It's 6:15 a.m. You are out of bed and rushing to get ready for work as you simultaneously get your kids (and sometimes even your hubby) fed, dressed and ready for their day. Sound like your life? Mine too. Moms all over the country agree that the morning hustle can really interfere with getting a wholesome morning meal ready, but it can be done! These real moms share how they do it.
Build a routine… and make time for it
Nancy Tringali Piho, author of My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything and the mother of a seven-year-old and a four-year-old, says making time for breakfast is all about making a commitment: "I’ve skipped ironing shirts and last minute homework checks, but I do not let breakfast slip." She keeps a variety of healthy cereals on hand and always includes fresh seasonal fruit as part of the meal.
Mom Stephanie Leach agrees that making time for the important tradition of breakfast is about more than just getting nutrition. She said, "I set aside 30 minutes to put together a healthy school or daycare lunch (15 minutes), then sit down with my son and eat breakfast with him (15 minutes). The key is to schedule the time to eat a healthy breakfast together. Eating meals together as a family is key to keeping communication lines open, and making sure kids learn to eat healthily."
Christine Southerland, full-time working mom of one in Phoenix, Arizona, takes her routine on the road. She admits that "having a bit of routine helps to keep Morgan [20 months] and I on track." And that all starts with a liquid breakfast en route. "Each morning on the way to her sitter's she will enjoy a smoothie. When there is more time, we share a bowl of mixed berries and egg whites as we laugh and nod our heads 'yes'."
Make it homemade… but not in the morning
A simple solution to wanting to serve your kids (and yourself) a healthy home cooked breakfast? Pre-make it! It takes a little planning, but many moms have found success freezing their own homemade breakfasts, then simply heating them up for a hot breakfast that's ready in an instant!
Brittney Fischbeck, Allied Member, ASID, owner of abodwell interior design in Laguna, California, and single mom to almost three-year-old daughter Ainsley, says, "I make pancake mix from scratch on a weekend and section it off into baggies with what ingredients need to be added written on there. Sometimes she will get fresh ones, sometimes I make a batch ahead of time then freeze them and heat on low heat in frying pan in the morning. They taste great and she's none the wiser!"
Andrea Cousins, of Centerville, Ohio, a professional STOTT Pilates instructor and mom of a 22-month-old, also prepares homemade pancake and waffle mix for her daughter. She also keeps "fruit cut up in the fridge or a banana on hand to give while the waffle/pancake is heating up."
Pre-making breakfast isn't limited to pancakes and waffles. TV host, author and healthy lifestyle and fitness expert (oh, yea, and mom of six!) Amy Cotta says: "Mornings at my house are nuts! I will often make a pan of frittatas the night before -- while cooking dinner. This way we can pop them in the microwave first thing in the morning."
Take it on the run
Mandy Krewson, owner of Mandy's boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona, and mom to two-year-old son Chase, is an on-the-go gal, so to ease the morning mania, she grabs a whole grain waffle and multi-tasks breakfast as she drives her son to preschool.
And she's not the only mom who takes advantage of portable breakfasts. Acupuncturist, herbalist and full-time working mom of two school-aged children Kristen Lohman Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M., of Eagle, Idaho, won't succumb to skipping breakfast, so she always has a Plan B if she doesn't have time to give her kids their normal breakfast of a healthy egg white omelet or Greek yogurt with berries and flax seeds: "I give each of us an organic nut and fruit bar and eat it in the car. It's got 260 calories and is full of healthy fats and protein and tastes great with super foods including almonds, flax seeds, blueberries and cranberries."
Tylesha Dobson, administrative consultant for Sprout Productive, is mom of a seven-year-old daughter and she has one on the way. She encourages other moms to get creative beyond breakfast from a box. She often uses leftovers from dinner to create a brand new breakfast. She said, "One particular day earlier this week, I had a really early appointment and my husband had an even earlier meeting at work. Needless to say, there was a mad dash for shoes, wallets, coloring supplies and keys, but skipping breakfast was not an option. So I took out the leftover fajita mixture (onions, bell peppers... the works) from our previous dinner... scrambled cheesy eggs and voila... 'instant' breakfast burritos that we could wrap up and eat in the car!"
We love to hear that the dads are helping out with the morning rush too! Audrey D Brashich, author and mom to two boys ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, admits that staggering the morning routine and calling in a little help from Dad helps things flow smoothly in the morning. The couple "tag teams" and offers breakfast in "courses" (she gives her boys fruit to nibble on while she's prepping the remainder of the meal), then her entire family sits down together for the "main course." She admits that enjoying a family breakfast on the daily has everything to do with precious time: " We also keep a close eye on the clock, even though the kids don't know it. If we didn't, we'd never get it all done and have time to eat."
Teach them to cook
Business owner and mom of two Paula M Daneluk, AICP, of Elk Grove, California, may have the best tip of all: teaching her children to cook! Paula says that while she loves to make her boys all kinds of different things for breakfast, she also allows them to handle the responsibility so they "can do their own cooking while we talk through other items that need to be addressed as we start our day."
Enjoy the moment
Author, business owner and mom of two Tara Kennedy-Kline adds, "No matter what the rest of the day looks like, I make it a priority to give myself at least 20 minutes to spend in the kitchen with my boys every morning. Because we aren't fighting over what to eat, and also because homework is never left past bedtime, clothes are picked the night before and backpacks are stuffed and ready by the door, we are typically relaxed and able to spend our mornings talking... with our mouths full."