By Hana Nobel
We know school-day mornings can be chaotic. Yes, we’re also still pining for those lazy summer days when multiple backpacks and lunches didn’t have to be packed at the same time as everyone needing to be fed. But the school year is upon us and morning madness will commence, if it hasn’t already.
Setting up a kitchen for success can make things a little calmer in the morning. Think of it as your morning “mise en place”—a term used in professional kitchens that basically means everything is in its place. From setting up serve-yourself breakfast bars to prepping recipes the night before, here are some ways to make the morning rush a little less, well, rushed.
1. Save Time with Prepped Smoothies.
Save a few minutes of looking for and measuring ingredients in the morning by prepping smoothies at night. Fill your blender container with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and other ingredients before bed and put it in the fridge. Then in the morning, an adult—or kids with the help of an adult—just puts the top on and blends. Another option: spend some time measuring out solid ingredients for smoothies (hold the liquids!) and put them in separate containers or plastic or reusable baggies in the freezer to make it easier to dump and blend later.
2. Let Your Fridge Do the Work with Overnight Oatmeal.
We love recipes that require a bit of hands-on time with a lot of hands-off time, like Blueberry Refrigerator Oatmeal. It takes five minutes to prep and 10 hours of wait time. Assemble the oatmeal the night before, and then, while you sleep, your fridge will do all the work for you! In the morning, just grab the jar and go.
Want hot oatmeal instead? This Homemade Instant Oatmeal can be made in about 10 minutes and stored for three months so you can make it quickly anytime by adding boiling water.
3. Skip Scrambled Eggs and Prep Hard-Boiled Eggs.
Make a lot of hard-boiled eggs at the start of the week and kids can eat them all week long. We know scrambled eggs (link) don’t take very long, but once you have some hard-cooked eggs in the fridge, even younger kids can just grab them and eat them on their own. You’ll also save time on cleanup since you won’t have to clean post-egg pans and spatulas.
4. Set Up a Parfait Bar.
For a no-heat, easy breakfast, set up a parfait station so kids can make their own. Set out cut fruit, yogurt, nuts, granola, and other toppings in a breakfast buffet setup. Then, give everyone a tall glass or bowl to fill. Lessen cleanup time by leaving everything in its original container or in storage containers.
5. Slice a Frittata for a Quick Breakfast.
Frittatas are like breakfast pies. They can be made in advance, eaten cold or hot, and you just cut off a slice when you want to eat one. It’s eggy like a big, baked omelet. And it makes a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A frittata is perfect for those mornings when you need to get everyone some protein and vegetables but don’t have time to cook something. Make a frittata over the weekend and serve it for up to two days after.
6. Stack Some Breakfast Kabobs.
Like the parfait bar, turn this into a do-it-yourself station that is also quick. Cut fruit ahead of time and hand everyone a kabob or two to make individual breakfast kabobs. Let everyone stack their favorite fruits onto the stick for a kind of vertical fruit salad. Put out a bowl of yogurt for a dipping sauce.
We hope these six tips will help your school-day mornings be a little less chaotic. If you’re looking for more breakfast recipes, take a look at our recipes page. It’s filled with recipes straight out of our ChopChop Magazine that kids can make and enjoy. If your family follows any of these tips or makes any of our recipes, we’d love to hear about it! Share your ChopChop creations on social media and be sure to tag us in the posts or email us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.