The Busy Mom’s Guide to Fast, Easy & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts {with 70 recipes!}

The Busy Mom's Guide to Fast, East & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts {with 70 recipes!}

With back-to-school already in full swing for some Americans, and starting up in less than 4 weeks here in Canada, it seemed like we should talk about breakfasts for those busy school mornings.

Especially for those that need to get out of the door by a certain time, but even for those of us who need to get a move on with our homeschool day, it’s oh-so-tempting to throw another breakfast of toast or store-bought cereal on the table and call it done. 

Of course, we know that’s not best. Kids (and their mamas) need to start the day strong, with protein, good fats, fruit or veggies, and whole grains. A hearty, well-rounded first meal of the day paves the way for steadier moods, stable blood sugar, more energy, quicker thinking, better learning, and even a quicker metabolism. 

But the thought of making something substantial first thing can feel daunting. What we really need are fast and easy recipes, still full of nutrition and goodness, that we can work into our mornings without causing extra stress, or dishes for that matter. 

I did some scouring through Pinterest, to see what I could find. And truth is, there are a TON of great recipes out there for your morning meal. But so many of the roundups aren’t terribly selective or careful in their picks. They seem a bit haphazard, or based more on pretty pictures than on healthy ingredients, kid-appeal, or hands-on cooking time. 

I thought this post would be simple to create, but I spent literally hours and hours, scouring the recipes out there, to find these 70 that fit my super-picky criteria: 

  1. Only real, whole food ingredients. Nothing processed or pre-made. Minimal sugar (and preferably unrefined, or a recipe where you could swap in the better stuff easily). Lots of good protein and fats to start things off right. 
  2. Genuine kid appeal. Now personally, I’m all for that gorgeous Leek, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Mini Quiche with fresh thyme sprinkled on top. Hook me up. But my kids? Not so much. They’ll take a plain plate of scrambled eggs over the fancy stuff any day. I wasn’t going for gourmet or foodie, nor did I want recipes that looked all fun and cutesy, but would realistically take way too long for the average mom. 
  3. Fast and easy to prepare. Or, something that has a make-ahead component (crockpot, freezer meals, baking that could be done ahead and in large batches, etc.). I aimed for a maximum cooking time of 20 minutes, start to finish (and ideally only 10-15), unless it was something that could be pre-mixed and then stuck in the oven first thing, so that it cooks away while you get the crew up and ready for the day.

The recipes in this post actually fit my criteria. I know, because I looked through the ingredients and instructions on every one (and some of them I’ve made myself). 

Not only that, but I only chose recipes I could actually see myself using in my own home. Not just pinning to my Breakfast board, never to be looked at again. 

chocolate and banana nut butter blast smoothie

My tips for getting real food, healthy, nourishing breakfasts ready in a hurry

With four young kids, homeschooling, and running several businesses out of our home, things get busy and hairy around here some mornings. I occasionally bemoan the fact that I’m not comfortable just buying cereal and setting out bowls and a jug of milk. Some days, I wish I was. 

But I’ve learned to make wholesome breakfasts with relatively little fuss, with this handful of strategies that work pretty well for me most days.

  1. Have a plan. This could be a proper breakfast meal plan for each day of the week, or it could be determining each night what you’ll eat the next morning. Just plan something. 
  2. Start the night before. If you get yourself into the habit of this one thing, it will revolutionize your mornings. Set some oatmeal to soak, dump ingredients in the crockpot, get a double batch of muffins baking while you watch Call the Midwife, put some frozen fruit into the fridge to thaw, or even just set the table. Whatever. Just do something in advance. 
  3. Always make extra. If I’m making muffins or quick breads, I always double or triple the recipe and freeze the extras. Same goes for anytime I make pancakes or waffles, and we pop them in the toaster for quick food on busy days. If I’m baking potatoes for dinner, I throw in a few extras so that I can chop and fry them up with eggs the next morning. 
  4. Keep something in the freezer. We always, at bare minimum, have frozen fruit for smoothies, and can use whatever liquid exists in the house (yogurt, kefir, milk, coconut milk). When I’m on the ball, we also have extras like bacon or pancakes or sausages already in the freezer. 
  5. Always have ingredients for simple meals. Which leads me to the fact that simply having what you need on hand takes away a lot of the fuss. I try to always have rolled oats, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, natural sweeteners, fresh or frozen fruit, some sort of dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir), flour (nut flour or else kamut flour), baking basics, and plenty of eggs. With these things in the house, we’ve always got something to eat, even if it’s just plain old oatmeal with milk, or a plate of scrambled eggs. 
  6. Make-ahead items will save you on rushed mornings. Especially if I know that we’ll be having some busier-than-usual mornings, I try to think ahead a few days before, and prepare something that will be easy on the day of. Grab-and-go foods like bars, breakfast cookies, muffins, frozen burritos or egg muffins, etc. work well. See lots of these recipes below. 

