How We’ve Stopped Relying on Packaged Cereal for Breakfast
Plan ahead with an easy breakfast schedule! How to get healthy, real food breakfasts on your table FAST.
In our efforts to eat wholesome, real foods, one of the biggest challenges has been weekday breakfasts. School and work mornings are busy, and we’d gotten into the habit of eating packaged cereals most days. Especially with the kids.
Yes, it’s easy and convenient to pour a bowl of cereal and be done with it. But cold cereal doesn’t fuel our bodies with lasting energy. And, depending on which kind you buy, packaged cereal can be filled with added sugar, preservatives, and other questionable ingredients.
What is the alternative? A nutritious breakfast made from real foods, that satisfies both your hunger and your tastebuds! Sounds difficult and time-consuming? It doesn’t have to be!
A few months ago, if you looked into our pantry you’d find at least 8 boxes of store-bought cereal. It was the “healthier,” lower sugar varieties, but still processed cereal nonetheless. The kids were asking for a bowl of cereal constantly. When they woke up in the morning. For a mid-morning snack. After school. Even at dinner time. And every time we went to the grocery store, they wanted to buy more of whichever kind was the favorite of the moment. I was even tempted way too many times to eat a bowl of cereal for an afternoon or late night snack.
I didn’t like the way that my body felt after eating a big bowl of cereal, and I really didn’t like the amount of cereal that my family was eating. So we decided to stop buying cereal and start planning ahead to make nutritious breakfasts happen every day. We talked with the kids about our plan, so they understood that we wouldn’t be buying any more boxes of cereal. They didn’t like it at first (surprise, surprise), but it only took a week for them to adjust and stop asking for it altogether. They even tell our family and friends how we aren’t buying cereal anymore. 🙂
What do I mean when I say real food breakfasts? The easiest way to explain it is to say what it’s not. Real food is not packaged or processed. It’s made from whole ingredients, like fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, whole grains, plain yogurt, and milk.
I believe in moderation, and hey, I do have three kids and a crazy busy life. I don’t judge anyone for buying a box of cereal or graham crackers. We still buy plain Cheerios for emergencies (like keeping the one-year-old busy during a trip to the grocery store). And while I love to make homemade graham crackers when I have time, most of the time we buy our favorite (healthier) crackers at the store. Most of the time, though, we’re starting our day with a healthy, homemade breakfast.
So how do we make homemade breakfast happen even on our busiest days? It all comes down to organization, and I have two tricks up my sleeve. 😉
1. Take advantage of make-ahead breakfasts and prep foods ahead of time.
When I have time on the weekend or on a less-busy weekday, I’ll make a batch of healthy muffins, breakfast cookies, or mini frittatas and freeze them. Homemade granola and overnight oats are other favorite make-ahead breakfast options that you can keep in your refrigerator for quick breakfasts.
When I do my weekly snack prep, I’ll also cut up fresh fruit and hard boil some eggs for breakfasts. When the healthy foods are ready to go, we are more likely to eat them. 🙂
2. Plan ahead with an easy breakfast schedule.
This is my favorite trick because the thinking and planning are done in advance. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to eat a healthy meal when I have a plan.
To keep things simple, I’ve created a breakfast theme for each day of the week. Wednesdays are for oats and Fridays are for breakfast smoothies, for example. Then we switch it up with different recipes and flavors from week to week, so things are always delicious and never boring.
Having a schedule takes the guesswork out of it. I can easily plan for our grocery shopping. On the weekend I make notes on my calendar of which prep ahead tasks I need to do each day so I don’t forget. Here is a printable breakfast plan that I like to keep on my refrigerator.
Here’s the schedule, along with 4 recipe ideas for each day of the week. So all together I’m giving you a whole month’s worth of easy breakfast ideas! These are the recipes that we make over an over again, to fuel our bodies and start our day off right.
Mondays: healthy muffins and quick breads with fruit. Add yogurt or a hard boiled egg for protein.
- Favorite Healthy Blueberry Banana Bread
- Maple Banana Pancake Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Breakfast Cookies
- Light and Fluffy Blueberry Banana Muffins
Tuesdays: quick hot breakfasts.
- Easy French Toast (Whisk together 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a shallow dish. Dip 2 slices of whole wheat bread and cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, 2-3 minutes per side.)
