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Top 12 Time Saving Breakfast Ideas

Updated on December 30, 2009

You know it's time to rethink the breakfast format when:

  • Your carpooling cohort steps on a box of graham crackers in your car, and you respond with "Hey, watch it, that's my kid's breakfast you're stepping on."
  • Your kids are getting dropped off at daycare clothed in their pyjamas, and you walk them into the facility hand in hand. And what is in their hand, and now yours, is a sticky brownish breakfast slice of apple or two.
  • You get a call from the school offering your child a "head-start" meal to start off her day. When you question the offer, they respond with: "I found [insert your child's name here] eating the remnants of yesterday's afternoon snack in the coatroom at 10 a.m."
  • Your child sleeps over at a friend's house and that family is fed a three-course breakfast including freshly squeezed O.J. in a perfectly chilled glass. Your child returns home clutching a computer-printed menu for you, which lists all of the choices for each course.
  • Your children consider leftover pizza and cold fried rice typical breakfast fare.

These real-life sitcom scenarios are not reflective of bad parenting. Usually, it's more like bad planning. Most families, if there are two parents housed at the same address, are two working parents, with not much morning time during the workweek to spare. Getting the kids out of bed, dressed and teeth brushed is a big enough chore. Feeding them? Nearly miraculous.

With a little extra planning, ingredients on hand and perhaps some prep the night before, you can feed the kids and yourselves something nutritious as well as delicious. Add to the mix a little creativity, and this could even get to be fun instead of early morning stressful, let alone embarrassing.

Some time-saving ideas for preparing breakfast:

  • Start by planning out weekly menus, choosing items you know everyone in the family likes to eliminate the guesswork. This affords a one-trip grocery stop.
  • Have some great go-together type foods on hand. Fruits and yogurts that work together (vanilla, plain and usually lemon will work with all fruits), meats and cheeses that are well matched, cream cheese go-alongs (like smoked salmon or jelly), and an assortment of prepared jams, jellies and curds to accompany nut butters (there is more than just peanut butter on the market).
  • Bake fruit, which doesn't have to be apples necessarily, cook bacon, and prepare an egg strata or breakfast casserole the night before.
  • Use premade or prebaked pie crusts for quiche or savory tarts as these can be done ahead of time.
  • Include the kids in the preparation, if age appropriate.
  • Use premade food products like biscuits and cereal bars.
  • Have chopped fruit on hand for a fruit cocktail or use in a frothy fruit smoothie.
  • Purchase shredded cheeses to cut down on grating or processing time.
  • Find or develop recipes that are quick, easy and taste good. Keep them on recipe cards at eye-level in the cupboard, labelled "Breakfast on the Fly."
  • Use a timer to time each activity or each stage of your preparation.
  • Have a small stockpile of bread-like carbs on hand to be used as a base: bagels, bread, muffins, pita bread, lavash, tortillas, or sub rolls.
  • Use non-stick equipment to save on the cleanup time.

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