warm berry quinoa bowl

Warm Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Happy Offerings

How I Usually Plan my Breakfast Menu 

I like to do a skeleton plan, where each week follows the same basic pattern, but I simply swap out the particular recipes. 

For example: 

  • Monday – Oatmeal
  • Tuesday – Eggs 
  • Wednesday – Yogurt 
  • Thursday – Baking 
  • Friday –  Eggs
  • Saturday – Pancakes (waffles, french toast, etc.)
  • Sunday – Baked oatmeal or casserole 

The first week, we might eat Pear & Ginger Slow Cooker Oatmeal, then fried eggs with sourdough toast, then yogurt and fruit parfaits, then zucchini muffins, etc. The second week we would switch it up just a little and eat Cranberry, Nuts & Chia Fancy Oatmeal, then an omelet, then yogurt with homemade granola, then Bacon, Egg & Cheese Muffins, and you get the picture.

Same formula, slightly different recipes. This keeps your grocery list similar from week to week, allowing you to stock up on basics. It makes filling in that menu plan a cinch. And it keeps you from getting bored too easily. 

A few notes about the recipes below:

  1. Some recipes just list “sugar” or “brown sugar” (though many use sweeteners like honey and maple syrup or raw sugars like sucanat). Check out our guide to sweeteners and know that it’s incredibly easy to swap out one type of sweetener for another. 
  2. Though I was pretty careful about it, there’s the odd recipe that includes a fat I’m not so keen on. Check out this post to see which fats and oils I recommend

 

crockpot_applepie_oatmeal2_pm

 

Crockpot Apple Pie Oatmeal from Yankee Kitchen Ninja

Crockpot Wonders 

Pear and Ginger Slow Cooker Oatmeal @ Keeper of the Home

Crockpot Breakfast Risotto @ A Year of Slow Cooking

Overnight Oatmeal with Cranberries and Figs @ Food Network

Crockpot Apple Pie Oatmeal @ Yankee Kitchen Ninja

Crockpot Southwest Breakfast Casserole @ Cookie Monster Cooking

supremespinachandeggbreakfastsandwiches1

 

Supreme Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches from Foodie With Family

Make-Ahead 

Overnight Oats @ Kath Eats Real Food

Supreme Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches @ Foodie With Family

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa @ $5 Dollar Dinners

Oatmeal Waffles @ Good Cheap Eats

Whole Wheat Waffles @ 100 Days of Real Food

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles @ Keeper of the Home

For all waffles,  just make ahead in a large batch and freeze, then re-heat in the toaster on the morning of. It’s like Eggo Waffles, but a million times better for you!

Banana-Creme-Brulee-Oatmeal-GF-DF

 

Banana Crem Brulee Oatmeal Bake from Keeper of the Home

Oatmeal (and Other Grain) Variations 

Fancy, Flavored Oatmeal Made 4 Ways @ Keeper of the Home

Banana Crem Brulee Oatmeal Bake @ Keeper of the Home

Carrot Cake Oatmeal @ An Edible Mosaic 

Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Love & Zest

Warm Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Happy Offerings

Baked Oatmeal with Sweet Potato @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

The Nourished Kitchen’s Baked Oats with Pistaschios, Dried Figs & Honey @ GNOWFGLINS 

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (soaked) @ GNOWFGLINS

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal @ Good Cheap Eats (with instructions for making ahead and freezing)

Tips for all baked oatmeal recipes:  These take a little while to bake in the morning, usually 30-45 minutes. Which sounds long, but it can work great for busy mornings if you do it like this — do 10 min. of prep the night before with most of the ingredients that can sit out overnight, finish up with a couple of minutes mixing in the last ingredients when you first get up in the morning and while the oven pre-heats, then bake while getting everyone ready. You’ll all be dressed and good to go by the time the oven timer beeps. Or, make enough on a Sunday that you have leftovers to reheat on Monday or Tuesday. Baked oatmeal is hearty and even our family of 6 can usually get 2 meals out of one large pan. 

