During a busy morning, it is easy to let breakfast fall low in our list of priorities, but taking just a few minutes to have something to eat can really make a difference to our day. We have all heard how important it is to eat breakfast: Research has shown that this simple daily routine can boost our strength and energy levels and sharpen our concentration.

Unfortunately, in our family days often begin with hectic mornings. Amid seeing our children off to school and getting yourself to work on time, the meal is frequently a meager on-the-go affair involving a piece of fruit or a cereal bar.

Taste the Vinaigrette

But Breakfast is an excellent occasion to eat together as a family when possible. I think, establishing good breakfast habits in childhood and maintaining them throughout adolescence may be an important factor in reducing the prevalence of breakfast skipping and developing good eating habits that last a lifetime.

Eating a healthy breakfast each and every day is a possible feat if we find smart strategies to help us do it and with a little thought and planning, transforming our weekday breakfast routine is easier than we think. I rely on stocking my kitchen with the right ingredients and preparing them beforehand.

Preparation of breakfast basics ahead of time

This one simple step makes all the difference in the world. If your mornings are anything like mine, time is a precious commodity, so the less work I have to do, the better. It makes my routine easier, when our favorite foods are prepped and ready to eat. I try to keep breakfast foods easy and convenient.

I have few make-ahead breakfasts everybody in our family likes

When food is prepped, prepared, and pretty much at our fingertips it is a lot more likely you we will end up eating a better breakfast.

My grab and go containers/glass jars are a game changer

I do not stop at make ahead breakfasts. Instead I also make them ready to go. Again, for me convenience is the name of the game in the morning. The less work I have to do, the better. I love making a week’s worth of oats on Sunday night, then portioning them into individual-size containers along with toppings. In the morning all I have to do is reach in the fridge and grab it as we are running out the door for work and school.

Oats are a very good source of fiber, especially beta-glucan, and are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Whole oats are the only source of a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, believed to have protective effects against heart disease. Due to their beneficial health effects, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, oats have gained considerable interest as a health food

Steel-cut oats, which take about 15 minutes to cook, contain more fiber than rolled oats or instant varieties, but any type of oatmeal is a healthy choice. I just avoid the flavored kinds, which can be packed with sugar. Instead, I sweeten my bowl with milk and a bit of honey, and top with fruit,nuts or my homemade granola.

I love Greek yogurt because it is really quick and easy, I can always take it with me on my way out the door.”

This tangy, creamy yogurt is loaded with calcium and boasts plenty of protein, nearly twice as much as regular yogurt, to keep us feeling full throughout the morning. I always choose a plain, full fat variety, and add some fruit to give it some sweetness and flavor and a dose of added nutrition.

Apples are among the most popular types of fruit in the world. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C and various antioxidants. They are also very filling, considering their low calorie content. They taste delicious on their own and in our family are usually eaten raw, but I also use them in various recipes, juices and drinks.
There is nothing like a banana at breakfast to keep those mid-morning cravings at bay. These yellow fruits, especially when they are still a touch green, are one of the best sources of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that keeps us feeling fuller longer. I slice it up and add it to cereal or oatmeal, it adds natural sweetness, so I do not need additional sugar.” Thanks to a healthy dose of potassium, an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure naturally, bananas are a particularly good choice for people with hypertension.
Fresh or frozen, these tiny superfruits pack a big antioxidant punch. Or better yet, a flurry of punches: Studies suggest that eating blueberries regularly can help improve everything from memory and motor skills to blood pressure and metabolism. Wild blueberries, in particular, have one of the highest concentrations of the powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Blueberries are also lower in calories than a lot of other fruits (they contain just 80 per cup), so we can pile them onto our cereal without worrying about your waistline.
Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions.
Packed with all the goodness, I make it a point to begin my day with a glass of warm lemon water. Its cleansing and healing effects will have positive effects on health in the long run.
These incredible edibles have made quite a comeback in recent years. Once shunned for being high in dietary cholesterol (one yolk contains about 60% of your daily allotment), eggs are now embraced as a healthy source of protein and nutrients like vitamin D. Why the turnabout? Research has shown that the cholesterol in our food has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than previously thought.
Almond Butter is an excellent alternate source of protein, and is filled with monounsaturated fat,one of the good fats. Plus it is a really delicious spread on whole grain bread or paired with a banana or an apple.”

