Weekday mornings: is there a more frantic time in the family home? They’re certainly the most hectic part of the week in our house, and little wonder with four people who need to get up, eat, get ready and head out of the door in just over an hour!
Even when you’ve done your best to be organised in the morning, things can descend into chaos quite rapidly. A prolonged hunt for a lost shoe, last-minute homework, must-finish colouring and one too many snoozes on the alarm clock are all fairly regular scenarios for us. With the clock ticking, it’s all too easy to miss out on a good breakfast in favour of getting everybody ready on time.
And of course, we all know what a difference a good breakfast – or lack of it – can make to your day. New research from belVita Breakfast backs this up, with 46% of Brits surveyed saying they’re more likely to have a good day if they eat breakfast, citing breakfast as the reason they feel more energised, alert and attentive. On the flip side, those who skip breakfast are more likely to have a difficult day, with 53% of respondents agreeing they feel irritable and struggle to concentrate. Overall, not eating breakfast results in 45% of us being more likely to have a bad day.
I can absolutely tell the difference when I haven’t eaten a balanced breakfast. For starters, my brain just doesn’t function as quickly, so even the simplest of tasks take longer and I’m much less productive. On top of that, I’m far more likely to grab unhealthy snacks mid-morning, then go through the rollercoaster of energy spike and crash. Eating a good breakfast keeps me on a much more even keel, and I notice a real difference in my overall mood too. Yep, I’m definitely a cheerier person when I get breakfast right!
So given that breakfast can have such a positive impact on our day, how can we make sure we fit it in on busy mornings? Here are some tips to help you make a good breakfast happen for all the family, even on the most hectic weekdays.
Have you ever found yourself telling your kids at breakfast time just how important a meal it is, while running around doing chores and not eating yourself? Yep, me too. It makes sense to set a good example, so we’ve tried to get into a routine of eating breakfast as a family. As well as helping us all start the day well from a nutritional point of view, it gives us a chance to have some family time when we can chat about the day ahead and take a break from the rushing around. We don’t manage it every day without fail, but when we do, it always creates a calmer atmosphere.
Mix it up
If your kids are reluctant to tackle breakfast, keeping things interesting with a range of different meals can be a good way to tempt them into starting the day well. We have a few different go-to options that I know the kids like, including scrambled eggs, baked fruit, smoothies and muesli. I try to give them a good mix throughout the week to keep things fun and help support a varied, balanced diet.
Where possible, I try to include breakfast in our weekly meal-plans so that I know what we’re going to need in stock before the week begins. Yes, this requires a bit of willpower and organisation, but it’s absolutely worth it.
I have a range of tried-and-tested breakfast options that I know the kids will eat without a fuss, so I’ll choose one of those. Things like my overnight bircher can be completely made ahead, and for dishes that need to be cooked in the morning I sort out the dry ingredients and prepare any fruit to save time.
If I know we have to be out even earlier than usual and if I’m feeling super-duper-organised (and the washing up situation allows) I lay the table for breakfast the night before, which saves a little extra time.
Backup plan for ‘running late’ days
Inevitably, there will be mornings when things don’t go to plan, and for those days you need a backup plan that will stop you skipping breakfast altogether.
I pre-prepare bags of fruit and greens for making smoothies, then freeze them in individual portions. On crazy mornings I just grab one from the freezer and blend it with yoghurt or milk for a super-quick, healthy breakfast.
For days when I’ve fed the kids, it’s time to leave, but not eaten a scrap myself, I keep a box of belVita Breakfast biscuits in the cupboard. They’re specially baked to release energy steadily throughout the morning, so they’re brilliant for popping in my bag when the morning has been particularly frantic. If I’m breakfasting at my desk, they’re also perfect for adding an energy boost to a simple breakfast of yoghurt and fruit.
Save experimenting for the weekend
While I love trying out new breakfast recipes with the family, I save this for the weekend. During the week, it’s hard enough shepherding us all successfully into our day without throwing experimental cooking into the mix! At the weekend, there’s no clock-watching and rushing to leave the house, so I can enjoy my time in the kitchen and the kids can get used to a new meal at their own pace. The kids can help out with the cooking too, which is a great way to encourage them to try new foods, as well as being lots of fun for all of us.
What are your breakfast tips for busy mornings?
This is a commissioned post for Belvita