This post is sponsored by Plan to Eat.
It seems only fitting that we tackle the meal planning problem of breakfasts when I FINALLY get my act together and incorporate breakfast into the meal plans. Two weeks late, but better late than never, right?
Meal Planning Problem #3: Planning for Breakfasts
As the primary meal planner (and meal maker), I often get caught up in thinking that every meal should be an ornate feast. I too easily forget that the main purpose of food is to fuel our bodies so that we can fulfill the roles we’ve been called to do.
Of course we want food to nourish our bodies, instead of ingesting harmful toxins that our body will have to work even harder to fight off. And it’s even better if that food tastes good, right? Because we all know that if it doesn’t taste good, the chances of it being eaten are slim – no matter how healthy it is.
On top of nourishing and tasting good, we enjoy a decent variety of food too.
But all of this doesn’t mean meals have to be complicated. This is especially true of breakfast.
I can count on one hand the number of evenings I lay in bed, anxiously awaiting the following morning so I can spend a few hours preparing a monumental feast for my family’s taste buds to enjoy.
In fact, as of this writing, I can only think of two:
- Christmas morning, where the biggest cinnamon rolls you’d ever seen are prepared the night before and merely baked the day of…
- Father’s Day, when a package of bacon, homemade biscuits and a green smoothie will over joy my husband
For the remaining 363 days of the year, I’m greeted in the morning with a 3-year old wanting buttered toast and a 5-year old wanting oatmeal… before I even get out of bed.
If they like easy, crave easy, why do I always want to complicate it?
Cooking big feasts every morning is more work than I have time for. By the time I’ve prepped, cooked, served, eaten and cleaned up after all of us, it’ll be time to repeat the cycle for lunch. Where’s the fun in that?
Planning for breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or detailed – it just has to be planned. Whether it’s seven days of oatmeal or one day of pancakes with six days of leftovers – just plan something!
Real food meal plans now include breakfasts, and if I may, I’d like to share with you the reasoning behind the breakfasts outlined in this week’s plan. Like the stream of consciousness in meal planning, I hope explaining the why’s will help shed light on the how’s.
The main reason oatmeal is planned for Sunday is because we start our day with an early arrival at church. Mr. Crumbs and I drink a smoothie on the way there and the kids need a breakfast that will not only hold them over for several hours, but something that they enjoy eating. Jam packed with nutrition, oatmeal is the clear winner. I’ve begun soaking oats the day before and the kids each choose what fruit they’d like to mix in. Five minutes of cooking on the stove, a sprinkle of cinnamon on top (and maybe a pinch of brown sugar) and we’re ready to go.
After making soaked oatmeal for the first time, I realized that it was just as easy to make a double batch for the following day as well. We cover the pot with a lid before we leave the house on Sunday morning and let it sit until Monday – ta da! Having breakfast ready to go on Monday morning allows the week to start off smoothly, and the kids once again choose whatever fruit they want on top. Kelly from The Nourishing Home posted a great idea of creating banana split oatmeal buffet’s. We tried it this past week using a variety of fruits and seeds from the pantry and the kids loved it! As the saying goes, if it ain’t broken, why fix it!
Despite having oatmeal for two days in a row, we still had some leftover. Granted it wasn’t much, but it was enough to tug at me, making me feel slightly wasteful for throwing it out. Instead of putting myself in that dilemma again, this week we’re intentionally making too much oatmeal and turning leftovers into something else – pancakes. From the kids perspective, it’s pancakes! From my perspective, it’s feeding them oatmeal without them knowing.
It’s also an opportunity to make a big batch of something and possibly set some aside for the freezer or breakfasts later in the week. We’re also notorious for grazing on a batch of pancakes all day, so it could technically be a way to get out of making lunch too.
By the time Hump Day comes, oatmeal doesn’t sound as appetizing anymore so it’s time to switch it up. The goal of Wednesday’s breakfast was to infuse protein and use up leftovers potatoes… because none of us really like potatoes leftover yet we never eat them all at dinner. Making a frittata allows time outside of the kitchen and using up kale from dinner is a bonus. If by chance there’s none left, scrambled eggs will work just as well.
Thursday & Friday
Muffins or a Breakfast bread on Thursday is just plain fun. Banana chocolate chip muffins have oat flour (sneaky sneaky) and both the kids AND the husband LOVE them. Plus we never finish a whole batch in one day, so it gives me a break from breakfast duty on Friday too, where a leftover buffet is purposely planned to not waste any food created earlier in the week. It also give the kids “free reign” on their choice of breakfast – from pancakes to frittata to muffins. They think they have control, yet Mommy is secretly nourishing their growing bodies.
With Saturday comes a bit more free time, so my husband joins me in the kitchen and we cook together while chatting over coffee. It doesn’t have to be complicated – bacon and biscuits are as easy as they come – but using nitrate-free bacon and homemade biscuits cuts out the majority of the icky processed food factor. Plus going homemade allows me to put butter inside the biscuits, as well as on top.
