While on vacation a few weeks ago, I noticed one major difference from our regular lives: breakfast. Every morning we slowly got up, sipped coffee leisurely, and ate breakfast at the table. Not only did we eat healthier, but also we felt less stressed.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a morning person, and our usual breakfast routine is a lot more like a pit stop during a race than a casual brunch. There’s usually a speedy cup of coffee poured into a travel mug, a mad dash to get out the door on time, and a hastily grabbed granola bar or banana for the car.
This isn’t a great routine, I know. And the worst part is that it often means a less-than-healthy meal on the go. Here’s the thing: our spiritual health is connected to our physical health and our emotional health and our mental health. When we don’t take care of ourselves in one area, the rest are bound to suffer. So that means those less-than-great breakfasts set us behind for the whole day in so many ways—not just physically.
So last week, I decided to find some quick and nutritious breakfast options that can even be grabbed on the way out the door. One idea is the Smoothie Bags we shared at the Preview Party (Toss a total of 1 cup of frozen veggies/fruit/nuts in a Ziploc bag, store in the freezer, and combine with 1 cup liquid in a blender in the morning).
My other go-to quick breakfast option is Easy Baked Oatmeal Cups. I make them early in the week and then store them in the fridge for grabbing all week long. These feel a bit heartier than smoothies, are totally kid-friendly, customizable, and even gluten-free. Plus, they're totally portable, but they also feel kind of fancy on a nice plate at the breakfast table with a fork. They also store great in the freezer if you want to make a big batch all at once. This recipe is adapted from The Wholesome Dish.
Easy Baked Oatmeal Cups
¼ cup oil
¾-1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
1 ½ cups milk (whatever kind you like)
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
Toppings of your choice: berries, nuts, chopped fruit, chocolate chips, etc.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. (The original recipe calls for 1 cup of brown sugar, but you can get away with less. Try ¾ cup and see how you like it.
Add the applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and whisk until well combined. Stir in the oats and baking powder.
Put ¼ cup of the mixture into each muffin cup. (The mixture is very soupy. Be sure to get both liquid and oats into each muffin cup.)
Top each cup with your chosen toppings, pushing the toppings into the oat mixture a bit so they don’t fall off. My favorites include blueberries and almonds, chocolate chips and raspberries, peach, and apple. I love to do a variety of toppings so I don’t get tired of them throughout the week. Bonus points: get your kids to put their own toppings on a few so they can feel some ownership.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze in a Ziploc bag.
All week, we enjoyed these yummy oatmeal cups, and they really helped me start my day well. What are your morning routine tips that set you up for health? Share with us below.
Amy Jackson is the founder and director of The Perch.