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The hurdles of serving a healthy breakfast
Trying to juggle everyone’s busy schedules each morning, while serving a well-rounded breakfast, can feel almost impossible these days. We recently got an email from a reader struggling to come up with ways to serve a nourishing breakfast:
"My biggest challenge is preparing a healthy breakfast while trying to get my kids ready for school, take care of our dog and get everyone out the door on time (without forgetting a lunchbox, backpack or briefcase). Both my husband and I work, so we're always tight on time. Cereal is our breakfast staple most days..."
We can relate to the feeling and have struggled with breakfast in the past too. We want to share the solid plan of action that has allowed us to feed our family a nutritious breakfast each morning, without stress or spending crazy amounts of time in the kitchen.
A rotational menu is one of the best ways to simplify meal planning and set yourself up for healthy eating success!
So, what exactly is a rotational menu? It's simply a list of a few EASY real-food ideas or recipes that you can rotate through. By creating a rotational breakfast menu, there's no need to come up with an entirely NEW menu each week.
My (Kalie's) current list has about six breakfast ideas on it (shared below). Each week, I choose two of the breakfast ideas from this list and alternate them throughout the week.
Here’s what this looks like in our home: One week I serve egg casserole and pancakes (pre-made and pulled from the freezer) for breakfast. The next week, the menu switches to smoothies and baked oatmeal. The following week, breakfast quesadillas (also from the freezer) and yogurt with granola. I mix-and-match and repeat, repeat, repeat!
No one gets sick of the same old thing and I’m not spending hours scouring the Internet for new ideas. I reserve weekends for more creative, time-consuming breakfast ideas (not found on my rotational menu).
Being able to prep ahead and freeze your breakfast staples further simplifies the morning struggle. Below are five tried-and-true, freezer-friendly ideas that show up on our rotational breakfast menu and can easily be added to yours.
If you have a high-powered blender at home, smoothies are a great way to pack A TON of nutrients into one convenient meal. To save time throughout the week, you can prep your smoothies in advance by making "smoothie bags." When it's difficult to find time for a healthy breakfast, you'll be able to pull out a smoothie bag, prepare and clean up this tasty treat in less than 5 minutes!
How to make smoothie packs for the freezer
When you make a freezer pack, you’ll want to add all the ingredients (minus milk or almond milk) into a baggie. If you’re doing different flavors, write the flavor combo on the outside of the bag with a sharpie. In the morning all you have to do is grab one from the freezer, dump the ingredients in your blender, add your liquid of choice and blend it. Pour the smoothie into everyone’s thermoses and sip on them in the car!
If you’re building your smoothie packs from scratch, follow this general ratio
- 1 cup frozen fruit (we often include a piece of banana in our fruit mix because it creates a thick, creamy consistency)
- 1 cup greens (or 1/2 cup greens and ½ cup frozen veggies)
- Optional: 1–2 probiotic cubes (kefir or yogurt frozen in an ice cube tray)
- When blending: 1–1 & ½ cups liquid (or whatever amount necessary to reach the consistency you love) + any dry ingredients, like nuts, seeds, cacao powder
Get your family involved
Make it a fun rainy-day activity that your family can help with. Brainstorm fun flavor combos together and have them help portion out the baggies.
Take it one step further
Looking for a simple, proven system that makes healthy eating effortless for years to come? Check out The Ultimate Smoothie Guide.
Out of every prep-ahead breakfast, this is by far the one I make the most! It’s simple, picky-eater approved and because any combination of veggies can be used, the options are endless. I can promise you, your family will never get bored!
I've made it so many times (yes, it's THAT GOOD!!), that I don’t even measure out the protein or veggies anymore. Depending on what veggies or meat I have in the refrigerator (sometimes fresh, sometimes leftovers from the night before), I simply toss a few handfuls in.
Here's the recipe I use
Whenever I make this dish, I prepare two pans. I already have the ingredients out and the dishes are dirty, so it requires next-to-no additional time to make. I slice one pan of the egg casserole and freeze the slices individually for future meals. I put the other pan in the fridge for everyone to eat from throughout the upcoming week.
This is one I often prep ahead on a Saturday or Sunday and freeze for future meals (it takes 30 minutes or so).
I love, love, love these for a grab-and-go meal. I’ll snag one from the freezer and heat it for a simple breakfast or take one to work with an avocado and eat it for lunch. It's the perfect combo of protein, fat and fiber and will keep you satisfied and full for hours!
Crack 2 dozen eggs into a huge pan and scramble them. When the eggs are almost set, fold in a few heaping spoonfuls of salsa and ½ cup cheese (adjust ratio to your liking). Continue to cook until eggs are completely set. Remove eggs from heat and allow them to cool slightly (it helps prevent the tortilla from getting soggy).
While eggs are cooling, tear off squares of aluminum foil for each quesadilla you're making. Place a tortilla on top of each piece of foil. Evenly divide the eggs among the tortillas, covering only half the tortilla. Allow the eggs to cool completely before tightly wrapping aluminum foil around each quesadilla. Place wrapped quesadillas in a large freezer bag, remove excess air from bag and seal. Label your bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
Picky eaters at home? Try this recipe
Another great go-to is homemade whole wheat pancakes. Make a double batch anytime you get your electric griddle or waffle iron out and wrap them individually or store them in baggies or airtight containers.
When serving them, think beyond just pancakes and syrup. You can serve them hot or cold, for breakfast or packed for lunch (they’re actually really, perfect cold)!
A few ways to serve or pack your pancakes
- With peanut butter and banana slices
- Topped with a little cream cheese
- Sliced into strips (served cold with a side of fresh fruit and plain yogurt that's mixed with a drizzle of maple syrup as a dipping sauce)
- As a sandwich: fresh berries and a smear of goat, cream, or cottage cheese as the filling, sandwiched between two pancakes (served hot or cold)
Baked oatmeal is a quick, easy, grab-and-go breakfast that NEVER gets old. It can easily be prepped ahead and frozen in individual slices for future meals. The fiber from the oats helps you to feel satiated and full for hours, making it the perfect breakfast when you have a hectic day ahead. The best part—it can be topped with so many components to create a new burst of flavor with each bite (blueberries, peaches, raisins, and honey just to name a few)
Take the next step
Are nutritious and time/money-saving breakfasts something you've been missing? Have you attempted to meal prep only to end up overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed? Then Meal Prep Made Easy: A Simplified Guide to Planning and Prep is a great next step!
Let's serve simple, healthy breakfasts – together!
Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!
xo, Pam & Kalie
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