Easy Breakfast Ideas: From Scratch, With Real Food

Easy Breakfast Ideas: From Scratch, With Real Food

bowl of fruit

Written by Anne Elliott, Contributing Writer

As my family increased in size, I started trying to figure out more inexpensive ideas for breakfast. It had nothing to do with health back then. Later I found out that making breakfast at home was also one of the easiest and most influential things we could do to improve our health.

But making breakfast from scratch, from non-processed foods, can be really intimidating at first. If a woman is also battling chronic health problems, she might fear that she’ll never have the energy to make anything in her own kitchen.

Let me show you how easy breakfast can be!

1. Think about what you already like for breakfast.

I could share my own recipes, but you might not share my tastes. For instance, we make soaked oatmeal in our crockpot several times a week, varying the “fix-in’s” that we stir in each morning. However, a friend of mine tried it at her house. “Yuck, Anne… it’s so slimy!” Honestly, it’s just a matter of comfort food, isn’t it? So what sounds good to you? Make a list.

Oatmeal is so easy to make with a crockpot! We have a large family, but I place 4 cups oatmeal, 8 cups filtered water, a dash of celtic sea salt, and a spoonful of yogurt into my crockpot. I bought a timer for my crockpot, so that I can program it to turn on in the middle of the night and cook on low for three hours. It shuts off at 7 am, after which I insert 1/2 cup of butter and some “fix-in’s” like sucanat, strawberries, raisins, apples, or maple syrup. We serve it with heavy cream!

2. Almost anything “store-bought” can be made (better) at home.

If oatmeal isn’t your thing, try something else.

  • If you grew up on cold cereal, try making homemade granola.
  • If you love toast, then simply make some healthy whole-wheat bread.
  • If you need something quick, try homemade yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit.
  • If you don’t have much of an appetite, try a strawberry smoothie.
  • If you need extra nutrition, try a green smoothie.
  • If you want something savory, try salmon with fresh tomatoes, or even leftover chicken soup for breakfast!

closeup fruit smoothie

Image by realSMILEY

3. Most breakfast recipes can be started the day before — when you have more energy.

Don’t feel as if all the work has to be done early in the morning. Just like I put oatmeal in my crockpot the night before, almost every part of breakfast can be started in advance. Thinking ahead doesn’t take much time, but if you wait until you’re foggy in the morning, you’ll want to cry and reach for a box of Frosted Flakes instead.

I have a list of daily prep jobs on the side of my refrigerator, and I try to look at it around 4:00 every afternoon. At this time, I re-evaluate how hopelessly behind I am that day how realistic my schedule is going. This is my “catch-up time.” If I need help from my daughters, this is a good time to ask. I plan ahead for the next morning NOW, before the night gets going and I run out of energy.

The best thing about planning ahead, though, is that food is actually more nutritious when it’s prepared slowly. Ramiel Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, recommends soaking all grains a minimum of 16 hours before cooking them. This is another reason why 4:00 in the afternoon is the best time to make tomorrow’s breakfast.

4. Make a menu.

We’ve all heard that we should make a menu for supper, but why not make a menu for lunch, too? The only difference for me is that I plan the same breakfasts for certain days of the week, repeating this basic plan over and over again, so that I don’t really have to do too much planning each week.

My personal plan is to have

  • 2 daily stand-by’s that we repeat week after week after week. We eat these twice each week, so this takes care of 4 days. For instance, my two stand-by’s are oatmeal and cream of wheat. I might have oatmeal every Tuesday and Thursday, and cream of wheat every Wednesday and Friday. I think I could make either of these in my sleep now! They aren’t so exciting, but hey, it’s breakfast! (We usually have simple scrambled eggs these mornings also.)
  • 1 super-quick, super-easy breakfast idea. This is something that I can put on the table in 5 minutes with very little mess and very little clean up. In all honesty, this is usually the most expensive breakfast on my menu; however, it’s perfect for that inevitable crazy morning when we all need to get out the door — and fast!
  • 1 family-fun breakfast. We like making pancakes at our house… with Mickey-Mouse ears or chocolate-chip creations. My husband has Mondays off work, so this is the day we all get in the kitchen and make food together. This is the breakfast that is usually least healthy, but we have a lot of fun together. Remember planning ahead, though? You can certainly make excellent and nutritious “junk food” like pancakes.
  • 1 sabbath breakfast. I try to take one day off cooking each week. Yup! A whole day! I find that I have a lot more energy for all the other days when I take an entire 24 hours off of cooking and cleaning and dishes. The afternoon before, I like mixing up some eggs with a little cream and some sauteed onions and whatever fresh vegetables are in my refrigerator. I sprinkle some sea salt, cheddar cheese, and a dash of Frontier spice blend over the top, then I refrigerate it until the next morning. I can pop this in the oven for 45 minutes and enjoy a delicious breakfast without having to do ANY work on that day.

