Monday, 13 February 2012

Feeding the herds breakfast

I'm a huge cold cereal lover. Always have been. My mom used to have to limit me to three small bowls at breakfast. Even then, I would usually be back for a snack of cereal later on. In university, cereal, soup and green apples were my staples. So it's not much of a surprise that I rely on this super easy breakfast food for my kids now.

Of course I know that there is a lot more hype these days about how it isn't really the best of the healthy options for breakfast. Plus it doesn't really stick to you for long, so you're usually hungry within an hour or two. Plus there's the fact that the prices of cereal boxes keep creeping up, as the box sizes get smaller.

But I always just figured it was easier and cheaper than trying to make "big breakfasts" every day, trying to organize stratas or muffins or fruit salads or fresh baked produce. That just wasn't going to happen. Then I started reading the Heavenly Homemakers blog. This woman has four sons, ranging in age from 7-13. Over the past 5 years or so, she has completely transformed the way she cooks and serves food, favouring a whole food diet. She isn't about low fat or low carb or raw food - she's simply about serving real, whole foods to her family that aren't processed. And because she and her husband are small time entrepreneurs, with their major career goal being that they are at home as much as they can be, they need to do it all on a budget.

So reading her blog is a bit like looking into a mirror of the future. And the other day she wrote something that really got me thinking: she said that the main reason she doesn't feed her boys cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch is that it's too darn expensive! When she considers how much her boys eat, it would be at least one box of cereal a day, plus something more since it's not heavy enough to stick for a whole meal, and for sandwiches it could be two loaves of bread, half a block of cheese, all that deli meat - yeah, it really adds up! Making muffins or serving chili for lunch is actually both cheaper and healthier.

Cut to the lovely breakfasts we enjoyed on our vacation last week at the Harbour House. And I started thinking - that might actually make breakfast easier, healthier, heartier and cheaper for me, especially as the boys grow. How simple would it be to lay out a big bowl of fruit salad (cut up once on Monday, and then put out every morning), pull out frozen muffins or scones or banana bread (baked in large batches and frozen), add a couple of yogurts, and have some homemade granola available? I could even throw together a casserole (French toast or casserole) the night before that bakes up in 20 minutes that morning, and is good for at least two days. Put it all out on the table as a free for all and let the boys go.

(File away into my idea box for once the baby comes and I'm back in the swing of things.)

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