Budget Friendly Breakfasts

by Linda Shapero


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All our lives we've been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how many of us haven't run out the door in the morning without so much as a glass of juice or a piece of toast? Worse still, how many are depending on places like McDonald's or Burger King for a quick fix?

Not only are fast food restaurants known for foods high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and other ingredients we don't need, but also the money spent, if only $3 a day, can be prohibitive over the course of a month if you are trying to keep to a budget.

There are alternatives, of course. They involve planning ahead but will save you time and money in the long run and are well worth it. Below are a few suggestions, which with minimal effort will assure that you never run out the door again without breakfast.

Egg/Cheese Biscuit

Buy buns or biscuits (or make your own). Fry enough bacon or sausage for the amount of sandwiches you want to make. Next, scramble the eggs. Place the meat on the biscuits, cover with a scoop of eggs, top with a slice of cheese, and top with the bread. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate. In the morning, microwave for a quick meal or take it with you to eat at work. (These are great to make in quantity for the whole family and will stay fresh for at least a week when refrigerated.)

Smoothies

If you have a bit more time to spare in the morning, but not much, you can make a nutritional protein smoothie in just minutes. Combine a half of a banana, about four to five ice cubes, a cup of whatever fruit you like (including frozen fruit), a scoop of protein powder, and about a cup of juice and blend until smooth. Add sugar or sweetener to taste, if desired. This will give you at least two large smoothies, which you can drink at home while getting ready for the day or pack in a commuter cup to take with you. Don't forget a straw.

Pancakes and Waffles

Next time you make a stack of pancakes or waffles, make extra and wrap and refrigerate them individually. In the morning, they can be quickly heated in the toaster or microwave for a quick meal. You can also pack them in a lunchbox and take them with you to work.

Oatmeal and Fruit Bars

Last, but not least, are some delicious oatmeal bars that pack a nutritional punch. They are easy to make and cost a fraction of what the bars you'll find in the market cost.

Feel free to use whatever dried fruit you like, rather than Craisins® (dried cranberries). You can also add different nuts, peanut butter, etc. Let your imagination run wild! You'll need:

baking spray for pan
1/2 c. oil (canola or vegetable)
1/2 c. honey
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. uncooked oats
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. crushed rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies®), crushed in closed resealable bag with a rolling pin
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. Craisins®
3/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" metal baking pan with vegetable spray (or line pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil). Mix oil, honey, vanilla and egg in a medium bowl. Next, mix oats, flour, sugar, almonds, crushed rice cereal, salt, and Craisins® in a separate bowl until thoroughly combined.

Stir the honey mixture into the oat mixture and mix until blended. Place into prepared pan and press down evenly (with wet hands). Bake for about 30 minutes until slightly golden.

Cool for about one hour and then cut into bars by cutting four long strips, and crosswise six pieces (24 bars). Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks or freeze and thaw, as desired. Wrap in waxed paper or slip into a baggie for breakfast on the go.

These ideas will assure you a no hassle breakfast every morning so you no longer have to skip the most important meal of the day or find yourself in a fast food restaurant line.

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