Every year, over 2,500,000,000 boxes of cereal are sold! That’s enough cereal to build three great pyramids. Cereal manufacturers use an incredible 816,000,000 pounds of sugar yearly. (Source)
Of course, there are many cereals that are not heavily laden with sugar (and food coloring) but most do not compete with a fresh homemade breakfast.
Plus, the average box of cereal costs between $2 and $5… and my kids are begging for a snack about six and a half minutes after breakfast on the rare occasions I do serve cereal.
The problem is, cereal is so convenient. To paraphrase a marketing joke, “You can have it convenient, healthy, or frugal. Choose any two [or just one].”
A bowl of cereal is convenient, but it is rarely cheap or healthy.
These 12 breakfast ideas are more healthy and thrifty than most cereal. Some of them do actually meet all three criteria: convenience, health, and thrift. I arranged them roughly in order of convenience.
- Reheated Rice, Barley, or other whole Grain (2 minutes): Any time I serve rice for dinner, my children make sure we save enough for them to have leftovers for breakfast. This makes for a frugal and convenient breakfast. Just heat leftover brown (or white) rice, barley, quinoa, or other grain. Top with maple syrup or cinnamon sugar and fresh milk.
- Homemade Granola with Yogurt (2 minutes, once made): A great way to get more yogurt! Once the yogurt and granola are made, this breakfast takes just a minute to serve. (See Amy’s great tip for speeding up the granola prep!)
- Sliced Banana with Milk and Toast (5 minutes) Another of my kids’ favorite breakfasts: slice bananas and serve with milk (and brown sugar/maple syrup if desired.) Whole grain toast on the side helps make it filling.
- Yogurt Shakes (5 minutes): I make homemade yogurt on a regular basis. It’s easy to make and so full of beneficial bacteria. We eat it in some form multiple times a week: shakes is one of my favorite. Just blend yogurt, frozen fruit, juice/honey to sweeten, and a handful of spinach or other greens, if desired. (I added spinach recently and my 2-year-old was convinced I’d added green sprinkles.)
- Energy Bites (10-20 minutes to make/ 10 seconds once chilled): A yummy mix of protein, healthy fats, flaxseed, and chocolate, these energy bites make an equally delicious breakfast or snack. Once chilled, they’re even faster than cereal and so much healthier (and more filling!)
- Eppli Cakka (10 minutes): This delicious breakfast is a family favorite. Layer applesauce, granola, and freshly chopped apples (if desired). Top with whipped cream. Based on a Scandinavian dessert, eppli cakka makes a light and healthy summer breakfast. (View picture here.)
- Egg Omelet (10 minutes): A great way to use up vegetables. Fry onions, olives, peppers, etc. in a bit of butter or coconut oil before adding eggs.
- Breakfast Burritos (15 minutes to make, 2 to reheat): Healthy, filling, and easy to make ahead. Just fill tortilla shells with scrambled eggs and your choice of hash browns, sautéed vegetables, sausage, bacon, cheese, etc. Serve fresh or wrap tightly and flash freeze. Then store well-sealed until ready to thaw and heat. (Homemade tortillas are delicious, but don’t freeze quite as well.)
- French Toast (15 minutes): This is a great way to rescue bread before it gets stale! As a commenter pointed out, not all french toast is healthy. I use homemade bread, dip it in eggs and milk, and fry. Once it’s golden, I top it with butter and real maple syrup.
- Whole Grain Muffins (20 minutes fresh/2 minutes reheated): Homemade muffins are a great way to start off the day with whole grains (yummiest and healthiest freshly ground!) These whole grain applesauce muffins and pumpkin/sweet potato muffins freeze very well. I usually serve them with homemade yogurt.
- Breakfast Casserole (Varies widely!)
- Whole Grain Pancakes or Waffles (30 minutes) They may be more work, but I’m sure to get lots of hugs and kisses on the mornings I make waffles or pancakes. Plus, it’s so easy to use a variety of fresh grains in pancakes (like these grain-free buckwheat pancakes). We usually alternate pancakes and waffles for our Saturday morning breakfast.
What are your favorite breakfasts?
Linked up at Teach Me Tuesdays, Titus 2sdays, Living Green, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thankful Homemaker, Homemaking Linkup, Women Living Well, Works for Me, & Simple Lives
[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]