Make Ahead Breakfasts

You always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But between getting ready for work and getting the kids out the door, sometimes you just don’t have time to cook. Never fear! Whether you find time the night before to make one days’ worth of breakfasts or if you make a weeks’ worth on the weekend these recipes will fill your grumbly belly with healthy, tasty goodness.

Overnight Oats in a Jar

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup yogurt

¼ cup milk

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Up to ¼ cup fresh, frozen or dried fruit

A little sweetener, to taste

Place the oats, yogurt, milk and chia in a pint jar or other vessel and stir until thoroughly combined. I like to put the fruit and sweetener on top before I put it in the fridge so I can just grab it and eat in the morning, but you can leave it off until the morning if you are worried about it browning. If you are using dried fruit, stir it into the mix so it plumps up a bit as it sits.

Place in the fridge overnight or up to 5 days. In the morning, stir it up and enjoy!

Hearty Breakfast Bars

1 cup whole wheat flour (or other whole grain flour like spelt or rye)

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup wheat or oat bran

½ cup brown sugar

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup grated carrot

½ cup grated zucchini

1 cup yogurt

1 mashed banana

½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts

½ cup flax, pumpkin or sunflower seeds (or a combination)

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Toss the grated zucchini and carrot with the flour to coat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, yogurt and banana.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine. Fold in the walnuts and seeds. Place the batter in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the batter into an oiled 9x13” pan.

Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until just set.

Remove from the oven, and after 5 minutes (or when they're cool enough to handle) transfer them to a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Store leftovers wrapped at room temperature, or in the fridge. You can also individually freeze them and either defrost in the fridge overnight or by microwaving for 30 seconds.

Overnight Smoothies

For and even faster smoothie, measure the frozen fruits and veggies into ziplock bags and stash in the freezer. Then the night before, just pull out the bag and proceed as directed. No measuring necessary. This is much easier to assemble by weight because frozen fruit is a little hard to measure accurately by volume. I have given approximations in case you don’t have one though.

2oz (1/4 cup) fruit juice

4oz (1/2 cup) milk (any kind) or yogurt

2oz (about 1) frozen banana

2oz (about ½ cup) frozen spinach

8oz (about 2 cups) other fresh or frozen fruit of your choice

a few tablespoons of boosters - ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, protien powder, nut butter or chia seeds (optional)

Put the juice and milk in the blender first. Having the liquid at the bottom will make it easier on your blender when trying to puree the fruit. Put all the rest of the ingredients into the blender and put in the fridge overnight. This will slightly defrost the fruit and make it blend up even easier while still maintaining that great slushy frozen fruit texture.

Got a stick blender? Assemble your smoothie in a wide mouth quart jar and use the stick blender to puree the next morning. Then pop a lid on and run out the door!

Even more quick breakfast ideas:

Frozen Breakfast Burritos: Assemble breakfast burritos as you normally would. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in Ziploc bags. When ready to eat, unwrap the burrito and place on a plate covered with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds, flip and microwave 60 more seconds. You may want to cut the burrito in half to make sure it is fully defrosted. You can also pull one out the night before to defrost in the fridge overnight for even faster reheating.

Muffin tin quiche: Mix up a quiche filling and bake off in muffin tins instead of in a large pie pan. I like the “Texas sized” muffin tins for this. You can either just oil the pan really well and bake the filling directly in it (more like a frittata) or you can line it with crust or shredded potatoes, which will get kind of crispy.

Fruit on the bottom Yogurt: put a spoonful or two of jam or chopped fruit in the bottom of a ½ pint mason jar and top with yogurt. You can also use lemon curd for lemon yogurt, a little maple syrup or honey, or make a similar jar with applesauce and cottage cheese.

Muffins and other Breakfast Pastries: While not particularly healthy, these breakfast treats are sometimes just what you need to get going in the morning. Bonus: you can freeze the baked muffins and defrost them in only 30 seconds in the microwave.