How to Read the Bi-Weekly Meal Plans
- This plan is based on the average family of four, uses one whole chicken and one pound of your choice of beef or pork. Change portion recommendations and choice of meat as necessary.
- Read the entire meal plan before jumping in. Adjustments may have to be made based on your own schedule and preferences.
- When our plan may conflict with your plan, alternative ideas are provided in brackets.
- Preparation tips are in italics below the meal.
- Pay attention to Money Savers, Time Savers and Freezer Options. These will help you greatly in executing this plan and in your kitchen overall.
WEEKLY DESSERT: White Bean Blondies
- make a triple batch of oatmeal the night before to cover breakfast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
- make a batch of Rosemary Olive Oil bread for lunches and dinner on Tuesday
- Money Saver: Buy one whole chicken and butcher it yourself. Make batch of homemade chicken stock with the bones and pick chicken off the bones when it’s done. Reserve shredded chicken for next week.
(B) Second Day Overnight Soaked Oatmeal and Fresh Seasonal Fruit
(D) Baked Chicken, Baked Peppers Stuffed with Feta-Walnut Dip, Wilted Kale with Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms
- use two chicken thighs and two drumsticks
- make extra kale and reserve for breakfast on Wednesday
- Time Saver: Starting the chicken first and completing everything else while the chicken is baking will make everything ready at the same time.
- use leftover oatmeal in place of the flour in the pancake recipe, adjusting quantities of other ingredients based on the amount of oatmeal you have left. Do not hesitate to make a double or even triple batch of pancakes – you can save some for Friday, or freeze for later!
- roast one extra potato for breakfast on Wednesday
- Time Saver: While chopping carrots, dice 1-2 cups for soup on Thursday and salad on Saturday.
- use leftover kale and veggies from Monday, plus any other vegetables leftover from Tuesday as the base of the frittata
- dice up the extra potatoes from Tuesday and fry on the stove (choose your fat wisely!)
- reserve half the dinner rolls for dinner on Thursday
- Time Saver: Frittata can be baked in an 8×8 glass dish the night before and reheated for a fast breakfast.
- Time Saver: Soup can be prepared in a slow-cooker in the morning, cooking 7-8 hours on low.
- Time Saver: Muffins can be prepared the night before for a fast breakfast.
- Freezer Option: Make a double batch of muffins and freeze half, unbaked, for future breakfasts. Muffins can go from freezer to pre-heated oven with an additional 5-10 minutes of baking time.
(B) Leftover Buffet from Previous Breakfasts
(D) Pizza Night [or replace with your own fun family tradition]
(B) Bacon & Biscuits with Fresh Seasonal Fruit
(D) Lemon Caper Chicken with Wild Rice, Garden Salad
- use one chicken breast and one tender, or substitute fresh wild-caught fish
- after breakfast, being soaking a triple batch of oatmeal for Sunday
- make a double batch of salad, reserving half for dinner on Monday
- Time Saver: Make French bread for Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
(B) Second Day Overnight Soaked Oatmeal and Fresh Seasonal Fruit
(D) Italian Beef Sandwiches on Whole Grain French Bread, Roasted Potato Wedges and Garden Salad
- Time Saver: Use a slow-cooker to cook beef, cooking 7-8 hours on low.
- use leftover oatmeal in place of the flour in the waffle recipe, adjusting quantities of other ingredients based on the amount of oatmeal you have left. Do not hesitate to make a double or even triple batch of waffles – you can save some for Friday, or freeze for later!
- if making tortillas, make a double batch and reserve half for dinner on Friday
(B) Chickpea & Rosemary Frittata and Fresh Seasonal Fruit
(D) Leftovers – Clean Out the Fridge!
- Time Saver: Frittata can be baked in an 8×8 glass dish ahead of time and reheated for a fast breakfast.
- Time Saver: Bread can be prepared the night before for a fast breakfast.
- Freezer Option: Make a double batch of bread and freeze baked loaves for future meals.
- use one cup of shredded chicken
- use remaining French bread for the casserole
- use one chicken breast and tender
- soak a triple batch of oatmeal for Sunday
If you’re stuck on what to plan for breakfast, Plan to Eat allows users to share their recipes with each other. Borrow from a friend or link-in recipes you stumble across online. Plan to Eat will keep it all in one handy dandy on-line location for you, so you can pull up what you’ve planned even if you forget while grocery shopping. The giveaway to a free one-year subscription is over, but the discount code for 30% off a subscription is valid through March 31. Enter NoCrumbWasted when checking out and use this amazing meal planning tool for less than a cup of coffee!
How do you plan for breakfast?
Disclaimer: Plan to Eat sponsored this post.