Save your time and sanity with these (real food) make-ahead breakfasts!
I love breakfast foods, but I hate making breakfast. In the morning, anyway. When I am tired and groggy and just waking up, I definitely do not feel like jumping into the kitchen and getting to work. Plus, mornings are crazy enough most days. I don’t want to spend that precious time making breakfast every morning.
But I also know that breakfast is a very important meal. Some even say it’s THE most important meal of the day. And feeding my family healthy, wholesome food is a priority for me.
So what’s a mom to do?
Enter the oh-so-wonderful make-ahead breakfast! All the nutrition and yumminess of breakfast without the sacrifice of already-scarce time in the mornings!
In today’s post you can find 15 of our favorite real food make-ahead breakfasts. Most of them are simple and easy no matter when you choose to make them, and all of them are healthy choices for your family!
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15 (Real Food) Make-Ahead Breakfasts
Whole Wheat Waffles
Because Saturday mornings are usually more laid-back than other mornings, they are the one day during the week that I actually like to make a big breakfast. Waffles are one of my husband’s favorite breakfast foods, so that is often what I make. They’re a cinch to mix up, and sometimes I even make the batter on Friday night in my glass measuring bowl with a lid so all I have to do Saturday morning is pour it into the waffle maker. Any time I make them, I always make double for the coming week or to put in the freezer for later. So they pull double duty as a Saturday morning treat and a make-ahead breakfast!
Our favorite whole wheat waffles are from the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook.
I love egg muffins because they are versatile and extremely cost-effective. Basically it’s scrambled eggs with a variety of fillings cooked in a muffin tin. There are many different ways you can go with these using bits and pieces of whatever you have on hand, but here is one example from allrecipes.com.
Now, I will admit that these taste better fresh, but they are surprisingly good warmed up, and can even be stored in the freezer, making this a very healthy and convenient make-ahead breakfast!
Who doesn’t love a good breakfast burrito? But who wants to make them in the early hours of the morning? Here’s the solution: make them ahead of time (maybe on a night you’re having “breakfast for supper” to be even more efficient) and freeze for later! Simply assemble your burrito, wrap in tin foil or plastic wrap, and store in freezer bags. On a crazy busy morning, all you have to do is pull out the necessary number of burritos, warm them up in the microwave, and you’re good to go!
By the way, conventional tortillas are definitely not real food, so to make this number a bit healthier, use homemade tortillas (made easy with a tortilla press) or find some with 5 or less whole ingredients.
You might think I’m crazy, but oatmeal is one of my faaaavorite breakfast foods. It is highly nutritious, it can be made so many delicious ways, and there’s just something comforting about it. (Plus, for all my nursing mommas – oatmeal is a great food for boosting milk supply! *thumbs up!*)
However, I’m not really a big fan of quick oats on the stove. I don’t enjoy the texture. Here are some alternatives, and my favorite ways to prepare oatmeal ahead of time:
Soaked Oatmeal – I first learned about soaked oatmeal from livesimply.me. Not only does soaking your oats have enormous benefits for your health and digestion, but I find the taste and texture much more appealing. It takes a little forethought because you soak it overnight and cook it in the morning, but it’s well worth it! And it keeps well in the fridge and heats up beautifully, so you can make it on the weekends for busy weekday mornings!
Overnight Oats – This is my new favorite way to make oatmeal! I spend a few minutes whipping up a few batches in mason jars as part of my evening routine, screw on these handy reusable lids, pop them in the fridge and then voila! Instant breakfast in the morning. There are hundreds of different overnight oats recipes out there, but one of my personal favorites is this peanut butter one from Minimalist Baker.
Baked Oatmeal – These are super handy to whip up the night before and bake in the morning. You can even freeze them for later! I love this Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal from Kitchen Stewardship.
Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats – I had tried steel cut oats in the past and just could not do it. I didn’t like them at all. When I got my Instant Pot, I decided to give them another try, and I loved them! They were so creamy and delicious, the difference was amazing! (Just one of the many reasons I LOVE my Instant Pot!) This is the recipe I use, and I turn them into make-ahead breakfasts by doing them at night, storing in the fridge, and reheating in the morning.
In the same way as with the waffles, I make a double or triple batch on the weekend and store in the fridge or freezer to pull out on busy mornings! Here is a real food recipe that we have enjoyed – Banana Oat Blender Pancakes.
I started making these when my older son, Aidan, was a baby. He liked them so much, and they were so convenient, that I have continued to regularly stock my freezer with them. They are even easier than traditional pancakes because they’re made in one big 9×13 rectangle and quickly cut into squares. To freeze, I wrap each square in plastic wrap and store them all in a freezer bag.
This is the recipe I have used in the past. Note: it calls for all-purpose white flour. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure you could substitute whole wheat flour for a real food alternative. It may just be a bit more dense. You may want to consider using white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour for a lighter texture.
Another real food option for baked pancakes are these Oven Pancakes. (I’ve also seen them called puff pancakes, and I recently learned from my readers on Facebook that they’re also called pannekoekens or hootenanny pancakes!) Aidan and I tried them last week, and we liked them a lot! He was very amused by their “puff” coming out of the oven. We had a couple pieces, and I cut up the rest for later!