Nutritionally, almond butter is comparable to peanut butter, and they each have about 100 calories per tablespoon. Almond butter contains slightly less saturated fat, though, a definite point in its favor, even for people who are not allergic to peanuts.

Sprinkling ground flaxseed into a smoothie or bowl of cereal will turn our breakfast into a gold mine of omega-3 fatty acids; just two tablespoons contains more than 100% of your recommended daily intake for those heart-healthy fats. Flaxseed, which has a nutty flavor, also is rich in fiber and lignan, an antioxidant that’s been shown to protect against breast cancer. A word of caution: Whole flax seeds will pass through our body without being digested, so I buy them ground or grind them myself with a coffee or spice grinder.
A little wheat germ goes a long way. Just two tablespoons provides about 15% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin E and 10% of your daily folate. “Vitamin E is often a little low in our diet, so this is a good way to add in some extra. It is easy to incorporate wheat germ into almost any meal, including our go-to breakfasts: I sprinkle it over cereal, stir it into yogurt, or mix it into a smoothie.
I top off my bowl with almond – or cow’s milk and fruit for the complete package: whole grains to fill up, protein to supply all-day energy, and antioxidants to keep the immune system humming.
Carbohydrates are a breakfast mainstay, but the type of carbs we choose can make a big difference in the overall health of our meal. The simple rule to remember is that whole wheat and other whole grains, whether they are found in bread, toast, or English muffins, contain more fiber and nutrients than their white, refined counterparts.

What we put on it matters, as well. Slathering our toast with butter or jelly just adds empty fat and calories, instead, I get some protein by adding an egg or some almond butter or my “Homemade Avocado – Chickpea Spread”.

With a bit of planning, we all will be able to get a delectable meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen, making it a snap to start any day in a tasty and healthy way. A healthy breakfast should contain a balance of different nutrients to keep our brain and body functioning at peak capacity. I serve breakfasts with both protein and carbohydrates to give our family a good start to their day.

Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings

A well-balanced breakfast should combine protein and carbohydrates with fiber and “good” fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or fortified eggs. Healthy breakfast options include such items as whole-grain cereal with milk and yogurt or whole-grain bread.

On busy mornings when preparing breakfast presents a challenge, these are our family’s winning breakfast combos:

  • Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups and Yogurt Parfaits with Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal, Walnuts and Dried Fruit
  • Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts and Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • Prune, Applesauce, and Almond Breakfast Loaf
  • Thumbprint Buckwheat – Oat – Cookies with Greek Yogurt
  • Spelt Bread with Almond Butter and Glazed Cinnamon Apples or “Homemade Avocado – Chickpea Spread”
Go to the recipe
Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts and Cup of Greek Yogurt

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts and Cup of Greek Yogurt

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts - Mise en Place

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts – Mise en Place

In your food processor, place the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom and sugar and process until combined.

In your food processor, place the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom and sugar and process until combined.

Add the cold diced butter.

Add the cold diced butter.

Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal - about 10 seconds. Sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of water over the flour mixture and process the dough just until it holds together when pinched.

Stir until everything is well combined.

Gather up the dough, divide it in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 2, 5 cm = 1 inch thick.

Gather up the dough, divide it in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 2, 5 cm = 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Apple Filling

Prepare the Apple Filling – See Recipe “Sauteed Apples”

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a large rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight rectangles (about the size of an index card).

This recipe will give you four Apple Pocket Tarts. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 35-by-27-cm (14-by-11-inch) rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into 9-by-14-cm (3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch) rectangles (about the size of an index card).

Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the

Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the “Apple Filling” in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle.

You can also add some organic unsulfurated currents or cranberries to the

You can also add some organic unsulfurated currents or cranberries to the “Apple Filling”.

 Lay the second dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each apple mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.

With a pastry brush, brush the outside edges of the rectangles with the beaten egg. Place a second rectangle of pastry on top of the first. Use your fingertips to gently press down the edges of the top rectangle of pastry to the bottom pastry.

Then, with the floured tines of a fork, seal the edges.

