6 easy back-to-school breakfasts
When school starts up again, OJ isn’t the only thing being squeezed in the morning. Going back to early wake-ups and getting ready for the day can leave less time for a proper breakfast. Planning ahead or having a few tricks up your sleeve can make it easier to fit in the most important meal of the day.
Homemade Breakfast Bars
Mix up a batch of the easiest energy bars you’ll ever make —they require little time and no heat (unless you count toasting nuts...) and they’re simple enough for kids to make—and play around with the flavours.
Easy (Grain-free!) Date-Nut Energy Bars
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 15 dates) 1 1/2 cups toasted whole almonds and pecan halves (any ratio - or try toasted hazelnuts or cashews) pinch of salt
Optional add-ins: 1/3 cup shredded coconut and a bit of grated lime zest and the juice of half a lime 2 Tbsp. cocoa, 1 Tbsp. honey and 1/3 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup dried cherries or blueberries and a drop of vanilla
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the dates, nuts and salt until well blended and coarsely ground - you should be able to squeeze it together in a clump. If you like, pulse or stir in any add-ins. Press into a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking pan and let sit at room temperature or refrigerate until easier to cut into bars. (Alternatively, roll the mixture into small bite-sized balls.) Leave in the pan or wrap individually to store. Makes about 12 bars.
Berries, yogurt and granola provide a healthy mix of complex carbs, healthy fats and protein, with a hit of vitamins from the berries. Make your own granola by spreading old-fashioned oats and your choice of nuts and seeds out on a parchment-lined sheet; drizzle with maple syrup and stir to coat. (Use just enough that the mixture starts to clump together.) Bake at 325˚F for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until golden. Stir in any dried fruit you like and let cool.
Overnight Steel-cut Oats in a Jar
Chewy steel-cut oats make a hearty, economical breakfast, and it takes just a minute to prep the night before: bring 1 part oats to 3 parts water (i.e. 1 cup steel-cut oats and 3 cups water) to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from the heat and let sit overnight. If you like, divvy the just-boiled oats and water into small mason jars and seal, adding raisins or berries if you like. Store in the fridge for easy-to-grab breakfasts that can be reheated in the microwave (remove the lid!) and eaten straight from the jar.
Add chopped peppers, ham, crumbled bacon, or leftover roast potatoes or veggies to a small, wide mason jar and crack an egg or two overtop. Seal and store in the fridge; the next morning kids can shake it up (to break the egg) and microwave the open jar to cook the egg, making a personal frittata that could be eaten straight-up or on a toasted English muffin to make a breakfast sandwich.
Homemade Toaster Waffles
Toaster waffles don’t have to come from a box – make your own on the weekend and freeze leftovers (a square of waxed or parchment paper between each will make them easy to separate) to pop into the toaster on rushed weekday mornings.
If spaghetti works for dinner, why not breakfast? If kids are happy to nosh on the last of last night’s evening meal, the work is already done.
These are Julie's options. If you have your own quick breakfast ideas, you can share them in the comments below.