat the next morning. It's always evolving, and as our lives and tastes change, so does our breakfast plan.
I'd love to hear from you! Did you find this helpful? What does your breakfast meal plan look like? What are your favourite breakfasts?