Then, with the floured tines of a fork, seal the edges. Cover and place the baking sheet of unbaked Apple Pocket Tarts in the refrigerator to chill.

Using a toothpick or the tines of a fork, prick the tops of the Apple Pocket Tarts as this will prevent the pastry from puffing up during baking.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), with the oven rack in the center position. Remove the Apple Pocket Tarts from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash. Using a toothpick or the tines of a fork, prick the tops of the Apple Pocket Tarts as this will prevent the pastry from puffing up during baking. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for about 28-30 minutes or until the Apple Pocket Tarts are nicely browned around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool.

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts

Enjoy!

Mise en Place - Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

Mise en Place – Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

 Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk, next combine oats, millet, nuts, wheat or spelt germ, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 160°C = 325°F. Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk, next combine oats, millet, nuts, wheat or spelt germ, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add syrup mixture; stir well to coat. Spread oat mixture evenly onto a baking pan coated with cooking spray or line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake at 160°C = 325°F for 30 minutes or until browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Cool completely.

Enjoy and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Homemade Granola

Mise en Place 1 Yogurt Parfait and Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups

Yogurt cups are one of my favorite breakfast choices. They are convenient, easy to grab, and really delicious. But the yogurts you can buy in supermarkets are often loaded with sugar and to sweet. With the help of a few inexpensive canning jars I make my own yogurt cups.

These homemade Yogurt Cups are so much better than these over-processed yogurt we find in supermarkets. In fact, you do not even need jam – if you would like to avoid added sugar at all just cut up a fresh, perfectly ripe banana or peach, and put some yogurt and nuts on top. You can use spices, nuts, granola, any kind of fruit.

To make one of my favorite yogurt cups I layer plain Greek yogurt with a spoonful of apple sauce or sauteed apples, a handful of berries, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and a few toasted almonds. I love to dug the spoon down to the bottom and it will come up with a bite of everything. Sweet apple sauce, tangy berries, and tart yogurt.

Prepare a few Canning Jars for the “Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups and Yogurt Parfait”.

Mise en Place Yogurt Parfait and Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups

Mise en Place “Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups and Yogurt Parfait” – Sauteed Apples, Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit, Spiced Millet, Organic Strawberries, Dried Fruit – Currents and Greek Yogurt.

Millet

Rinse 125 g of millet with hot water. Bring twice the amount of water to boil and cook millet and assorted spices like cinnamon for seven to ten minutes and let soak 10 minutes.

Sauteed Apples

Prepare Sauteed Apples.

Yogurt Parfait Variations

Now it is time to be creative and start layering all the components for the “Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups” and “Yogurt Parfaits”.

Layerd Yogurt Parfait with Millet, Sauteed Apples, Greek Yogurt, topped with Organic Raisins and Walnuts

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Millet, Sauteed Apples, Greek Yogurt, topped with Organic Raisins and Walnuts.

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola Greek Yogurt and fresh Strawberries

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola Greek Yogurt and fresh Strawberries.

Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt with Sauteed Apples and Homemade Granola

Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt with Sauteed Apples and Homemade Granola.

Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt with fresh Strawberries and Homemade Granola

Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt with fresh Strawberries and Homemade Granola.

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and fresh Strawberries

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and fresh Strawberries.

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and fresh Strawberries and Cinnamon.

Layered Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt, fresh Strawberries and Cinnamon.

Variation of

Variation of “Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups” and “Yogurt Parfaits”. Not only are these picture-perfect yogurt parfaits delicious, they are also a refreshingly light way to start the morning. Enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pocket Tarts

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Servings: 4 Apple Pocket Tarts
Author: Maria Haydn

Ingredients

  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder 1/2 tsp
  • 2 g salt 1/2 tsp
  • 1 g cardamom ground, 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 10 g granulated white sugar
  • 120 g butter cold unsalted, diced
  • 3 tbs ice cold water or milk, 3 - 4 tbs

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg large, lightly beaten
  • 250 g sauteed apples or jam of your choice

Sauteed Apples

  • 4 apples large, peeled, cored and sliced or diced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 5 g cinnamon ground, 1 tsp or one stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tbs lemon juice fresh

