Need a few simple, cheap, healthy breakfast ideas? These ones will help you save money and eat healthy!
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Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Not only do I love breakfast food in general (bacon. Done.), but it sets us up for the rest of the day.
Breakfast is the perfect time to start saving money and eating healthy for a few reasons.
When Chris and I started our first fitness program 6 years ago, we learned a lot about fueling our bodies for the day ahead. The program had us eat a lot of carbs in the morning, because at the beginning of the day, after fasting for 12-14 hours, our bodies were ready to burn through food a lot faster than, say, at midnight with a tub of ice cream right before bed.
That’s when I learned that the best time of day to eat cake is right when I wake up.
When I think about it, they didn’t expressly say that in the fitness program. But I think you’ll agree that it only makes sense.
Anyway, breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day, and while I try not to eat cake every morning, I do try to set my day up for success. I want to help you set your day up for success too.
Budget-Friendly Breakfast Ideas
Since our goal here is to both save money and eat healthy, here are our favorite budget-friendly breakfasts.
Toast & Spread
I think Americans need to embrace this very European-style breakfast. It is simple, kid-friendly, and budget-friendly. Also, the kids themselves can set it up, which makes it even easier for you in the morning.
Embrace the toast.
How to Serve Toast for Breakfast:
1. Toast the bread (the broiler method works great for many slices of bread.)
2. Set it out on a tray or platter.
3. Provide a variety of spreads and toppings that your people can use on their toast (see options below).
4. Assign someone to sweep under the table after breakfast because there will be so many crumbs.
Bread for Cheap, Healthy Breakfasts:
You can choose something that is definitely on the cheaper side than the healthy side – like marked down bread from the grocery store bakery that you stashed in the freezer like the savvy shopper. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, and use it for toast. This is literally the only way my kids have ever experienced bakery store bread, like baguettes, brioches, etc. (Except for that one time in Greece, but it was still budget-friendly over there).
If you’re into making your own bread, here are our favorites right now:
- The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Bake – the perfect no-knead recipe for beginners.
- Non-Crumbly Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread – finally!
- Sourdough Foccacia – The simplest sourdough bread (stir, pour, bake) you will ever make. I tweaked our version quite a bit, but I haven’t posted it yet. This beauty is awesome.
- Or just buy some bread like a normal person! Celebrate what works for you.
Simple Alternatives to Toast:
You can make all kinds of things instead of toast, including gluten-free bread and such. But here are two simple, inexpensive options.
– Biscuits – sourdough, whole wheat, or classic
Spreads for Your Toast:
You can go so many directions with this. And you can make it as healthy and homemade, or as cheap and easy, or as simple and healthy as you like. I linked to some of my favorite recipes that strike a balance between our goals to save money and eat healthy.
- Butter and honey
- Jam – try this easy balsamic glaze or freezer chia jam. We just buy a fruit-sweetened jam.
- Cream cheese or goat cheese
- Cream cheese topped with – slivered nuts, hemp seeds, dried flax seeds, dried fruit, jam, or sprouts.
- Yogurt cheese – use with any cream cheese toppings
- Kefir cheese – use with any cream cheese toppings
- Peanut butter or other nut butter
- Peanut butter and bananas
- Peanut butter and thinly sliced apples
- Peanut butter and honey
- peanut butter and raisins
- Avocado toast – use clearance or markdown avocados
There is a 1000% chance your kids will want to eat their toast with butter or jam and nothing else. I recommend setting out only the ingredients you want them to eat.
My Favorite Avocado Toast
Side note, we’ve tried all kinds of avocado toast variations, and this is my favorite. Just in case you haven’t been bombarded enough with the millennials’ favorite breakfast food.
1. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the toast
2. Add sliced avocado (usually overripe because I buy them on clearance)
3. Mash avocado with a fork so it doesn’t fall off while you bite into it
4. Splash it with apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice
5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
6. Sometimes, we top it with hemp seeds, which add a nice crunch
Budget-Friendly Eggs Dishes for Breakfast
Breakfast’s favorite budget-friendly protein was our go-to for years and years. I’m not going to blow your minds here, but here are our favorite healthy, inexpensive ways to eat eggs for breakfast.
