Breakfast time midweek is pretty stressful for lots of us. Depending on what time you get up, most of us have around an hour to get clean, dressed, fed and packed up for the day before dashing out to work and school. It is no surprise that so many of us skip breakfast or grab something ready made once we’re out. So I’m sharing three easy breakfasts that can be made in less than 5 minutes.
I live in a house with three hangry boys, they and I really don’t do well without breakfast. Loads of studies have shown how children can’t concentrate at school if they skip or eat poor breakfast. The new measures to cut childhood obesity have recommended how many calories we should have for breakfast but not what that breakfast should actually be.
As I see it, the main things getting in the way of making breakfast are time, money and skill. So here are three speedy portable breakfasts and tips on how to keep costs down. And I explain how to make them.
There are loads more breakfast recipes on my site. Some are fast, some are more suited to weekends. The ones I’ve added below are the ones we have most often mid week.
What I think makes a healthy breakfast
My benchmark for a healthy breakfast is some combination of 1-2 servings of fruit or vegetables, wholegrain carbs and protein. I’m not a nutritionist but I think that’s pretty sensible. The breakfasts below tick those boxes.
Money saving tips
Porridge is by far the best budget breakfast. Buy in bulk or from a value supermarket. The plainer the packaging the less it usually costs. A kilo bag of oats at Lidl is 75p and will make 20 servings, costing 3p each. You can get a similar size pack at Trader Joe’s in the US for $3 (15¢ a serving).
The best way to get fruit in to your diet on a budget is to buy frozen fruit or freeze your own. This avoids waste too as you only grab what you need. Frozen berries can be grabbed a handful at a time and added, still frozen to porridge. They cool the porridge down as they soften so you can eat it faster too. Keep an eye on what is in season as it will be cheaper. When you spot a bargain, or even better free fruit, grab it and make a compote or roast it then freeze in small servings.
Buy wholegrain bread when it is on offer and freeze it. Slices can be toasted straight from frozen which avoids wasting bread.
Time saving tips
1. Get ahead. If you have more time in the evening, get the breakfast things out before you go to bed.
2. Delegate. My boys are 6 and 8 and they’ve been making the microwave porridge below since they were 4. My 6 year old has now moved on to making scrambled eggs too.
3. One family, one breakfast. You are not a short order cook. Make one breakfast for everyone, let them pick out what they don’t like, no drama, or let them add what fruit they want but that’s it. After a week of fuss they should get it. Most of managed the pain of potty training for a week so we can do this!
Three easy breakfasts for busy families
1. Toasted wholegrain bread with peanut or almond butter and mashed banana.
Ready in: 5 minutes
Make it: Toast bread, wholegrain is best as it will give you fiber and extra nutrients. It will also keep you fuller for longer. Once it is toasted, spread it on one side with the nut butter, or if you don’t like nut butter use cream cheese. Peel a banana and use a fork to mash it onto the bread. If you need more sweetness, try sprinkling a little salt on the banana – weird but it works. Or drizzle a bit of honey on top. Cut in half or quarters and eat.
Make it portable: Either cut one piece of toast in half, or grab two pieces after adding the toppings and make them into a sandwich. If you’re using peanut butter, be mindful of anyone you’re eating this near (like me) as it may cause allergic reactions.
2. Scrambled eggs with toast and a piece of fruit
My 6 year old is on egg and toaster duty when we have this. We spent a few weekend mornings, when we have more time, teaching him how to do it safely and he’s a master now. He needs a bit of help lifting the pan to get the eggs onto the toast but that still gives me plenty of time to get one with other things. And he is so proud when we tuck in.
Ready in: 5 minutes
Make it: Toast the bread. While the bread toasts, heat a knob of butter in a nonstick frying pan until it foams. While the butter heats, crack 1-2 eggs per person into a bowl and whisk with a fork until the egg and yolk is combined. Use a silicone spatula to spread the melted butter around the base of the pan and then, on a medium high heat pour the egg into the pan. Use the spatula to stir the eggs constantly for a minute or two, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Once the egg is just set – I like mine really runny, you may need to cook them for longer, add a pinch each of salt and pepper, stir and serve on top of the toast.
Make it portable: Let the eggs cook so they’re more solid, like an omelette and squidge that into your toast for a sandwich. Eat the fruit after.
3. Porridge with fruit and plain yoghurt or nut butter
Ready: in 3 minutes
Make it: Buy plain old fashioned or rolled oats. The chunkier jumbo ones are my favourite but the finer ones are often much cheaper and a bit quicker to cook. Add some ground flax seeds to the oats before you add the water if you want a fibre and omega 3 boost.
For 4 people, pour a mug of oats (around 2 US cups) into a glass dish and top them with 3 mugs of warm or boiling water. Stir and put in the microwave for 4 minutes without stirring. After four minutes, take them out and stir them. Add a bit more water to get them to the consistency you like then serve with sliced banana, frozen blueberries, grated apple or whatever fruit you like. Add a bit of honey if you need to. For extra protein, add a spoon of plain full fat yoghurt or nut butter, or add some nuts or seeds or granola. If people are eating at different times they can just scoop the cooked porridge into a bowl and zap it for a minute before topping it.
Make it portable: Buy a lidded container that goes in the microwave or an insulated food flask (you can buy them here in the UK or here in the US) and pop your porridge and toppings in it. Wrap a spoon in a bit of paper towel and off you go.
How you can help children who don’t have the chance to eat breakfast
We’re lucky that we have the choice to skip breakfast, or to choose something unhealthy. Many children have no breakfast so the amazing charity, Magic Breakfast is feeding children in schools who haven’t had breakfast at home. You can donate to them here – just 22p will give a child a breakfast that will fill them until lunchtime and mean they won’t miss out on their chance to learn in the morning.
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