Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Quest For a Filling Breakfast...For Active Boys!

I have a challenge. I have 5 growing boys who can really eat. A LOT. Especially breakfast. Increasingly, I am getting more and more complaints as we're finishing breakfast or shortly thereafter:

"Mom, I'm still hungry. What ELSE can I eat?"

I didn't get this response often until we moved a month ago. I guess if there is a downside to having lots of space to run and play after being in a small apartment with no yard for so long, it's that these boys can really work up an appetite now! All that exercise and fresh air, you know...

Right now, our breakfast rotation includes oatmeal twice a week, eggs twice a week, cold cereal twice a week, and something a little more special, usually pancakes or waffles, on Saturday. Oatmeal consistently fills them up, but they aren't especially fond of oatmeal, so I only cook it twice a week. And they complain that I make it THAT often. But, they eat it and it fills them up! On the days we have eggs, I cook 18. That's usually for just the boys and I, except for the rare occasion that Jeremy eats with us. I usually serve the eggs with some sort of bread--toast, biscuits, or lately I've started making and freezing extra pancakes/waffles on Saturday to reheat and serve with eggs the following week. On cold cereal days, they will eat several bowls each. I'd like to do fewer cold cereal days, but the boys beg for it and it is, admittedly, easy and convenient. Our cold cereal choices are usually Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, or Raisin Bran. So we're not talking total sugar-loaded fluff here, although my boys would be thrilled to live on Lucky Charms and Froot Loops--if I would let them!

We used to have a fruit smoothie with breakfast several times a week, but I have to admit I haven't been doing that since we moved. Right now, we're having milk or OJ instead. It's definitely time to start making smoothies again.

So I need to come up with a plan to fill these guys up--hopefully without breaking the bank! I have high aspirations of feeding the boys more than usual while also reducing the amount I spend on groceries--think I can do it? I do have one thing working in my favor: Groceries here are cheaper than they were in the city, and I now have the option to shop weekly and take advantage of specials and loss leaders. When we lived in the city I shopped once a month in New Jersey, then picked up a few things here and there in Manhattan--at a premium price-wise.

I'm thinking I'll try making some breakfast-y foods that can be individually frozen. Then, whoever is still hungry can pop something in the microwave, and I haven't wasted food by cooking extra for those who aren't still hungry. Unfortunately, I can't seem to think of anything but muffins or breakfast taquitos that I could individually freeze.

Any ideas?


Linda said...

Here are a few ideas -
1. French Toast is very inexpensive and quick and easy to make. It could even be frozen and popped in a toaster.

2. Another is Breakfast Pizza. You can google it. Crescent rolls, canned biscuits or pie dough spread thin in a pan. I use 2 cans of crescent rolls for a half sheet size baking pan. Top with eggs cheese, breakfast meats, etc. Very filling.

3.Yogurt parfaits - put out vanilla yogurt, granola, fruit like sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and then let the kids layer and make their own parfaits.

4. Steel cut oats (much tastier than mushy oatmeal & you can buy at great price bulk), but be sure to start night before by putting 1 part oats to 4 parts water in a pan, bring to boil and shut off heat. Let set over night. Then only needs 10-15 minutes to warm up next morning. Add chopped apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yummy. Or, pumpkin & spice, or peanut butter.

5. Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter.

Variety is the key, and I agree to get away from cold cereal as much as possible. It's so expensive.

Linda said...

Another one is Breakfast Sandwiches. Toast, English muffin, bagel or biscuit; hard fried or poached egg, slice of ham lunch meat and a slice of cheese.

Annalia said...

My sister makes a "french toast" that sits in a casserole overnight. She does it with coconut sometimes. Yummy and super easy - in that you make it the night before. (I'll see if I can get her recipe.)
Personally, I think pumpkin pie is a good breakfast food.
Also, my mom used to make 4-week bran muffins. The dough just sits in the fridge, so it's easy to scoop and and cook in the morning. ...and they're yummy - I swear!

Jenny said...

Linda, I'll have to try the breakfast pizza. I think I have your recipe, somewhere! They'd probably like that, and could probably even help make it.
Annalia, I would love that recipe! It sounds good, and being able to put it together the night before sounds even better. I'm much better getting stuff done at night than first thing in the morning! 4-week bran muffins sound intriguing as well...again, something that is pretty much ready and all I have to do is scoop and bake. :)

Linda said...

Another fun one is Mini Ham & Cheese Quiches. You mash a muffin tin with half a canned biscuit. Then make a mixture of eggs, milk, cheese & chopped ham (or turkey) and fill the cups. I'll email the recipe to you.

heidi said...

What about making a breakfast casserole at night that you pop in the oven in the morning? Very filling and it usually uses stale bread or the ends of the loaves.

Also, breakfast burritos. You can make them up at the beginning of the week and they can just microwave them for snacks.

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