Mornings are busy times for families, and despite being one of the more important meals of the day, breakfast is often made from whatever is convenient. Drive through meals on the run, packaged breakfast cereals chock full of sugar and not much else, and individually packaged instant oatmeal. Why not do something better for your body and the planet this year and change the way you and your family eats breakfast?
I’m not suggesting that breakfast needs to be a glamorous, 5 star affair 7 days a week, but with a little planning and creativity you can come up with options that use less packaging, contain less sugar (and other questionable ingredients – I’m looking at you fast food breakfast sandwiches!), and are still quick to prep.
Remember, what you eat first thing in the morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. It breaks the 8hr+ fast that your body has been on while you sleep, and fuels your brain for a busy morning. Loads of sugar will spike your blood sugar levels leaving you cranky and hungry long before lunch rolls around, and fatty/heavy breakfast devoid of nutrients (I’m still looking at you fast food breakfast sandwich) will weigh you down and make you feel bloated and lethargic.
If you’re looking to move away from cold cereal and kick your morning routine up a notch, here are a few healthy breakfast ideas:
Make your Sunday morning pancakes last all week.
I have a real problem with making too many pancakes. My kiddo loves them (not my fave but it’s not all about me anymore, is it?) so I make them when he wants them. I can use yoghurt or buttermilk, bananas and whole grain spelt flour and maybe even tuck some frozen blueberries in there and he thinks I’m a culinary wizard. So when I’m done, I let them cool down, layer them between parchment paper and then freeze them. During the week it’s easy to pop one in the toaster to defrost and reheat it for a very glamorous midweek breakfast option. Also, cut your maple syrup by mixing it with some flax oil for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids!
Let yoghurt play a starring role.
My fave breakfast du jour is plain coconut yoghurt (if you can tolerate dairy choose organic cow/goat/sheep yoghurt) topped with fresh fruit (blueberries, pomegranate seeds, kiwis, or bananas lately), chia seeds, homemade granola and hemp hearts. It’s fresh and juicy, creamy (decadent!) and chock full of healthy fats and fibre. Lay it out like a buffet and let your kids decide what their fave toppings are. The sky is the limit as far as options are concerned.
Don’t forget about oatmeal.
Ditch the instant oatmeal in packages. They’re wasteful and loaded with sugar in most cases. If you must do instant oatmeal, buy it in bulk and flavour it up yourself with ground ginger, ground cinnamon, raisins, chopped apple, and a little vanilla. ¼-1/3 cup of dry oatmeal with ½ cup of liquid should do the trick. Drizzle with the maple syrup and flax oil mix to sweeten.
What about some muesli?
If you’re not a hot breakfast kind of person (or it’s summer and the idea of turning on the stove makes you weep), then muesli might be for you! Before you go to bed at night you soak a mixture of whole oats, dried fruit, and nuts in some milk (or almond milk or another dairy alternative). In the morning, you can eat it as is or top it with a bit of yoghurt. If you prefer your nuts crunchy, leave them out and add them in the morning before eating. I’ve seen a number of variations on muesli lately being labelled as “refrigerator oatmeal”. Most use similar ingredients, but also add things like chia seeds which absorb even more liquid and change the texture to something that is more akin to eating a cold oatmeal. You can make these individually in jars and store them for a few days in the fridge for quick grab-and-go breakfasts. Change up fruits for different flavour options.
Of course, you can always just throw everything into your blender and make a yummy green smoothie too. 😉