Life with Lots of Littles: Breakfast


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When it comes to managing breakfast with a group of young children in the house, simplicity and routine are essential.

Simplicity

Mess is not something that will make any mother well prepared to tackle the long day ahead, so a fancy breakfast requiring prep work is not something I feel I can take on during the week.  I save elaborate breakfasts for the weekend.  I also try to make breakfast healthy by avoiding the sugary breakfast cereals I grew up eating morning after morning.  Finally, I eliminate bickering and arguing by requiring everyone to eat the same thing each day.  So, what do we eat?

  • plain Greek yogurt topped with cereal.  I switched to Greek yogurt when my oldest was a baby because it sticks to the spoon much better than regular yogurt.  This means less stress for the child trying to get food to his or her mouth, and less mess for Mommy to clean.  The economy bags of sweetened flakes that you can find at a grocery store are what we use for cereal.  This has plenty of sugar, but certainly not as much as the more popular name brands.  When added to a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, I do not worry about the sugar intake.  I do mix the bowl before serving, but my kids are learning to mix their own when they receive refills.
  • flavored Greek yogurt.  My children love black cherry and honey, and they receive one of them once a week because it is our most expensive weekday breakfast.  This is our easiest breakfast to prepare – I do not even have to mix anything – I just scoop some into a bowl, and that’s it!
  • French toast.  Eggs, milk, cinnamon, and wheat bread.  I do sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on top before serving, but no syrup is added; spatula cuts the bread in 4 strips for babies/toddlers or halves for older kids.  This is pretty simple and quick to prepare, not to mention, cheap.  Plus, at age 2, our youngest no longer even need bibs for this.
  • Oatmeal.  Plain old oats, boiled with water and another ingredient for flavor (brown sugar or fruit, thawed and sliced).  After it cooks for a few minutes, I add milk for protein and to help it cool down quickly.  This breakfast is more popular during the colder months.
  • Waffles.  These are served once a week, toasted.  No butter or syrup is used; waffles are sweet enough on their own!
  • Sausage and eggs.  When Dad is around on the weekends to help with the kids, more complicated breakfasts appear.  We usually have scrambled eggs, sausage links, and wheat bread (toasted and topped with butter and cinnamon sugar) every Saturday.  The eggs are fried in the pan the sausage cooked in, for flavor.  Now that our oldest are 4 and 5 years old, they take turns helping Mommy with breaking and mixing eggs, then adding the milk.  Our oldest is learning to use a spatula to cook the eggs in the pan.
  • Pancakes and bacon.  Daddy has become a pro at making special pancakes with this pan, so over the past year, Sunday breakfast has fallen into his domain.  This is the only breakfast of the week that my children receive fruit juice (but I do add a scoop of Superfood to the pitcher).  They also receive bacon, baked in the oven on parchment paper to lower the mess.  This is also the only breakfast of the week that my children get to use one of those plastic children’s plates with artwork on them (cute but hard to clean); they call them their Sunday plates.
  • Muffins and bagels.  Occasionally we will serve these on a special day, such as a feast day, holiday, or birthday.  I do not offer them routinely because of the cost and sugar.

I will also note that my children drink milk with every breakfast except Sunday.

Routine

Having a breakfast routine keeps me from having to come up with new ideas every morning.  It also keeps my children from arguing with me over what they want to eat.  My kids know our routine and look forward to certain days when they know they will get one of their favorites.  Every morning, at least one child will ask me what day of the week it is because that now tells them what they will soon be eating for breakfast.  Anyway, our routine has evolved to:

  • Sundays: pancakes and bacon with fruit juice.  Eventually, I plan to add fresh fruit as well.
  • Mondays: plain yogurt topped with cereal
  • Tuesdays: either yogurt again, or oatmeal during the cooler months
  • Wednesdays: Waffle Wednesday!
  • Thursday: yogurt or oatmeal
  • Friday: French toast Friday!
  • Saturday: sausage, eggs, and toast

May God bless you and your family!