Instructions

  • Pastry: In your food processor, place the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal - about 10 seconds. Sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of water or milk over the flour mixture and process the dough just until it holds together when pinched. (You don't want a solid ball of dough.) If necessary, add more water or milk.
    Add the cold diced butter.
  • Gather up the dough, divide it in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 2, 5 cm = 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
    Gather up the dough, divide it in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 2, 5 cm = 1 inch thick.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card).
  • Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the “Apple Filling” or jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle. You can also add some organic unsulfurated currents or cranberries to the “Apple Filling”. With a pastry brush, brush the outside edges of the rectangles with the beaten egg. Place a second rectangle of pastry on top of the first. Use your fingertips to gently press down the edges of the top rectangle of pastry to the bottom pastry.
    You can also add some organic unsulfurated currents or cranberries to the "Apple Filling".
  • Then, with the floured tines of a fork, seal the edges. Cover and place the baking sheet of unbaked Apple Pocket Tarts in the refrigerator to chill. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet. Then, with the floured tines of a fork, seal the edges, over and place the baking sheet of unbaked Tarts in the refrigerator to chill.
    Using a toothpick or the tines of a fork, prick the tops of the Apple Pocket Tarts as this will prevent the pastry from puffing up during baking.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C or (350 degrees F), with the oven rack in the center position.
  • Remove the Tarts from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash. Using a toothpick or the tines of a fork, prick the tops of the Apple Pocket Tarts as this will prevent the pastry from puffing up during baking. Bake for about 28-30 minutes or until the Tarts are nicely browned around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool.
  • The Apple Pocket Tarts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Apple Filling - Sauteed Apples

  • Put the diced apples in a large skillet or saucepan. Add 2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes over medium heat.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in a little bit of water and add to skillet. Stir in cinnamon and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and let cool if used as a filling or serve warm.

Notes

The pastry dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The Apple Pocket Tarts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 8 people
Author: Maria Haydn

Ingredients

  • 170 g maple syrup
  • 115 g honey
  • 40 g canola oil 3 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 450 g oats regular
  • 1 cup millet flakes
  • 150 g almonds roasted and chopped; or nuts of your choice
  • 30 g wheat or spelt germ
  • 5 g cinnamon ground, 1 tsp
  • 1 g nutmeg ground, 1/4 tsp
  • 1 cooking spray or vegetable oil
  • 200 g dried mixed fruit chopped (no added sugar)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 160°C = 325°F.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
  • Combine oats, millet, nuts, wheat germ, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add syrup mixture; stir well to coat. Spread oat mixture evenly onto a baking pan coated with cooking spray or line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  • Bake at 160°C = 325°F for 30 minutes or until browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Cool completely.
  • Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups and Yogurt Parfaits

With layers of creamy yogurt, chewy grains, and sweet berries, these yogurt cups are a fresh, filling and fun way to start your day. Make a few at a time for a week's worth of quick, tasty breakfasts - they are a snap to assemble in advance and will keep for up to three days.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Servings: 5 small jars
Author: Maria Haydn

Ingredients

  • 250 g greek yogurt plain, full fat
  • 100 g Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit see recipe
  • 100 g Sauteed Apples see recipe
  • 100 g cooked millet or soaked oats
  • 200 g strawberries or berries of your choice
  • 50 g currents for topping

Instructions

  • If using fresh fruit, rinse, peel, and/or trim as needed. If using thawed frozen fruit, drain any excess juices.
  • Layer your choice of ingredients into each canning jar.
  • Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

cooked millet

  • Rinse 50 g of millet with hot water. Bring twice the amount of water to boil and cook with your choice of spices for seven to ten minutes and let soak 10 minutes.
  • Let cool and store in airtight container for up to three days.

Notes

Try topping with rinsed, chopped fresh mint leaves for extra flavor and color.
To save money, use fresh fruits that are in season. When seasonal fruits are hard to find, use thawed frozen fruit. Use leftover fruit in Fruit Smoothies.

Sauteed Apples

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 2 people
Author: Maria Haydn

Ingredients

  • 4 large tart apples peeled, cored and sliced or diced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Put the diced apples in a large skillet or saucepan.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes over medium heat.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in a little bit of water and add to skillet.
  • Stir in cinnamon and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and let cool if used as a filling or serve warm.