When I first sat down with my calendar to begin meal planning, I had high aspirations. I planned unique breakfasts, lunches, and dinners six days a week with one day for leftovers.
Then I watched my motivation crumble over the next few weeks trying to do so much cooking with a baby in the house.
I soon realized that being in the kitchen for three or more hours a day wasn’t making my life easier.
I mean, I enjoy cooking, but not quite that much.
It was obvious that I needed to switch gears. I love having variety in our evening meals, but the time involved in cooking elaborate breakfasts, lunches, and dinners was stressing me out and wearing me down.
I started thinking about how I liked having minimalism in the rest of my life, why not in my meal planning too?
I decided to scrap my new breakfast meal plan that I had worked so hard on and try a more minimalist approach to my breakfast routine.
After shifting my expectations, changing my plans, and simplifying my approach to our weekday breakfasts and lunches, my stress level decreased and I began looking forward to mealtimes again.
In this post, I’m going to go over What Weekday Breakfasts Should Be Like, Why You Should Have a Plan for Breakfasts, 6 Tips for Making Weekday Breakfasts Easier, and 20 Quick, Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings!
And If you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this post:
What Should Weekday Breakfasts Be Like?
When I decided to revamp my breakfast plan, I began by thinking about what I wanted my weekday breakfasts to look and feel like.
I suggest taking a few minutes before you begin to think about what your mornings are typically like.
Are you in a rush, or do you have all the time in the world? Are your kids old enough to cook for themselves, or are you cooking for everyone? Do you have picky eaters, or are your kids easy to please?
(If you have picky eaters, be sure to check out this video!)
And of course, think about what kind of breakfast would make your life easier in the mornings.
Here is my list of what I am looking for:
Like I mentioned in my How to Create a Morning Routine post, I’m not naturally a morning person, so doing a lot of thinking in the morning doesn’t work well for me.
And making new recipes takes a while when you are a little groggy.
Not that I am trying to rush through my mornings (although I do have to remind myself to slow down at times), but I want to be able to get to the fun things that we have planned for that day.
Instead of spending the whole morning cooking, eating, and cleaning up after ourselves, we like to get to the park or go on a hike.
While I want my girls to appreciate all kinds of food and have varied pallets, I also want them to be able to appreciate simple things. Breakfast is a great time in our day to have some simple predictability.
I prefer to do more complicated and unique dinners when Ross is home to enjoy them as well.
When I was first trying to get my meal planning groove on, I found that my grocery budget skyrocketed! When I started cooking simple breakfasts, my grocery cost went back to normal.
Do I Need a Meal Plan for Breakfast?
Now that I knew how I wanted my morning to look, I could create my plan for breakfast.
It can be tempting to think that you don’t need to worry about planning out your breakfasts beforehand. But even if you want your breakfasts to be easy, quick, simple, and inexpensive like I did, don’t just wing it! Here are a few reasons that you should plan out your meals even if they are going to be simple:
1) Breakfast Will Be Healthier
It can be easy to overlook making breakfast healthy as we are trying to grab something quick before rushing out the door in the morning. But a little planning will make us much more inclined to eat a healthy breakfast instead of grabbing something processed.
2) Planning Will Save You Money
If you go to the store with a plan and a list, you will be less likely to buy a lot of food that sounds good “just in case” you decide to make it that week.
It is easy to waste money on food that sounds good at the store, but we will never actually make. A plan will keep you on track for only buying what you need and will use.
3) Preparation Will Be Quicker
Doing a little planning ahead of time will keep you from staring into your fridge wondering what you should make everyone for breakfast. If you are a little slow in the morning like I am, having one less decision to make is always a good thing!
4) Cooking Will Be More Enjoyable
For me, cooking is less stressful and more fun when I have a plan heading into the kitchen instead of making it up as I go along.
Alright, let’s get to work planning your breakfasts!
6 Tricks for Meal Planning Breakfast
1) Be Predictable
Nine out of ten weekdays, the girls and I eat oatmeal in the morning. Eating the same thing almost every day makes the morning flow naturally and keeps me from having to do too much thinking early in the morning. Plus it’s great for teaching kids how to cook.
Since we make oatmeal every day, my oldest daughter (she’s four years old as I am writing this post) can make it all by herself. This is very helpful when we need to get to an appointment and I need to get myself and my younger daughter ready to go.
2) Think Simple
If your breakfast is simple to put together, you are much more likely to stick to making a healthy breakfast. Hot cereal is an obvious choice, but if you think outside the box, there are dozens of simple healthy options! (Be sure to check out the 20 Easy, Healthy Breakfast Ideas below!)
3) Make it Delicious
Just because you’re going for easy, doesn’t mean you should skimp on flavor! Kids and adults alike are more likely to eat a big, healthy breakfast if it tastes really good. Add a pop of flavor to almost any breakfast by adding fresh or frozen fruit, nuts and seeds, and coconut or almond milk.
4) Have Fun
Although we eat oatmeal for our breakfast almost every morning, we make it interesting by adding seasonal fruit, seeds, nut butter, almond milk, and sometimes honey to the bowl.
Depending on the season we might add fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, apples and cinnamon, bananas, cherries, peaches, plums, or any other fruit that we picked up at a local farm to make things interesting.
