Breakfast can be a terribly boring meal and yet it has so much potential. It’s what fuels us for the rest of the day and deserves a lot more attention than it gets. But then I’m one of those freaks of nature who would happily eat dinner for breakfast. There’s nothing like a spicy bowl of reheated chili to wake oneself up at 7 a.m.! My kids aren’t into that, so I’ve had to find good alternatives. These are some of the things we eat for breakfast:
1. Yogurt with Granola and Fruit
This is our daily standby. I keep big jars of homemade granola on the shelf for an easy breakfast as soon as the kids come downstairs, adding whatever seasonal fruit is on hand. Both boys can polish off 2-3 bowls in one sitting, so they obviously like it.
2. Waffles with Peanut Butter and Banana
Waffles take more effort to make from scratch, but when I do (usually on a weekend), I precook the whole batch, freeze them, and pop them in the toaster. They come out nice and crispy, and the boys love them slathered in peanut butter and covered in banana slices. If I’m feeling decadent, I add Nutella for myself.
3. Baked Eggs (aka “shirred” eggs)
This is such an easy way to make eggs that I’m surprised I’d never heard of it until recently. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a muffin tin, grease it well. pour 1 tsp cream in the bottom of each cup, and crack an egg into it. Season with salt and pepper and bake until it reaches desired consistency. You can jazz them up with grated cheese, bacon or sausage bits, leftover veggies.
4. Hot Cereal
I struggle with hot cereals because I was raised eating them daily and never liked it; but my husband insists that they’re the healthiest way to start out the day, and it’s true that when I finish a big bowl of oatmeal, I stay full for much longer. We eat lots of regular oats and steel-cut oats. Top with a generous sprinkle of brown sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, sliced bananas, berries, and milk. Other yummy options are Cream of Wheat (my favourite) and Red River Cereal (a good old Canadian standby from Manitoba full of seeds). My kids don’t complain, so that’s a good thing.
I have an awesome whole-wheat-buttermilk pancake recipe that’s fast, fluffy, and delicious. Combine 1 c. buttermilk, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, and 1 egg. Add 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour, 1/2 c. white flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and pinch of salt. Mix only till moistened. Fry in hot, lightly greased skillet. Often I add cinnamon, flax seeds, blueberries, mashed bananas, or walnuts to the batter to make it tastier. Serve with yogurt and maple syrup or stewed frozen fruit for a satisfying breakfast.
6. Muffin Tin Omelets
Similar to baked eggs, these involve mixing eggs, milk, salt, pepper, chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions together, then dumping into a greased muffin tin. Top with cheese and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Serve with whole-grain toast.
I love crepes and would take them any day over pancakes or waffles. They’re extremely fast to whip up in a blender and, once you get the hang of cooking them, pretty quick to cook. Then you can do anything with them: fill with scrambled eggs and bacon, sliced strawberries and Nutella, mango slices, jam, whipped cream, yogurt, or go traditional and squeeze fresh lemon juice all over and sprinkle with white sugar. Roll up and chow down!
These might seem labour-intensive, but they’re not. We usually eat scones on weekends, but they’re delicious if you’ve got 15 minutes in the morning to whip up a batch. Serve hot from the oven with jam. (See recipe here.)
My husband is the smoothie king, with all his post-work-out protein drinks that he mixes up, so he’ll sometimes serve up delicious concoctions of yogurt, milk, frozen fruit, peanut butter, fruit juice, and who knows what else. You can even toss in a handful of baby spinach. The possibilities are endless!
Serve yourself a delicious homemade latte and, no matter what you put on the table for your kids, it will be a great day!