primal-carrot-cake-breakfast-muffins_paleo-friendly0386_600f

Primal Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins (grain free) from Holistically Engineered

Muffins {sweet & savory}

Gluten Free Oatmeal Muffins @ Fearless Dining

Primal Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins (grain free) @ Holistically Engineered

Grain Free Cinnamon Raisin Muffins @ The Real Food Guide

Paleo Cranberry Orange Muffins (grain free) @ Cook Eat Paleo

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (gluten free) @ GNOWFGLINS 

Carrot Squash Muffins (gluten free) @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

How to Make the Best Muffins Ever (with many different flavor variations) @ Simple Bites

Gluten Free Blueberry Applesauce Muffins @ The Humbled Homemaker

Strawberry Coconut Muffins with Strawberry Cream Cheese (grain free) @ Just Making Noise 

Banana-Oat-Blender-Gluten-Free-Pancakes

 

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes from Mountain Mama Cooks

Super-Simple Pancakes 

3 Ingredient Pancakes (grain free) @ Recipe by Photo

Protein Packed Flour Free Breakfast Pancakes @ Fannetastic Food

Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes @ Just a Taste (grain free)

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes @ Mountain Mama Cooks

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sourdough Pancakes @ GNOWFGLINS

Oven Pancake with Cinnamon Apples @ Good Cheap Eats

Protein Pancakes @ Keeper of the Home

Easy Quinoa Pancakes (gluten, sugar and dairy free) @ Keeper of the Home

Beginners-Luck

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies

Breakfast Through a Straw

Healthy Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Milkshake @ An Edible Mosaic

Blueberry & Kale Smoothie @ Organize Yourself Skinny

Green Monster Smoothie @ Spoonful (use something like raisins for eyes instead)

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie @ Simple Green Smoothies 

A Month of Smoothies – 31 Recipes Links @ Keeper of the Home (I didn’t include as many smoothie recipes here because you’ll find a great selection of them in this “Month of Smoothies” post from earlier in the summer)

Grain-Free-Instant-Brown-Sugar-Noatmeal

Grain Free Instant “Brown Sugar” N’Oatmeal from Holistically Engineered 

Totally Grain Free

Baked Cheddar Eggs and Potatoes @ Taste of Home

Poppy Seed Fruit Salad with Citrus Honey Glaze (might want to add extra nuts or some yogurt for more protein) @ Domestic Superhero

Power Breakfast Egg Meat Muffins @ The Healthy Foodie

Grain Free Instant “Brown Sugar” N’Oatmeal @ Holistically Engineered

Paleo Sweet Potato Muffins (Eggs, Nut and Grain Free) @ Tessa the Domestic Diva 

Italian Style Omelet Muffins @ Just Jessie B

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Muffins @ Cheeseslave (these are a favorite in our home)

ChocPBBars86L09

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars from 86 Lemons

On-the-Run {breakfast bars & other hand-held goodies}

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies Recipes @ How to Have it All

Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Breakfast Cookies @ Running to the Kitchen 

How to Make the Most Delicious Granola Bars You’ve Ever Had @ Creative Green Living 

Fruit and Nut Bars @ Greatist

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars @ 86 Lemons (I would sub honey for the agave)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars (gluten, dairy and egg free) @ The Humbled Homemaker

cottage cheese parfait

Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait from Simple Bites

Healthy Cereals, Granolas & Parfaits

Cocoa Almond Crumbles @ GNOWFGLINS

Quinoa Granola (allergen free) @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

Pumpkin Spice Granola @ Simple Bites

Soaked Muesli with Fresh Fruit @ GNOWFGLINS

Berry Patriotic Parfait @ Greatist (you could really use any type of fresh fruit in the same way, and you could add in sprinkles of chopped nuts, seeds, or homemade granola to make it heartier)

Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait @ Simple Bites

Granola Cereal or Bars (the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals) @ 100 Days of Real Food

Homemade (Soaked) Granola @ Passionate Homemaking (this was one that I made for years)

Mexican-Egg-and-Sweet-Potato-Breakfast-Scramble-recipe-Taste-and-Tell-1

Mexican Egg and Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble from Taste and Tell