So in review, I am confident that you also can have consistently healthy breakfasts, made from scratch and with love in your own kitchen, even when you’re tired and busy — if you’ll just plan ahead. That’s really the key! I’m sure you can do this!

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P.S. Here are some excellent recipes you might enjoy…

What are your own easy breakfast ideas?

Image by Just a Temporary Measure

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  1. Our breakfast usually consists of muesli and toasted homemade English muffin bread. For the muesli, add 1 cup milk to 1 cups of rolled oats (I haven’t tried steel cut yet). That’s the base, you can add whatever you want to that. We add about 2 ounces of raisins, 2 ounces of honey, and an apple that is chopped fine in a food processor. We let that soak overnight in the fridge and have some in the morning with some plain yogurt and some fresh berries. You can also add nuts for some good fat. This makes about 6 servings I think, we eat it throughout the week. It seems to last fine in the fridge.

  2. this post is for me!! thank you! i really want to quit having cold cereal every morning for breakfast because it’s expensive and not the best health-wise, but making that jump is difficult to say the least. you’ve got great ideas that i think will work well for our family. i love the sabbath day breakfast idea! question… what do you do about lunch and dinner on your no cooking days? that sounds wonderful (and restful)!
    .-= Stacey´s last blog ..Surviving a Lay-off – My experience – Part 1 =-.

    1. @Stacey,
      On our sabbath, we have boring sandwiches or leftovers for lunch (or I just tell everyone to “graze” on apples, cheese, or whatever they can find without ever having an official “lunch” that day). Our dinner is usually chili (slow-cooker) in the winter and tacos in the summer. I can brown the beef really fast the day before and just throw it on the table in about 10 minutes when we’re ready to eat. I really look forward to this day!

    1. @Stacey, I just got one at Wal-Mart. Let me search for it online real quick… http://tinyurl.com/2fcqsg9 Okay, here is a page of similar ones at Amazon. I guess they’re officially called “lamp timers.” I heard about it on another blog a long time ago. It’s the best thing ever! 🙂

  3. Thanks Ann. I’ve been making a menu plan for dinner but have just recently started planning out my breakfasts as well. I need a sabbath and I think that is a great idea. Maybe I can bake my breakfast breads (like apple sauce bread, blueberry muffins) the night before my day off and then just eat those up with some fresh fruit? What I found so interesting since I started planning breakfast is how I think I’m being so boring. My family has not complained as yet, but I think I repeat oatmeal and cream of wheat so much and I only have one of each a week. Then I just get tired of eating eggs and bacon/sausage/scapple. But my hubby loves it so I’ll keep doing it. Even funnier, I grew up in household where I ate cold cereal EVERYDAY! But I’m bored with my current breakfast rotation? go figure
    .-= Keya´s last blog ..My Challenge to Eat Traditional Foods =-.

  4. I am assuming that that you make your cream of wheat from scratch. Can you tell us how you make it?

    1. @Misty Marr, You know, I don’t! I buy it in bulk from our co-op, but I do soak it overnight before cooking it. You can do the same with store-bought farina, but the kind I get is whole grain. I’m assuming I could make it from scratch with my grinder — but I’ve never done it and have been a little scared to try! 🙂

      I’m out of town at a conference, but I’ll try to remember when I get home to tell you how much water I soak it in. You’d think I’d remember these things, but I’m horrendously bad at remembering numbers in recipes. I have it posted on a 3×5 card inside my cupboard door… and I *think* I know it by heart… but since I’m gone and can’t double-check, I better wait.

      1. Your co-op has Cream of Wheat in bulk? Is it the name brand? We purchase from a co-op, I wonder if I can get it through there. What key words (item # if through unfi ) would I look for to see if it is the kind you have found? Thank you!

  5. Pastured, uncured bacon and eggs is common for breakfast around here. Sprouted waffles or pancakes, or sprouted muffins (blueberry last week, zucchini-lemon-poppy-seed this week!), breakfast burritos in sprouted tortillas… Once I let my daughter eat “ice cream” (homemade strawberry frozen yogurt) for breakfast. If I’m feeling lazy, I’ve been known to serve leftover chicken, cheese cubes, various fruit, etc. for a fast breakfast.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Making the Most of a CSA =-.

  6. Lovely ideas.. I menu plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner and like you, have my list of faves for breakfast that I keep working around.

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