Banana Bread (or zucchini or pumpkin)
Quick breads are one of my favorite treats to make and eat for breakfast, and believe it or not, there are healthy real food options that still taste good! My favorite so far that I’ve tried is this one from 100 Days of Real Food.
Muffins are the perfect make-ahead breakfast item! They’re simple to whip up, they’re versatile, and they freeze beautifully. Plus, they’re super easy to grab and eat on-the-go — perfect for mornings that just don’t go the way you planned!
We love all kinds of muffins at our house – but a few of our favorites are blueberry, pumpkin, and banana nut. Sometimes I even make mix-and-match muffins, which is really fun for kids or family members who have very different preferences. The process is simple: mix up your favorite simple muffin batter, pour the batter into a muffin tin (I use an ice cream scoop like this one – it’s the perfect portion size for a regular muffin tin!), top with your favorite muffin add-ins!
Here are a few ideas:
- Walnuts or pecans
- Sliced strawberries
- Chocolate chips
Have you ever thought about quinoa as a breakfast food? I love it! It’s very easy to make ahead of time, it’s quite tasty cold, and it is FULL of protein! Here is a Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa that I think you’ll like if you’re a quinoa eater. And if you’ve never had quinoa before, give it a shot and tell me what you think!
I love a good smoothie in the morning, especially in the summer, but as I said earlier, I don’t usually feel like assembling one first thing in the morning. But if I prep them ahead of time, I’m much more likely to make them!
Here are two ways I prep smoothies:
- Smoothie Packs – Anytime we have bananas that are a little mushy or strawberries that are about to go bad, I cut them up, portion them into snack-size Ziploc baggies, and store them in gallon freezer bags in the freezer. Then, all I have to do is pull out the bags, dump them in the blender (I have a Ninja), add a little milk, and presto! A delicious smoothie. The nice thing about using the frozen fruit is I don’t need to add any ice! I have even started doing this with kale from our garden and spinach that we buy in bulk if it’s about to go bad. The texture definitely changes after they’ve been frozen, but it doesn’t make a lick of difference once it’s all blended together!
- Ready-Made Smoothies – If I know I’m going to make a smoothie the very next morning, I will measure my ingredients into my Nutri Ninja Cups the night before. Then all I have to do the next morning is add a few ice cubes (if I’m using them, which I often don’t), pop the cup onto my blender base and blend. It makes the process so much faster and smoother in the busy morning!
My go-to smoothie in the morning is a simple green smoothie. It’s full of protein and nutrients, and keeps me full and satisfied long into the morning! Here is my basic “recipe”:
My Green Smoothie
- 1 cup of a combination of milk and plain yogurt (experiment with the amounts until you get your desired consistency)
- 2 large handfuls of spinach or kale
- 1 Tbs of natural peanut butter (that’s just what I do – you can use regular peanut butter if you prefer)
- a dollop of honey
- a dash of chia seeds
I know, boiled eggs aren’t very exciting, but they are high in protein and very easy to make ahead of time! I love that I can make a big batch on the weekend and have them ready to eat throughout the week.
My absolute favorite way to make hard-boiled eggs is in the Instant Pot. (What is an Instant Pot?) Not only is it the fastest and most energy-efficient way to make them, it produces eggs that are easy to peel EVERY SINGLE TIME! Even fresh eggs! The secret is in the steam – it creates air pockets between the skin and the shell that make the shell slide right off.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, here is my second favorite way to make hard-boiled eggs.
I am a huge fan of granola, and it is soooo much more cost-effective (not to mention healthy and tasty!) to make your own at home. It’s really not hard at all, and you can make a big batch on the weekend that will last you long into the week. Eat it on fruit, with yogurt, in a smoothie, or even just with milk … or by itself!
Here is my favorite granola recipe:
Maple Pecan Granola
- 4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cups nuts – You can use any combination you want! My favorites are pecans and cashews, but you can use walnuts, almonds, or peanuts, if you prefer
- 1/2 cup flax meal
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Optional addition ideas: sunflower seeds, pepitas, coconut, dried cranberries (add after baking)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix oats, nuts, flax meal, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Stir cocount oil, maple syrup, and salt together in a small bowl, then pour over the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly.
- Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Do your mornings get a little crazy like ours do? I’m guessing they do! I have found that the more I can do ahead of time, the smoother our mornings run, and the less tired I am by the time I get to work. And a big part of prepping for morning includes making sure breakfast is ready to go.
Breakfast is a very important meal, especially for your growing kiddos! And it’s not one that should be skipped or shortchanged. So if feeding your family nutritious, wholesome foods is important to you, but you don’t have the time or the energy to spend on it in the morning, try these make-ahead breakfasts! Your family will love them, and you will love the more relaxed morning!
You Might Also Enjoy:
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- How I Made 11 Freezer Meals in Only 2 Hours!
- How I Made Over My Evenings (and Restored Balance to My Life)
- 15 Highly-Nutritious Baby Foods You Haven’t Thought To Try