Whether you’re sending a little one off to school, or just looking to save some time and money as life shifts back into full gear this fall, these tips and recipes will help you stay happy, healthy, and stress-free in the upcoming months. From quick, energizing breakfast ideas to perfect packed lunches to easy family dinners, we’ve got you covered! So sit back, relax, and know that while life may get a bit more hectic as the weather turns cold, at least mealtime doesn’t have to.
First thing’s first: breakfast. We hear it all the time, but it’s true: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. In fact, studies have shown that children who regularly eat breakfast have higher IQ scores than those who skip this meal. Unfortunately when we’re in the midst of the inevitable early-morning mad dash, we often compromise this important meal. Here are some tips and recipes to make sure you’re getting the most out of your breakfast (even when you’re in a rush!).
- Lay things out the night before. Even just setting out plates and utensils the night before can make a difference when it’s 6am and your brain isn’t fully activated yet.
- Always keep a supply of healthy on-the-go options available for those mornings you find yourself rushing out the door without a minute to spare. Breakfast bars, granola, yogurt cups, hearty muffins, and protein-rich smoothies are all great options (see recipes below!).
- Prep ahead of time. Dedicate a Sunday afternoon to preparing several large, wholesome breakfast dishes–quiches, stratas, even breakfast burritos and pancakes!–to get you through the week (or the entire month, if you’re ambitious!).
- Utilize your freezer. Your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to prolonging the life of those make-ahead meals. Many casserole-style breakfast dishes freeze quite well, but my personal favorite freezer-friendly breakfast is the good old smoothie. Make a big batch of protein-rich smoothies, then portion them out into mason jars or travel cups, and pop a few in the freezer for future use.
1. Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars: Forget store-bought granola bars, which are often packed with sugar and additives. Here’s a perfect grab-and-go option that’s wholesome, perfectly sweet, and super easy to make on your own.
2. Blueberry Oat Muffins: These heart-healthy muffins are so moist and delicious, you’ll think you’re getting away with something.
3. Spinach, Kiwi & Chia Seed Smoothie: Don’t let the green color fool you. Sweet, tart kiwi fruit and creamy banana mask the flavor of the spinach (which adds a great nutritional boost!).
4. Strawberry-Banana Quinoa Smoothie: Cooked quinoa adds body and protein to this classic smoothie (and you’ll never know it’s there!)
5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie: Ok this one legitimately tastes like dessert. Kids love it. I love it. You’re going to love it. (It’s actually really healthy I promise.)
6. Baked Blueberry Oatmeal: Avoid the mess and hassle of homemade oatmeal in the morning. Make this freezer-friendly bake ahead of time and you’ll have creamy, satisfying oatmeal ready in seconds.
7. Almond Pancakes with Sour Cherry Syrup: A great family-friendly breakfast. Whip up a batch ahead of time and reheat in the microwave or on the stove over a low heat. The sour cherry syrup can also be made up to a week ahead.
8. Corn Meal and Oat Waffle Mix: Keep this dry mix on hand for speedy homemade waffles that are super satisfying.
9. Spinach, Mushroom & Feta Crustless Quiche: This has been my go-to crustless quiche recipe for years. It’s high-protein, totally customizable, and lasts in the refrigerator for over a week. You could easily freeze it, too!
10. Make-Ahead Omelets: Make a batch of these over the weekend then pop in the microwave for a beyond-easy weekday breakfast.
11. Freezer-To-Microwave Breakfast Burritos: Another great make-ahead recipe (that also happens to be very budget friendly!). Feel free to mix up the fillings to suit your tastes!
Is the stress subsiding yet? Maybe a little? Well we’re not done yet: next week we’ll be covering back-to-school lunches, including lunchbox tips, fun and filling recipes, and time-saving prep ideas. Until then, happy cooking!