Saturday, May 12, 2012

Start Meal Planning One Meal at a Time - Breakfast

Quick and easy breakfast parfait -
yogurt, fresh berries,
and muesli.
You don't have to go whole-hog when beginning to create and follow a meal planning program. You can start simply, with one category of meal at a time, and use your success to build up to an entire meal planning routine. Let's start with the breakfast category.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It can start your day with energy and alertness, and just as important, it can fend off that hungry feeling that drives us to make poor food choices for the rest of the day. It can also be the easiest meal of the day to make.

Read on for easy ways to kick-start your overall meal planning strategy.

The Simple Week-day Breakfast

My mother was an excellent meal planner, and I learned nearly all I know about meal planning from her. Since she worked full-time, she planned quick and simple week-day breakfasts, saving the tastier and more time-intensive breakfast feasts for weekends. She planned our simple week-day breakfasts with convenience in mind. Since Mom had to be off to work before I had to leave for school, she made sure I had breakfast items I could put together in a hurry and consume in the ten minutes it took to read the morning comics before gathering up my books and running out the door to catch the school bus.

Week-day Breakfast Items for Quick and Healthy Starts to the Day
  • Cold cereal (bran flakes, corn flakes, shredded wheat, granola, muesli).
  • Fresh or dried fruits (bananas, raisins, berries in season, dried plums, figs)
  • Yogurt or milk (cow, soy, almond...whatever your choice)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Toast

All I needed to do in those days, and all I need to do today, was to take a bowl from the kitchen cabinet, a spoon from the silverware drawer, pour some dry cereal into the bowl, add fruit, and pour in the milk or top with yogurt. Done.

Your week-day breakfasts can be just that simple. If you'd like to change up the cereal with some bread, then toast a couple of slices of rye bread or two halves of a bagel, spread them with butter, jam, or peanut butter, open a container of yogurt, and finish your breakfast off with a piece of fresh fruit.

The Weekend Breakfast - Time for a Break

They say variety is the spice of life. I guarantee you, I don't want to be eating cold cereal and toast seven days a week. So, here are some options for weekend breakfast feasts.

The first option, again influenced by my mother's meal planning habits, is to go out to eat on Sunday. Take a break! Visit a favorite deli or diner and enjoy the different foods and the service you get instead of the service you've been giving yourself. My favorite Sunday breakfast is take-out from a local Jewish deli. Lox, bagels, cream cheese, and some white fish spread. Add a few cucumbers and some lettuce...heaven.

The original Impossible Quiche.
But Saturday is the time to make those pancakes and waffles, omelets, fruit salads, and even quiches. One of my favorite Saturday breakfasts is the original Bisquick Impossible Quiche. The finished quiche makes four to six portions, but it also makes a great leftover breakfast, lunch, or dinner item for the next day and freezes well.

Make a Weekly Breakfast Calendar and a Shopping List

It all starts with what you like to eat. Fruit, cereal, bread, meats, eggs, nuts? All of these are good breakfast choices for starting your day. But how to make them easy things to prepare in the morning? Make a calendar and a grocery list to include the items you want for breakfast and shop only for what's on the list.

Your calendar may look like this:

Grocery List

  • 1 Box cereal of your choice
  • 2 Containers plain or vanilla yogurt (8 ounces each)
  • 1 Small container of fresh berries
  • 1 Quart milk of your choice
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Lemon (see "Tips" below)
  • 6 Eggs
  • Bread ( 1 bagel will do)
  • Peanut butter (if you don't have it in your pantry already)
  • 1 Small box Bisquick (for Impossible Quiche)
  • 1 Package frozen broccoli or spinach (for Impossible Quiche)
  • 1/2 Pound bacon  (for Impossible Quiche)
  • 4 Ounces Swiss cheese  (for Impossible Quiche)

Tips for Managing Your Weekly Breakfast Plan

First and most important, you need to do what's right for you. My daughter says she's happy for a sit-down bowl of cereal with milk and then a banana to tuck into her pocket for the drive to work, five days a week. 

Next, when making something like an Impossible Quiche, you will have delicious left overs for other Saturdays or for week-day lunches or dinners--or breakfasts. Also, a box of cereal may last you for two weeks, so it can come off your grocery list for the next week. Same with peanut butter.

Last, when it comes to boiling an egg and slicing an apple for the Friday breakfast (time I don't want to spend in the morning), prep the night before. Boil and peel the egg and slice the apple and douse it with a bit of lemon juice (to keep the white color of the apple flesh and to keep its crispness). Put each in air-tight containers in the refrigerator overnight.

Could this be a simple start to meal planning for your single lifestyle?

Photo sources:  diekatrin CC BY-SA 2.0 (Breakfast Parfait), Sally's Trove (Impossible Quiche)


  1. Excellent ideas. I have been having hot oatmeal for many breakfasts. I just heard it can cause bloating so I am trying to avoid eating it too often.

    I like the idea of the parfait with yogurt.

    I have to try that quiche recipe!

  2. I've never experienced bloating from eating oatmeal, but then, everybody's system is different.

    I found this short article on oats and bloat to be informative

    I'm glad some of these breakfast ideas look appealing, UW.

  3. I really like that breakfast parfait and will definitely work that in a lot more often. I'm so glad to have found your blog thanks to postings in FB!

  4. Thank you, Alexandra, for the good words and for letting me know how you found this blog. :)

  5. Wow! This is really comprehensive and great pictures and info! Bravo!

    1. Cyndi, thanks for the super shout-out!