Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Most Important Meal of the Day

When I was growing up, nearly every morning my mom was up making us a hot breakfast before sending us out into the world to expand our young and already well-nourished minds.  I definitely did not truly appreciate her efforts until I had kids of my own to feed and get off to school.  I'm not really a morning person so thus far I have opted, mostly, for cold cereal, which my kids love.  


But, they are the SLOWEST cereal eaters on the planet which means we have to get up extra early for them to finish eating and still have sufficient time to get dressed, brush teeth, put on/find shoes and make it to school on time.  The best days are when we have leftover waffles or pancakes from the weekend or day before and they eat one in the car on the way -- we're never late those days.  However, they get bored with that after awhile and I feel guilty about not making fresh eggs and bacon or french toast or hot oatmeal.  And, on days when breakfast is a pop tart?  Well, let's just pretend we never have days like that.

I am convinced there is a better way.  I just know someone out there has found the perfect solution to this morning dilemma that is not going to force me to rise pre-dawn to assuage my guilt, but still fill their tummies with something other than pure, refined sugar.

So blogging universe I am coming to you seeking wisdom and brilliance or at least affirmation (please say it ain't so) that there is no short-cut on this one.  

What's your school day breakfast routine?  Are you up with or before the sun every morning over a griddle making free-hand pancake shapes of dinosaurs and Mickey like my mom was?  Do you go the cold cereal route too?  Have you found some happy medium?  Do you have some go-to portable but nutritious foods that are quick and easy (and can be made ahead of time) that your kiddos just can't get enough of?  Is there a miracle muffin or granola recipe out there that I just haven't happened upon yet? 

Please enlighten me.  I'll be eternally grateful and my kids will love you forever.


Tiana said...

I'm a happy medium. I also have some slow eaters, and with elementary school starting so early here, we opt for cold or hot cereal most mornings. But on weekends, and occasionally during the weekdays I bust out the crepes, waffles, eggs, etc. I'm not really a breakfast to go kind of person, and it wouldn't really work for my kids since we live about 5 min from school.

Lindsey said...

I cook, but I don't do "special" requests on school days. But I don't cook every day either. I have a pre-made pancake recipe that I think is pretty much amazing. And although it is pancakes, I feel like it fills the "nutritious food" bill. Smoothies I think are a good way to go, and if you can make your own granola... I would and have them eat that over cold cereal...Also, you can make Saturday your "make" day, and just freeze stuff! I have a friend who makes amazing (healthy)muffins in mini-muffin tins, they can be unfrozen in a few minutes...or 10-20 seconds in the micro.

Megan said...

We have done Carnation Instant Breakfast (or Ensure depending on how skinny the kid was... daughters I tell ya!). My kids like Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudel, and cold cereal. They want nothing to do with oatmeal.

I've made this for the gang and everyone likes it with/without tortillas:

Amazing oven French toast. Dessert really, though:

Smoothies are great and high in calories for growing boys.

I've been known to keep these in the freezer. And, if they HAD to be for breakfast, well, I'm sure there are worse things:

I use this as a base muffin recipe and then add what I want to it (jam, berries, brown sugar/walnuts). I usually triple it and freeze what doesn't get consumed while warm. There's plenty!:

Good luck!

Becky said...

We eat dinner for breakfast. It's weird but it works for us. We can just throw something to cook in the crockpot overnight. It's ready to go in the morning.

Then we have hot cereal or cold cereal for dinner. It's the only way we can get the kids to bed on time and we all function pretty well starting the day with a good meal rather than ending it that way. Another idea is steel cut oats. You can cook them overnight in a slow cooker on low. Good luck!

Jana and BJ said...

I can relate. I like the idea of hot breakfast, but don't have time. Usually on the weekends, I cook double breakfast (if I make oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, etc). This morning I made a double batch of pancakes and froze at least 4 days of breakfast. I was just thinking that it's time to make muffins again. French toast would freeze well, although I haven't done it. You could also have them drink a glass of milk at home and take baggies of cold cereal.

