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Credit: From Top Left to Top Right: Veggies Don't Bite, Sweet Life, Kids Eat in Color; From Bottom Left to Bottom Right: Joe Lingeman, The Gracious Pantry, Ghazalle Badiozamani

These 12 Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas Will Save Your Mornings

published Aug 18, 2021
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If your weekday mornings include everyone sitting down for a freshly made hot breakfast, please share your secrets. But, for many parents, the hour or so before school looks more like a frenzied scene of trying to get everyone’s teeth brushed and bags packed and shoes found and heads screwed on straight before running out the door just in time for the school bus. And what about that breakfast? Yeah, we’re talking about a granola bar or muffin somewhere in between the mayhem. 

But it really doesn’t have to be this way. (Well, at least the breakfast part.) Making a breakfast recipe ahead of time that you can eat all week long takes one thing off everyone’s plates (no pun intended) and can make your mornings feel just a little more manageable. “Life is hectic. Make-ahead meals are GREAT ways for busy parents to get a well-balanced meal on the table when there is little time — especially in the mornings when we are trying to get out the door,” adds Jennifer Anderson, RD, a mom and founder of Kids Eat in Color

Here are 12 recipes that some of our favorite cookbook authors and food bloggers — who are, of course, also parents — swear by. Cook through them over the next few weeks, and you won’t be sorry! 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

It doesn’t get much better than a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Oh, wait, it actually might get better: A bacon egg and cheese hand pie. These babies pack all the classic breakfast sandwich ingredients between flaky, buttery puff pastry. This breakfast option is not only super crave-worthy, you can also store them in your fridge and reheat or freeze them individually for up to three months. Plus, they’re totally portable! 

Oatmeal is definitely a classic breakfast choice, but this peach oatmeal bake really takes it up a notch. Make it ahead of time and then just warm up a serving size in the microwave as you need it, and plop it over some yogurt (the yogurt can even be right in the plastic container it comes in, no judgement here). “Our family loves this recipe because it’s a change-up from other favorites like toast, eggs, and smoothies,” says Anderson. “Anytime we can include something new, it’s a treat.” This oatmeal recipe is also the perfect mix of energy foods (oats), protein foods (yogurt), and color (peaches), so it’ll keep your kids fueled up until their next chance to eat.

Homemade waffles have lazy Sunday morning written all over them. Next time you whip up a batch on the weekend, double it and save half in the freezer for weekday mornings. “A simple toast in the toaster takes them from frozen to ready-to-eat, and the topping combinations are so vast, nobody will get sick of having the same thing over and over again,” explains Tiffany McCauley, a mom and blogger at The Gracious Pantry, of one of her favorite family breakfast options. Bonus: Try putting two waffles together like a sandwich with drip-free toppings in the middle and this meal becomes portable, too. 

Credit: Sweet Life

If you want a make-ahead breakfast that will double as a delicious way to persuade your kids (and, let’s be honest, yourself) to get out of bed …. This breakfast enchilada recipe from mom Vianney Rodriguez, author of The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals, is it. Cook up the mix of black beans, scrambled eggs, queso fresco and more ahead of time and then just reheat as you’re ready to eat each enchilada in the morning. “I love this recipe because I can plan ahead on the weekend, they store perfectly in the fridge and I can easily heat them in the morning,” adds Rodriquez. “Having breakfast ready to go is one less thing to worry about and leftovers can easily double as lunch.” 

Alice Choi of Hip Foodie Mom has two words for you: Tater tots. They’re delicious, they’re easy to make, and they’re the key to her Baked Egg Tater Tot Muffin recipe. To make this recipe, Choi layers up tater tots, cheese, veggies, deli meat, and eggs in a muffin pan and then bakes them. They can then be popped out, frozen, and reheated as needed. The only problem? “Truth be told, when I make these, they rarely make it to the freezer because my family gobbles them up,” Choi laughs. 

We love a smoothie for breakfast, but if your kids need something a little more substantial to get them through to lunch, a smoothie bowl is a great option. That’s because it’s easier to make it more filling: The smoothie portion can be thicker since you’re eating it with a spoon, and it can be piled high with healthy toppings. Sophia DeSantis, mom and founder of Veggies Don’t Bite, explains that while you can’t totally make a smoothie bowl ahead (it’ll melt!) what you can do is prep your ingredients ahead and store them together so all you have to do is dump them in the morning. Gather up a variety of toppings — nuts, fruit, seeds, nut butter, shredded coconut, etc. — and you’ll be basically ready to go the next morning. “My kids love this recipe because it’s customizable, so everyone can make them their own with toppings,” adds DeSantis. 

Ok, before you keep scrolling … hear us out: “I know it sounds odd, but I love to do make-ahead crepes,” says Sally Kuzemchak, RD, mom and author at Real Mom Nutrition. “They feel very special and fancy but the batter is made in the blender and they reheat in seconds in a skillet.” Another bonus is that Kuzemchak’s Whole Wheat Crepes go perfectly with lots of fruit toppings, so kids will get that healthy fruit energy burst first thing in the morning. (And, OK, they’re good with Nutella too.)  

Yes, more oatmeal. But this breakfast star definitely deserves all the love it gets. And Iowa Girl Eat’s blogger and mom Kristin Porter’s Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are both make-ahead and portable. “My favorite make-ahead breakfast that my kids absolutely adore are oatmeal breakfast bars,” Porter explains. “They’re essentially a healthy bowl of oatmeal in baked bar form, are naturally sweetened, and food allergy friendly, too. I make a big pan on Sundays, then keep in the refrigerator to slice and serve for breakfast with a glass of almond milk.” They’re also super customizable to your kiddo’s tastes: Porter has ideas for versions made with apple cinnamon, maple pumpkin, and more. 

Sometimes what we all need in the morning is a really good burst of high-quality protein. And mom Alyssa Brantley of Everyday Maven is here for that with her homemade Maple Spiced Breakfast Sausage recipe, which she loves to reheat from the freezer and serve with a piece of toast and some fruit. “Takes all of about 5 minutes! Plus, you can modify the sausage recipe to whatever ground meat you want to use — it works well with ground pork, turkey, or chicken,” Brantley adds. 

Credit: Rachel Cooks

These triple chocolate banana muffins are so popular in mom and founder of Rachel Cooks Rachel Gurk’s home, her 10-year-old daughter can even make them herself. “My kids think they’re a treat but they’re made with whole wheat flour and less oil and sugar than bakery muffins,” says Gurk. “They’re a win-win!”  

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

A delicious frittata is a great way to pack your kiddos with lots of nutrients — Protein! Veggies! Calcium! — before they head out the door for the day. They’re also the perfect thing to make ahead because not only can you stick individual slices in the fridge to eat all week, it can even be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. (Plus, you can totally add them to a lunchbox with some fruit for an easy meal.)

Warning: Once you make homemade granola, you may never go back to the store bought version. At least it’s super easy to make … and super delicious to boot. Mix together a big batch with your kids one weekend — it lasts up to a month in an airtight container — and then let them serve themselves before school. (You could even make an easy breakfast bar set-up on the counter.) Just be sure to have lots of fresh fruit and yogurt on hand to pair it with.