- Make-Ahead Mini Frittatas
- Yogurt Waffles or Pancakes
- English Muffin Egg Sandwiches (Egg, cheese, and veggies on a whole wheat English muffin)
Wednesdays & Thursdays: oats.
Make these the night before, and they will last for a few days in the refrigerator.
- Our Favorite Easy Overnight Oats
- Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
- Cinnamon-Maple Baked Oatmeal
- Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
- Apple-Pear Breakfast Smoothie
- Blueberry Spinach Breakfast Smoothie
- Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Smoothie
- Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Saturdays: eggs and toast.
- Broccoli Cheddar Mini Frittatas
- Ham, Cheese, and Veggie Quinoa Frittatas
- Scrambled, Fried, or Poached Eggs
- Egg and Veggie Omelet
Sundays: pancakes, waffles, or french toast.
(Freeze leftover pancakes and waffles for quick dinners later in the week.)
- Lemon Greek Yogurt Pancakes
- Overnight Cranberry Orange French Toast
- Healthy Chocolate Chip Waffles
- Best Waffles
What is your favorite healthy breakfast? Share your favorite easy breakfast tips in the comments!
I love this Kristine! We have tried to get away from eating as much cereal, but it’s definitely a weakness in this house. Your schedule is great too — something that I’ve used in the past (even though other family members and friends think I’m totally anal or crazy)! 🙂 Glad I’m not alone! Hah!
This is such a great idea, Kristine! Even though I don’t have kids, I should be following this, too. I love that you have meal themes and choices. When it’s laid out like this, everything sounds so easy and delicious. And definitely a better option than packaged cereal!
I love the idea of a breakfast meal plan schedule! Most people only have a dinner schedule, but why not a breakfast one too? Cereal definitely isn’t the only option out there! 😉 I may have to give a few of these recipes a whirl soon!!
I hear you, Kristine! We had to stop with the cereal because it’s really tricky to find allergy friendly safe cereal, and I do feel much better! It was just too much refined carbohydrates first thing in the morning. Lots of yummy ideas here!
I used to love cereal and rarely eat it because it really doesn’t make me feel good afterward either. My kids go crazy for it, so while I really like to have a homemade breakfast for them, it doesn’t always work out. Love this plan and I need to get better about make-ahead breakfasts!
I found it really helpful! I’m definitly use it as a means of simplifying my meal planning which currently takes me hourssss (there’s so much good stuff to try that I sometimes get lost….-) 🙂 Thanks a lot!
I’ve been trying your recipes & I truly do enjoy them a lot. Thank you so much and please don’t stop. I’m actually looking forward to making the creamy no may apple coleslaw at then end of October, for my mom & dad in celebrating my birthday. I plan on grilling burgers, so this coleslaw is a perfect side dish to have. Thank you so much.
Jennie, thank you!! Your comment made my day! I’m so happy to hear that you are enjoying my recipes. It makes all of the work that goes into the blog worth it!
Hello Kristine, love your website, love your ideas, love your lunch boxes! I’m new to this concept of lunch boxes (I moved from Europe recently, back home we have warm lunches with soup, second and salad and then morning snack and afternoon snack) and I would like to know if, even when it says lunch box, does it cover also snacks? What I mean is, if my kids go to school from 8.30 to 3:30 will this be enough for them ( they are 3 and 5)? Thank you in advance for your response. Andrea
Warm lunches sound wonderful! I wish my kids could have that during their school day. The lunch boxes that I share in my posts are what my kids eat for lunch. We pack another morning snack for our kids. It depends on your kids’ appetites, though, as they are all different! I hope you find some new ideas that your kids enjoy!
A super easy way to enjoy French Toast is by making a French Toast Casserole! Here is the recipe:
Easy French Toast Casserole – Note: Everything could be mixed the night before and then poured over the French bread in the morning before baking. Also, this has no sweetener in the actual casserole, we like to enjoy it with the sweetener on top. Ingredients:
1 loaf whole wheat or French bread,
3 C milk,
2 tsp cinnamon,
2 tsp vanilla extract.
Spray a 9×13-pan with non-stick spray. Tear up the bread and place it in the pan. Combine the remaining ingredients together. Pour them over the bread. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup or honey.
Yum! I love how simple this recipe is, and the make ahead option is perfect! Thank you for sharing. 🙂