Can a mom really get all of those adjectives into her breakfast menu?! We can if we plan ahead! *smile* It is always important to send kids into the day with a strong start, especially when they are growing so much physically, mentally, and emotionally. And we moms have to think carefully about this especially when the children are leaving the house for the day to attend school. The kids won’t be having lunch for about 4-5 hours, but they need to stay strong, alert, creative, and generally happy. When we began public school this year I had to think differently about breakfast foods, making sure it was bulky enough to last them a long time without the previously usual morning snack at home…*smile*
- What’s a good goal?
- A weekly menu
- Utilizing helpers
- Not breaking the bank
What’s a good goal?
Key word: bulky. High protein, healthy fats, and fiber to last them 4 hours or so, supplemented with fruit for “dessert”. I encourage you to have them start with the protein, because that’s the most important item and if you offer it when they’re at their hungriest then they’re far more inclined to gobble some down. *chuckle* Things like:
- Scrambled or fried eggs & whole wheat toast, bagels, or English muffins.
- Steel cut oatmeal, which is less processed than rolled or instant oats but still yummy-chewy, and the extra fiber will last them much longer. And you can add teeny-tiny chia seeds (when cooked are slippery and soft, not crunchy) which add great protein and healthy plant fats, butter and brown sugar for more fat and yum, and for condiments 2% or whole milk (or fat-free half and half for us mom’s!), raisins or currents, cinnamon… Makes my mouth water…I should put my recipe on the blog… It’s super yummy… *smile*
- Full-fat Greek yogurt with granola to top. And I do encourage you to buy Greek yogurt because it has so much more protein and good fat than more sugary brands such as Yoplait. If you buy Greek God’s brand Honey Strawberry or Honey Vanilla those are sweeter than some others.
you can get kinds of delicious recipes from Pinterest for whole foods breakfast cookies or breakfast muffins, whole wheat pancakes you can make in advance and freeze so that kids can just toast them in the morning before school, breakfast egg muffins (omelet in a muffin tin), etc. For a large family, however, that is a significant amount of time once-a-week to prepare breakfast for 9 children for the entire week, so it’s worked out best for us so far to just cook it each morning.
A weekly menu
Meal planning, shopping, and food preparation can be so simplified by putting together a weekly menu for breakfasts (and lunches for that matter!). I always strive to simplify-simplify. If you plan 5 different meals and then do a couple of them twice, you’ve got it.
You really don’t need to plan for an entire month. That is a ton of work. And kids don’t need that much variety. With a weekly plan you can shop in bulk, you can have pre-arranged breakfast helpers lined up for certain days of the week, and kids can predict easily what is for breakfast any particular day and look forward to that. If one meal in particular isn’t their favorite, at least they can look forward to the meals on the day before an the day after. *smile*
An example might be (with fruit to follow):
- Monday – Scrambled eggs & toast
- Tuesday – Steel cut oats with butter, chia seeds, brown sugar, milk, and raisins.
- Wednesday – Greek yogurt with granola
- Thursday – Scrambled eggs & toast
- Friday – Steel cut oats, etc.
- Saturday – Pancakes (a variety of recipes and types, but still pancakes)
- Sunday – Egg, sausage, and hash brown skillet or omelets (extra heavy to last them until lunch after church)
Here is a good book I recommend called, Simplicity Parenting, by Payne & Ross. Part of what the author addresses is that children do not need a million choices, and it is in fact not even good for them but stressful. They’re happy with simple, and they thrive on consistency and predictability. *smile* And with simplicity comes a happier and more relaxed mama for them as well.
I cannot encourage you enough to teach some of your children to help with morning preparations on school days, including making breakfast. You can have a teenager or pre-teen be making the breakfast, or one of the breakfast types while you are helping kids with their hair and teeth, getting dressed, and beds made. Then when the rest of the kids are done, or first thing before everything else they can sit right up for a good, solid breakfast.
There is no reason why the mom should have to do everything herself. And it is so good for them to learn these skills! To be occupied in the morning with a good task (rather than getting out a ton of stuff before leaving for the day). Contributing to the family by serving, being faithful on the days when they don’t feel like it, following recipe directions (for at least just that one meal that is “theirs”), delighting in the thanks from siblings when the cook has worked hard, etc. *smile* You can even have children become the specialist in one particular meal and prepare something even just twice a week. Maybe a teen or pre-teen is the oatmeal specialist, or a 10-year-old perhaps would be the yogurt and granola specialist, serving people as they come to the table. And it gives young people such a great sense of accomplishment, appreciation for what goes in to feeding a family, a sense of being needed, and a sense of being capable in life!
Not breaking the bank
If you buy food in bulk you can save a great deal of money. *smile* You can store food in a “deep pantry” for longer term, and keep smaller quantities from the deep storage in a kitchen pantry where it is more manageable and accessible.
You can also save money by limiting the amount of time a certain food is available. Our grocery budget is one of the areas where we can greatly control our expenditures if we desire or need to. For example, buying prepared foods as a regular part of your budget can be very expensive, such a macaroni & cheese, corn dogs, or Taquitos. Preparing meals with recipes is not only far healthier but can save money. All things in moderation. *smile* You might choose to serve a prepared food meal once-a-week on date night, for example. It’s a treat for the children, the babysitter has an easier time serving dinner, and it’s only a once-a-week expense. Nice.
There are a lot of good food choices out there, and the healthier whole foods are more expensive. However, we need to buy a lot less of it and people eat smaller quantities because it is more nutritious and satiating! Plus we pay for fewer visits to the doctor for illness because our bodies are healthier. We still might not choose to have meat every night of the week, or Greek yogurt every morning because they are more expensive. But we might choose to have meat a couple of times a week (and eat other sources of protein the other nights), and make Greek yogurt available to the children one morning a week. The nutrition is there, but we don’t break the bank. *smile*
So! *smile* Remember your main points: bulky food, getting together a weekly menu to implement to save time and money, utilizing your helpers, and doing it all frugally. Understand that individual family’s dietary needs, likes and dislikes are unique to them. Every family is going to have different timing needs and aspects to consider, but you can still have a weekly plan that fits you and your needs. And if you don’t have any helpers yet, then you probably have a smaller group of kiddos and it can be more manageable then on your own (very busy I understand, but doable). Just think: healthy, delicious, satiating, simple. You go girl. *wink*
Blessings on your breakfast efforts,