Breaking into breakfast
Breakfast. Arguably the most important meal of the day (I’d counter that everything would descend into chaos at my house if I don’t have my 3pm “meal” of a latte I’m trying to keep the espresso shot count in the single digits.) But breakfast happens, just like dinner and lunch. Every day there are 6 people in my house to feed this morning repast. It occurred to me as I scrolled past a facebook request for breakfast ideas that we don’t really talk about breakfast together that much. I mean, if you go paleo, as I did a few years ago, there’s a ridiculous wealth of information about how to have breakfast without sugar, which seems like a go to for most people. But we aren’t all paleo in my family (and I’m prone to a cheat now and then). So here’s what I do for my family in the AM. Six very different eaters in one kitchen at various times.
Breakfast is the meal kids usually learn to make for themselves first. You don’t want to hit that glorious milestone of your 6 year old getting up before the crack of dawn and getting their own cereal only to be bothered by a kid who can’t find the cereal because there is none. We have a cheerios eater and a honey nut cheerios eater in my house, and I keep that stuff stocked like it’s the apocalypse. And when you have 60 boxes of that favorite cereal and someone is like “Eh. I’m over it. Do we have any Peanut Butter Bumpers?” you can make cereal bar treats out of anything with some marshmallows and butter. Or you could try one of these inventive recipes
Prep, prep, prep
I have a daughter who enjoys a smoothie for breakfast, so we have gotten into the habit of putting all of the solid ingredients in a cup and freezing them. Then in the morning, she can pour enough of her liquid of choice in there, dump it in the blender and then ask me to press the button. I’m not sure why but it’s one of those things that I don’t particularly mind and is just so much better than chasing down flax seeds or cinnamon in the wee hours of the morn. You can also take any leftovers (or make a double batch on purpose) and pour it into ice cube trays. They can be reconstituted with more liquid for another shake. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! I learned this trick when I first ordered from Daily Harvest, which is also a great way to have a smoothie ready to go in the morning.
This is all getting so far from my ill-prepared roots, but I have travelled on my life journey! I have another kid who likes eggs for breakfast, but doesn’t really have more than about 45 seconds to prepare breakfast in the morning. So I have made egg muffins for her. The key to this one is to really, really, really, really, really grease the muffin tins AND the surface of the muffin tin pan. Eggs are hella sticky! These can be made with leftovers (taco meat is really good in them, with a little salsa too. Or start from scratch with this recipe) and customized to various sensibilities and sensitivities. And like smoothies, you can and should just throw some greens in there. You can make a bunch on Sunday, refrigerate (or even freeze) and reheat in a jiffy in the microwave.
Recognize the non-eater
Some people just don’t do breakfast. Its important, yes, but some stomachs are just not awake until what school considers lunch time (and are maybe still full from whatever that late night meal was that made a sinkfull of dishes appear over night). For awhile I felt so bad about the lack of the most important meal for this kid that I would hand him bags of dry cereal and a container of applesause, but they would live in the car for weeks, uneaten. So I gave up. It seems like they haven’t suffered, being 6 inches taller than me and all.
I didn’t really eat breakfast from the time I was in college until after I had a few kids. It was just something that seemed only to matter to me, and I could always grab something somewhere (before kids at the coffee shop next to work, after from someone’s plate or maybe that open package of Oreos right near the cereal in the pantry). I think my second born was a few months old when I had to admit my weight was way more than it should be. And even though the weight loss strategies didn’t specifically emphasize breakfast, I felt embarassed to put down on a food log (even if I was the only one to see it) that I ate two Oreos or a slice of lemon pound cake from the deli for breakfast. And the byproduct was so much more than losing weight (it’s easy to avoid oreos when you are already full) but improved health and just a much more positive start to the day. Even if, like me, you’ve fed everyone else in the family (including the pets) first, it is good to take time to sit down and eat your breakfast. OK it IS the most important meal of the day.