Bethany Davidson-Widby said...

We are an Eggo Waffle and Orange Juice in the car on the way to school kind of family. Seth has snack time at school around 10am and it's always extra healthy snack so he's kind of getting two breakfasts :-) With both of us working outside the home and neither of us being morning breakfast is reserved for 10am on weekends :-)

Robin said...

Fried egg on toast. :) Eat in the car or while you walk to the bus stop.

Anne said...

Oh boy. Such a good topic! My all-time favorite breakfast is this:

I emailed you my adaptations. If you are lucky enough to have a rice cooker, I have cooked this the night before and left it on warm all night until we are ready to eat in the morning. It does take time (about 30 minutes) to cook, so you do have to think ahead, but it could also all be assembled, minus the rice and oats, in a tupperware up to a week in advance at least.

My favorite waffles, in case you are looking:

They do require a LOT of cornstarch, but they really are INSANE.

And, the best best BEST granola:

Again, I have emailed my adaptations, since I have made this granola at least 20 times. I store it in glass mason jars and it keeps for a month easily, I also always make a double batch.

Check out King Arthur Flour for fabulous Breakfast cookies, granola bars and other healthier morning options. My kids do SO much better when they get a real (no processed food) breakfast. It is hard, but every little bit counts. Even once a week.

And Trader Joes has some fabulous cereals and other fast breakfast options for those days when other choices aren't going to happen. Just be careful of cereals that claim to be "Natural" but aren't. And we promise, you aren't the only one feeding your kids things you know they shouldn't eat.

alisa and sometimes brandon said...

Here's a link for a crockpot steel-cut oat (oatmeal) recipe:

Admittedly I don't have the same worries (yet) because school feeds my child. Thank you child development center for taking care of our breakfast needs!

Homemade granola bars are also wickedly easy (ask Cass for our sister Heather's recipe).

And I ditto Robin's idea. Fried eggs are super fast and travel well.

Angela said...

At the Stowe house we have hot breakfast every school day and kids fend for themselves on the weekends while Mom and Dad try to sleep in. Spencer gives me grief about it constantly and buys the kids Frankenberries or Cap'n Crunch which get stale in the cupboard.

Ideas for eating hot breakfast and kids out the door by 7:30. Breakfast burritos are a quick staple. Eggs scramble in 3 minutes throw the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds and they are all warm and ready to go. I buy shredded cheese and sprinkle some of that on, wrap and eat from a paper towel on the walk to school or in the car. I buy precooked bacon and if I cook sausage I do extra so I can use them in burritos later in the week. Oatmeal or 7 grain cereal I put on low before we read in the morning and it's ready for eating when the kids are dressed. Waffles are the quickest morning baked good I have found. I have a double belgian waffler which helps as I can feed everyone in 2 1/2 minutes. I make extras and freeze, then put them in the waffle maker to warm them another day.

Thank you all for the fun recipes. Good luck Linsey.

llcall said...

It's pretty crazy that I'm even replying (a month late) to a post about breakfast since I don't cook it or eat it very much (never really been a breakfast girl). But my aunt has a cooking blog and recently did a bunch of posts on homemade breakfast cereals, both hot and cold, so I thought I would pass the link along. She has a whole category on breakfast, and since I recently stayed with her and was ecstatic to eat her delicious breakfasts, I can vouch for them!

Tammy said...

We do oatmeal packets mostly (they eat it faster than cold cereal it seems) and you can find healthy, low sugar versions which are yummy and nutritious. I throw in blueberries, chopped apple or whatever fruit we have to add more fiber + vitamins. EASY! Each packet microwaves in 1.5 minutes. You can microwave eggs, fluff in a dish with a little PAM or butter and microwave for a few minutes and presto, scrambled eggs, top with some cheese..voila.


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