Posted: Apr 23, 2012 3:57 PM
Cereal is fast but not necessarily frugal or healthy. Get your kids out of the cereal cycle with these ideas for breakfasts that will fuel their imaginations as well as their appetites. Warning: Thinking outside the breakfast box may be addictive.

End breakfast boredom

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it is also the one that most people skip or skimp on. Mornings can be a chaotic jumble of getting everyone dressed and out the door, and all too often breakfast is forgotten.

There are a variety of ways to ensure that your body gets the kick-start it needs in the morning -- and they don't have to be boring.

Almost instant ideas

  • Spread a waffle with peanut butter and add sliced bananas.
  • Soak apple slices in ginger ale for 10 minutes. Put them in single-serving containers with slices of cheddar cheese and ham. The ginger ale keeps the apples from discoloring so you can make a week’s worth of breakfast all at once.
  • Keep a cup of sliced, mixed fruit in a freezer container in the freezer. Add the frozen fruit to a blender container with eight ounces of Greek yogurt and blend until smooth. You can add granola or a tablespoon of ground flaxseed for fiber.
  • Keep hardboiled eggs in their shells in the refrigerator for up to five days for a quick, effortless breakfast.
  • Slice hardboiled eggs, bell peppers and onions and add to pita bread pockets with shredded cheese and your favorite dressing.
  • Layer vanilla or lemon yogurt and fresh fruit in a parfait glass. Add a swirl of raspberry jam to the top. You can make this ahead in small jelly jars with screw-top lids and keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Flour tortillas can be warmed and spread with a variety of fillings, from peanut butter to cream cheese. Add fruit, meat or your favorite ingredients for a quick, nutritious breakfast.

Make-ahead breakfast ideas

Taking a few hours on a weekend afternoon can create a less stressful week. Choose recipes that freeze well and can be warmed in the microwave. By freezing single-size portions in cupcake containers, everyone can eat breakfast at their own convenience.

  • Muffins freeze well for up to three months, so double or triple that recipe for efficiency. You can even use a basic recipe for plain muffins and create variety by spooning a little into a cupcake liner, adding a layer of blueberries, granola or your favorite ingredients, then topping with the remaining batter. Bake as the recipe directs.
  • Quiche is a great way to use up leftovers and it freezes very well. You can make small quiches in muffin tins or tart pans, bake and freeze for up to three months. They heat up quickly in the microwave for quick, stress-free breakfasts. If you are not inclined to spend an afternoon baking mini quiches, they are available in the freezer section of many grocery stores.
  • You can bake bacon until crispy and drain it well. Blot with paper towels and then freeze it. It only takes a minute or so to warm it up -- then add it to an egg on English muffin.
  • Layer scrambled eggs, cooked bacon, cheese and hash browns in a jelly jar. Keep them in the refrigerator for up to five days. When you're ready for breakfast, just heat and eat.

Brainstorm for family favorites

Many of your favorite recipes can be made ahead and frozen. Spend an hour or so listing the breakfast items that your family likes and make them ahead of time. Your budget and your stress level will thank you.

More about meal planning

Grown-up bento box ideas
5 Must-have meal planning apps
5 Meal planning tips for busy moms