5) Prep Ahead
If you want to make something that takes a little longer, do some prep work on Sunday for the week ahead.
For example: potatoes take longer to cook, but you can peel and chop your potatoes ahead of time and put them in a sealed container with water covering them. Then in the morning, just rinse and fry them up!
6) Mix It Up
We like to make a more elaborate brunch together on Sunday mornings. This is where we do all those breakfast favorites that everyone loves, but take too long to make during the week.
Our Sunday breakfast is rarely the same from week to week, which gives variety to what could otherwise be a mundane breakfast lineup.
If you are choosing to stick with simple foods during the week, pick a day on the weekend when you can have fun making other recipes together.
You may already have an idea of what your weekday breakfast will be, but if not, here are 20 Simple, Healthy Breakfast Ideas to get you started.
20 Easy, Healthy Breakfasts
- Oatmeal with Fruit and Nut Butter. This is the staple in our home. The girls and I eat it five days a week for most weeks! Sometimes we add eggs or toast, but the oatmeal (or other hot cereal) is a constant.
- Eggs and Toast. This is a great choice if you like a little variety in your life, while still being predictable and easy. Try making the eggs a different way each day of the week!
- Zucchini Muffins and Fruit. I love this recipe from Cookie and Kate. (These are also great for Road Trip Breakfasts when you want to feed the kids in the car!)
- Scrambled Eggs and Hot Cereal. Add some extra protein to your oatmeal breakfast. (Did you know that oatmeal naturally has protein in it?!)
- Granola parfaits. We love using Homemade Granola, some Vegan Cream and fresh or frozen berries. Layer the granola, the cream, and the berries in a clear glass for fun presentation or easy eating on the go!
- Breakfast Sandwiches. This is another great idea if you like some variation in your mornings. There are countless ways you can make a breakfast sandwich. Here is one great idea for building a Classic Sandwich.
- Whole Wheat Toast with Peanut Butter and Applesauce. My girls love this any morning that we have homemade bread in the house.
- Banana Bread and Grits. We are obsessed with this Healthy Banana Bread recipe.
- Rice Cereal with Milk, Cinnamon, and Honey. This is a great breakfast when you have leftover rice from the night before. My oldest daughter asks for this for dessert whenever we have rice in the house. Just warm the precooked rice with some milk in the microwave or on the stove. Add honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon!
- Granola and Toast. Make some Granola and homemade bread on the weekend and you have yourself an easy, healthy breakfast every day that week.
- Eggs and Potatoes. Peel and cut those potatoes on the weekend and stick them in an airtight container with water covering them. Making potatoes during the week just got a whole lot simpler!
- Savory Hot Cereal. Add salsa and an egg to any hot cereal for a savory spin.
- Eggs and Muffins. My girls get giddy any time I tell them we are making muffins. Try making different kinds of muffins each Sunday for a month. Then add some eggs to your breakfast for some protein. Make the eggs a different way every day of the week your family will be delighted with this delicious breakfast.
- Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa. Try this recipe from Bob’s Red Mill this autumn if you want to mix up your hot cereal routine.
- Avocado Toast. Cookie and Kate has great several variations on this hipster classic.
- Mini Frittatas. Make your favorite Frittata Recipe then cook it in a muffin pan instead of a skillet. (Another great protein-rich road trip breakfast or camping breakfast!)
- Breakfast Tostadas. Like Breakfast for Dinner? Try Dinner for breakfast with Breakfast Tostadas!
- Whole Wheat Pancakes. If you are short on time, but love pancakes for breakfast, mix up the dry ingredients and place them in baggies or containers. One for each day of the week. Also, portion out your wet ingredients for the week. Then in the morning, just grab one of the dry ingredient containers and one of the wet. Add any wet ingredients that you need to add the morning of (like bananas in This Recipe), then mix a cook!
- Fruit Smoothies and Toast. Simple and fun! Try this Banana Almond Smoothie Recipe.
- Muesli. Muesli is like a cold version of overnight oats. This is a lesser-known easy make-ahead option. Here is a simple recipe for Bircher Muesli.
You may also like these posts:
How to Work Leftovers into your Meal Plan will help you waste less food (and cook less!) every week.
If you’re ready to get started with a step-by-step guild to meal planning, read How to Begin Meal Planning When You Don’t Know Where to Start.
If you’d like to take a peek at Seasonal Meal Planning, the Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Meal Planning will get you started.
Want to take saving money with meal planning even further? Check out 37 Ways to Save Money on Groceries.
If you still aren’t sure if Meal Planning is right for you, check out The Pros and Cons of Meal Planning for Moms: How to Know if Meal Planning is Right for You.
Ready to Stop Feeling Stressed About Meal Planning?
In Set-it-and-Forget-it Meal Planning, you will learn how to
- Create a Breakfast Rotation
- Create a Lunch Rotation
- Create a Snack Rotation
- Choose Theme Nights
- Create Rotations for Each Theme Night
- Fill in Your Meal Planning Calendar
Set-It-And-Forget-It Meal Planning walks you through my unique method for setting up your meal plan so you will never have to start from square one again!
Plus you will receive the Set-It-And-Forget-It Meal Planning Workbook and Spreadsheet and email support from me anytime you have questions.
I hope to see you inside the course!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Meal Planning Resources!)