If your family is stuck in a dry-cereal rut but you don't have time to cook in the morning, take a look in your refrigerator for some breakfast alternatives. Think outside the usual breakfast fare to turn leftovers and everyday items in your fridge or pantry into a quick morning meal. Accompanied by milk or juice and a piece of fruit, your nontraditional breakfast will be balanced, satisfying and a good start to the day.
Yogurt mixes with fruit, cereals and nuts for a cool, quick breakfast. Whip up smoothies in the blender, combining frozen fruit, low-fat milk and non-fat yogurt. For a kid-friendly smoothie, try a strawberry and banana combination. Top dry cereal with yogurt instead of milk, or mix a spoonful or two of cereal into a container of yogurt. Chop walnuts, almonds or cashews and stir them into yogurt for added protein. Add fresh fruit to plain yogurt, mix in a little honey or sugar substitute, and enjoy.
Leftovers and Sandwiches
Although they might not be your first thought when you're preparing breakfast, leftovers and sandwiches can be quick and easy alternatives to your usual morning meal choices. If you have a bowl of spaghetti in your refrigerator and your kids love to eat it cold, dish it up for breakfast. Make several kinds of sandwiches, cut them into quarters and let everyone choose their favorites, or use last night's roast beef, sliced and served on Kaiser rolls with creamy dressing. Serve that fruit salad you made for lunch yesterday with leftover biscuits or dinner rolls, stuffed with cheddar cheese. Perk up the fruit salad's taste by mixing in a creamy salad dressing.
Oatmeal and Cookies
If instant oatmeal doesn't appeal to you, mix rolled oats with milk and flavoring extract and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, top the mixture with chopped nuts and sliced apricots, peaches or other fruit. Serve it cold, or warm it in the microwave. It will take just a bit more time to prepare no-bake breakfast cookies, but not much. Combine melted peanut butter and honey with crushed cereal flakes, dried fruit and nuts. Drop it onto waxed paper by the spoonful and refrigerate it for the next day's breakfast. They'll be ready to grab as you rush your kids off to school.
Roll up some wraps for breakfast. Start with 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed in the toaster oven or cold. Spread them with cream cheese and strawberry jam, or add fresh sliced strawberries. Try another taste by spooning low-fat cottage cheese into the wraps, then adding drained pineapple tidbits. Experiment with other combinations, such as peanut butter and sliced bananas, a few drops of maple syrup and chopped walnuts, mashed bananas and walnuts, or orange marmalade and drained mandarin orange sections. For a simple combination kids enjoy, spread a thin layer of creamy dressing on the tortilla and add some sliced cheese.
Margaret Morris has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a celebrant certificate from the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. Morris writes for various websites and private clients.