No disrespect to Z-Bars (Clif Bars for kids) as a last-minute breakfast option, but when I can do a little cooking from scratch in advance to serve a real-food breakfast, my kids are more well-nourished and I can avoid the self loathing that comes with handing out breakfast bars in the car. I won’t be making a different breakfast treat every morning, but my goal is to make two quick recipes from the list below each week, relying on a little nighttime prep plus leftovers to get me through to Friday.
1. Make-Ahead Egg Cupcakes These are really mini fritattas, but food expert Jamie Oliver calls them cupcakes! Brilliant spin, right? Just like Simran and Stacie of A Little Yum say, “It’s always helpful to have a small stash of these in the fridge for when hunger strikes.” A couple days a week, I grab one or two mini egg cupcakes for each of my boys, pop them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes, and there you have it—a quick protein-rich breakfast that will hold the whole family over until lunch.
2. Melty Chocolate Ice-Cream Milkshakes (A.K.A. Fruit Smoothies) Since Jamie gets away with calling mini fritattas “cupcakes,” we’re going take the liberty of calling fruit smoothies “melty chocolate ice-cream milkshakes.” I actually add a little cacao powder to my smoothies when my boys are watching to make sure they know the “chocolate” part is legit. I also add a scoop of Green Superfood made just for kids. I used to think I would have to sneak that part in, but my kids genuinely love it. Check out The Kitchn for more tips on making awesome smoothies you and your kids will love. As with all these quick breakfast recipes, do your prep work at night so all you have to do in the morning is blend.
3. Fruit-and-Nutella Crepes This biggest misconception about crepes is that they're hard to make. Not the case! As long as you make the batter in advance, this quick breakfast recipe saves precious time during chaotic morning scrambles. First, mix crepe batter and place it in your fridge. Then, go to bed. After you've woken up and had your first cup of coffee, simply mix the batter and pour it on a hot pan. Get creative with mix-ins like Nutella, bananas, and strawberries. That's it! Check out Chinese Grandma’s tips for making crepes. She includes tons of specific photos, so don’t get intimidated by all the steps she shows. It really is easy. Make sure you also check out the buckwheat version.
4. Make-Ahead Egg Sandwiches These little muffins are pure love. Seriously. They take a little extra prep work, but it’s all done the night before. If you happen to have a night with nothing going on (I’m funny, right?), prep these while you’re watching a prime time television show. Pioneer Woman makes hers with bacon, but they’re delicious without meat as well. If you prep a full batch, you’ll have at least two weekday mornings-worth of breakfasts for the whole family, assuming you don’t have 12 children (in which case you might have to make several batches). These breakfast muffins are another perfect grab-and-go meal full of protein, whole grain (if you go that route with your muffin), and plenty of calories to hold your kids over until lunch.
5. DIY Yogurt Bowls If you’re a true homesteader, you can handle making your own yogurt with a simple recipe from Heidi Swensen’s wonderful blog, 101 Cookbooks. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bag of toasted almonds or other nut, dried cherries or other fruit, toasted coconut, and granola. I like to serve my kids a bowl of plain or vanilla yogurt, then put the add-on items in little prep bowls (you can even put them on the table the night before!) so they can create their own bowls. You can also chop up any fresh fruit you happen to have on hand. For the finishing touch, add a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
At the end of the week, if I've tried enough of the above quick breakfast recipes so that I can count only one morning when I've relied on protein bars, I consider it a successful one.
What are your tricks for feeding your kids quick and healthy breakfasts during the week?