I generally refer to mornings in our house as a military operation! Time is precious and to get everyone clothed, cleaned, fed and out of the house on time, it requires a Sargent Major- me! Cereal is therefore the obvious breakfast choice for speed and ease but, it doesn’t help that lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed with our general sugar intake and been quite shocked at the amount of it in cereal, that I had assumed to be low in sugar. I have only ever bought ‘pops’ (Rice Krispies), cornflakes, Weetabix (the plain one) and Ready Brek, with hoops (Cherrios) sneaking in more recently- the multigrains must be healthy!! Well, since comparing the labels, the hoops have now been deemed a weekend only brekkie and with pops and flakes leaving them hungry and wanting a second bowl (equalling too much sugar), we only have Weetabix and Ready Brek left! Boring!!!! So I’ve been on a mission to discover quick, tasty, filling breakfast alternatives using only natural sugars.
Pimp my Porridge!
I’ve just discovered frozen fruit! It’s cheap, quick to use and keeps (in the freezer!) well. You can just use a little at a time without wasting with large fruits like pineapple, melon and mango, which are generally quite expensive when bought fresh. Also, frozen berries are much cheaper too and again, if you only shop once a week, these keep much longer than fresh:
Put 1/2 cup of porridge oats in a microwaveable breakfast bowl
Add 3/4 cup of milk or water (water for me and milk for the kids)
Add a handful of frozen fruit – mixed berries are my favourite!
Microwave on full power for 2 minutes (time may vary)
Serve with a swirl of honey to taste
If using fresh fruit, add at the end of cooking, except banana which is delicious added to the bowl first (it can go a bit dry during cooking if it’s on the top). Dry fruits also work with this brekkie, the Boy’s favourite is raisin and honey but we’ve also tried apricots and figs that do need chopping up a bit. Stewed apples (I stew without sugar and add honey to taste, if necessary) or pears are also a great topping for porridge, when the kids were younger, I was stewing fruit all the time- it doesn’t just have to be for the baby! All of these toppings go well with Weetabix too, but we like ours plain! If you want to use Readybrek instead of porridge oats, it requires little cooking time so you may need to defrost frozen fruit in the microwave first, then add the Ready Brek and milk before heating for 30 seconds- 1 minute.
Natural Yogurt Muesli Mix
A favourite of Lou’s, this is really simple and a little more summery. Simply break/ cut up a banana in a bowl, add 2-3 dollops of natural, unsweetened yogurt, top with a desert spoon each of oats, seeds/ nuts and dried fruit and finally a swirl of honey or maple syrup. We sometimes flavour the yogurt with stewed fruit or defrosted berries (if they have been frozen, they are oozing juice which goes really well with the yogurt), K substitutes banana for apple/ pear or omits it altogether (I think I overdosed her on banana as a baby!!).
When they insist on eating a bowl of pops or flakes and then complain they are still hungry, we go with a smoothie top-up! Our best buy of 2015 was a NutriBullet, it’s fab because you can add oats, nuts and seeds which are filling and full of ‘good stuff’! Plus, I usually add spinach or kale to them, which are two of the few veg that are harder to get the kids (and the husband) to eat.
The Boy: Mum, why are smoothies always green?
Me: Well…….. It’s the new special blender…….it goes so fast, it makes everything turn green………(mentioning green leafy veg would be detrimental to the consumption of smoothie in question!)
The Boy: I love green things, if I run fast, will I turn green too?
Me: Urrrrr………no but if you drink your smoothie, it will help you run really fast (great comeback to bring the conversation back on track- I feel!)
The Boy: Ok (and drank the lot!)
Our typical NutriBullet smoothie recipes:
- Handful of spinach, banana, apple, pear, tablespoon of oats, milk (cows/ almond/ hazelnut/ any!). Add a desert spoon of cacao powder for a chocolate version!
- Handful of kale, frozen mango (no need to defrost), tablespoon of oats, tablespoon mixed seeds, milk (any) or water.
- Handful of spinach, banana, frozen blueberries, tablespoon of oats, tablespoon of almonds, milk (any) or part milk/water.
These make a large-sized smoothie to share between three. You really can try any combination, though I have found that berries with small seeds don’t work as well as other fruit as it leaves the smoothie a bit grainy.
Home Made Granola
J and I started eating shop bought granola which tastes great but the sugar content is huge. It’s so simple to make your own, it keeps really well in a sealed container and can be added to any of the above breakfasts as well as being one on its own. Simply place 5 parts oats to one part nuts (chopped roughly) and seeds on a baking tray and roast at 180C for 15 mins (stir a couple of times during cooking). Once cooked and cooled, add one part dried fruit and mix thoroughly.
What do you feed your crowd for breakfast? Is it ‘the most important meal of the day’ or do you often skip it? Have you got a quick, healthy breakfast idea that I could add to my repertoire?