A+ Breakfast Ideas
With the school year in full swing, it seems like one of the hardest parts of the morning routine is breakfast!
Try these healthy, easy and car-friendly recipes
Story and Photography by Kerry Guice
The first week of school was all freshly pressed uniforms, hot biscuits, eggs and bacon, and leaving the house with plenty of time to spare. Now, we’re into the second month of school and patting ourselves on the back for remembering to buy more milk for the Cinnamon Toast Crunch the kids eat out of a cup on the morning commute with hair that may or may not have seen a comb. Sound familiar?
As neither the kids nor I are morning people, I find that it’s best to move as many morning tasks as I can to the night before. Lunches are always made at night, kids bathe at night, the coffee pot timer is set to brew when my alarm goes off (which means it’s ready after the first snooze button goes off and I actually get up). I also like to make breakfasts the night before—and bonus points if they’re car-friendly! Muffins, yogurt and fruit parfaits in jars, PB and banana waffle sandwiches, and smoothie popsicles are all my kids’ (and my) absolute favorites, and let’s face it—they’re much better for their growing bodies (and brains) than Pop Tarts and Cocoa Puffs.
My kids always beg for something out of the bakery while grocery shopping. The donut requests are usually denied, but I often give in to their request for muffins, because they’re at least better than donuts, right? Muffins are sneaky little devils! I finally noticed the calorie counts on the shelves inside the pastry case, and I felt downright deceived! Most bakery muffins (even blueberry muffins, I’’m not just talking about the fudgey double chocolate chunk ones) have an insanely higher calorie count than a typical donut. However, when you make them at home, you can control what goes in them, swap ingredients here and there, and not make them the size of an entire birthday cake (with the same amount of sugar)! When using whole wheat flour, it can make baked goods seem more dense, so I found a trick to prevent that by whisking two egg whites until stiff peaks form, then carefully folding that into the finished batter. Make a big batch on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll be set for the whole week!
For mornings when the kids seem extra hungry or have a big test, I break out the Eggo waffles (that’s right—I said toaster waffles from a box—I’m not perfect!). Waffle sandwiches with peanut butter and bananas are great when we’re on the go. Adding raisins, blueberries, sliced strawberries or seeds and nuts makes them even more filling and nutritious (just check the label on the peanut butter—there are brands that have no added sugar)!
For the parfaits and popsicles, I use plain Greek yogurt and lightly sweeten it myself with Stevia and a tiny bit of vanilla extract. Greek yogurt, while high in protein, is another sneaky sugar bomb when buying it already flavored from the grocery store. Combining it with seasonal fruit also adds sweetness without sugar. Layering fruit and yogurt in jars and storing a row or two of them in the refrigerator makes breakfast (or after-school snacks, or desserts) too easy! When the fruit starts to weep into the yogurt after a few days in the refrigerator (i.e. when your 7-year-old refuses to eat any more of them because they “look weird”), puree them into smoothies—or better yet—freeze the smoothie mix into popsicle molds and give your kids popsicles... for breakfast! If you’ve not done that before, you’re going to thank me for that trick when you have a car full of happy kids pulling into that carpool line ... whether they’re morning people or not.
Elvis Waffle Sandwiches
Peanut butter (or almond butter)
Optional: raisins, berries, nuts, seeds
To assemble, spread peanut butter on one side of a warm (not hot) toaster waffle. Top with banana (and any other toppings). Serve open-faced or with another waffle on top and sliced in half.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Breakfast Muffins
Makes about 48 mini muffins or 16 regular muffins
1 ripe banana (the more black spots the better)
¼ cup coconut oil, heated in microwave-safe container
for 45 seconds
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, plus 2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I use almond milk.)
1½ cups whole wheat flour (make sure not to pack it
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, break up the banana. Add the sugar to the banana chunks, then pour in the hot coconut oil. Using a whisk, mash up the banana and thoroughly combine the banana, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and milk. Whisk to combine, then set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix. Wipe out the bowl used for the dry ingredients, and add the 2 egg whites. Using a hand mixer, whisk until stiff peaks form (about one minute). Very carefully fold the egg whites into the muffin batter until combined. Scoop muffin batter into greased muffin tin, and bake 12 minutes for mini muffins, or 16 minutes for regular muffins. Store in an airtight container (when cool) for up to one week.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait Jars
Plain Greek yogurt lightly sweetened with Stevia
sweetener and vanilla extract (I use 1 packet Truvia and
¼ teaspoon vanilla per 1 cup yogurt)
Berries and/or chopped fruit
Optional: your favorite granola for topping
To assemble, carefully spoon about ¼ cup yogurt into the bottom of the jar, then top it with a layer of fruit. Continue layering until jar is full. Bananas don’t keep for long in the refrigerator, so if using, add just before serving. Also add granola, if using, just before serving. Tighten the lids on the jars, and store in the refrigerator up to one week.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup fruit (berries, peaches and pineapple work best)
2 ripe bananas
¼ cup orange juice
Puree all ingredients in blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.