Egg Based, Protein Packed

Quinoa Breakfast Hash Browns @ A Beautiful Mess (make these faster in the morning with quinoa you cooked the day before)

Quinoa Scramble @ Root and Blossom

ABC Frittata (apple, bacon, cheddar) @ Simple Bites (I would pre-grate the cheese and cook the bacon the night before to speed up the morning prep, then stick it in the oven while we got ready for the day)

Omelette Roll @ Moms Dish (this is such a neat idea for making an omelette that doesn’t require cooking supervision, and you could use any sort of fillings that you liked)

Mexican Egg and Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble @ Taste and Tell

Four Herb Frittata Thin Egg Pancakes @ Just Making Noise (and I’m sure these would taste good even if you used dry herbs instead of fresh)

Make Breakfast Once a Week (egg skillet scramble variations) @ Mama & Baby Love 

mamrevolution

Still want more? 

25 Oatmeal Recipes Perfect for Back-to-School Breakfasts @ Keeper of the Home 

Get the ebook – The Breakfast Revolution: Recipes From Outside the Cereal Box (particularly great for those eating gluten free, but really, good for anyone)

Follow our Pinterest boards — Breakfast, Smoothies, Real Food Baking, and Grain Free Recipes

What breakfast recipes do you make most often for those busy school mornings? And what one recipe did you find to add to your repertoire?

Top image from Kevin Dooley

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Unfortunately this type of cooking only really works for weekends or non school days for us. W a needy baby, 1 in kindergarten and husband on biweekly chemo it makes it unlikely to do much that would require both hands. Even cooking the night before is challenging and a no go on chemo weeks. Good recipes I will love to try once treatments are done and teething is over

    • Ashley, I am SO sorry to hear that your husband is going through chemo right now. My husband had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 7 years ago (he had surgery, and then 6 months of bi-weekly chemo, and he got extremely sick and had terrible side effects from the chemo). At the time, I also had a toddler and a newborn baby. I remember how very, very hard those days and weeks and months were. Praying for you right now, for peace and for energy and for healing. I hope that you have a community around you that is helping you out, with things like meals or babysitting or cleaning. You really need help during a time like that. I could not have functioned without it! Blessings on you and your family, and sending you a long distance hug. I know, you don’t know me, but I bet you need it anyways. :)

  2. Thanks for this list, my husband is tired of eggs all the time and this give me some ideas. He is a very picky eater, worse them my daughter.

  3. This will be such a huge help to me. Thanks! My family and I are so sick of cold cereal in the morning.

  4. Great post. Love the tips and recipes. I really try hard to make our breakfasts healthy and this will be helpful.

    I will say that it can be a little overwhelming to do breakfast like this 7 days a week. Honestly, on our busiest mornings (once or twice a week), I will do something like TJ O’s, fruit, and cheese (or eggs if I have time.) I know it is not ideal but it is a good balance for the stage of life we are in. (And is light years better than where we were 7 or 8 years ago.)

    • And it totally doesn’t have to be like this every single day! But knowing that you’ve got better options for some or most mornings, adn then going super simple on those crazy mornings, is definitely better than nothing, right? We definitely have days where we just eat a plate of plain scrambled eggs, or a busy Sunday morning when I just pull some granola out of the cupboard and pour milk over it. It’s not the norm, but it’s life, right? I’m all for balance, so it sounds like you’re doing a great job, and have come a long ways! :)

  5. Thanks for including my crockpot oatmeal — this is a great idea roundup (I’ll be referring to it often!).

  6. Well, now. This is awesome! Pinned! …and hungry! :)

  7. With a busy toddler to keep up with and a baby is due in four weeks, this post was very helpful. My husband is often gets breakfast duty and it has been on my to-do list to plan a breakfast menu so things are a bit more balanced (more than toast or plain oatmeal). Thanks for the great ideas! I’ll be bookmarking this one.

  8. Thanks for including me in the round-up. What a great source of breakfast ideas!

  9. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have no idea how much week day breakfast cause me dread!! I know the kids are more than happy with cold cereal (so I guess I owe Lucky Charms a thank you as well) but I want them to have a real hearty breakfast!

    • Oh, believe me, I know! Sometimes I dread it, too. This was partly for me, not only my readers, because finding easy and healthy recipes for my own plan is what inspires me to keep making good stuff for breakfast. But I’m glad you found it helpful!

  10. Thanks for including my crockpot casserole! Have a wonderful day!

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