- Scrambled or fried with toast
- Frittata (or clean-out-the-veggie-drawer-for-breakfast)
- Eggs and Crispy Baked Home Fries
- Eggs topping sauteed veggies (all kinds of ideas in this post about eating more veggies for breakfast)
- 5-Min Egg & Cheese Muffins
- Eggy Oatmeal – Beat one and slowly add it to your cooking oatmeal, stirring vigorously to prevent scrambled eggs in your oatmeal. It’ll turn creamy, satisfying, and add some extra protein to your oats.
Oatmeal is allergy-friendly, inexpensive, and both your grandma and your fitness professionals agree it’s a great way to start the day. So I’m inclined to believe them. If I can be honest, I don’t love oatmeal. Like at all. However, we serve it for breakfast all the time. I can attest that there are plenty of ways to serve it even if your people don’t love it.
Oatmeal for Breakfast
- Classic Oatmeal – read the package and prepare it according to the instructions. Easy peasy! See below for al ist of real food topping ideas
- Baked Oatmeal – our very favorite make-ahead breakfast and one of our most popular recipes on the site.
- Sneaky Veggie Baked Oatmeal – Like zucchini bread, but for oatmeal.
- Overnight Oats for a Crowd – a simplified, less Instagram-worthy version of 2015’s favorite breakfast recipe.
- Toasted Oatmeal – the best. Hands down.
- Steel-Cut Oats in the Instant Pot – an awesome, overnight recipe that’s ready to eat when you wake up the next morning (rolled oats version included).
- Eggy Oatmeal – Beat one and slowly add it to your cooking oatmeal, stirring vigorously to prevent scramble-eggs in your oatmeal. It’ll turn creamy, satisfying, and add some extra protein to your oats.
- Simple, 1-Bowl Granola
Real Food Ways to Flavor Oatmeal
You can flavor oatmeal all kinds of ways, but here are our favorites, using simple, real food:
Raw honey (here’s how we save money on healthier sweeteners)
Ground chia seed
Molasses (cheap but a bit strong tasting)
Pumpkin or Sweet potato puree (use this recipe for a pumpkin spice version)
Try savory oatmeal! (I prefer using the toasted oats version for this)
Bonus: Chocolate-Covered Katie has ALL the oatmeal flavors.
What to do With Leftover Oatmeal:
There’s always a little bit of oatmeal leftover. After it sits in the fridge for a few days and everyone refuses to eat it, try these simple ideas:
- Knead it into a batch of bread.
- Stir it into baked oatmeal.
- Toss them into pancakes like these!
- Make pan-fried leftover oatmeal cakes.
- Volunteer one child who gets leftover oatmeal for breakfast (Hunger Games style), or serve everyone 2 spoonfuls on their breakfast plate so no one can call you unfair.
Soup for Breakfast
Weird but think about it – protein, fats, carbs, veggies, gentle on the stomach, warm, comforting, and budget-friendly. Soup is a perfect way to start the day. It’s one of my favorite easy breakfasts in the colder months.
Make it with some easy homemade broth for an even more budget-friendly nourishing breakfast.
I prefer vegetable-based soups in the morning.
– Lentil Soup is our family favorite, and it’s in Dinner for a Dollar and the freebie below!
– Sweet potato or butternut squash soup is lovely in the morning, and budget-friendly.
– And my Persian friend taught me how to make Ash-e-jow (we call it “osh”). Something about it is very soothing for breakfast.
Cheap, Healthy Breakfast Ideas
- Cottage cheese, fruit, toast or muffin
- Strawberry Breakfast Cake
- Banana Bread
- Sweet Potato Bread
- The Only Pancake Recipe You Need
- Fruit, cheese, bread – our favorite simple combo. Swap bread for muffins, baked, oatmeal, crackers, whatever.
- Fruit, nuts, hardboiled egg
- Mookies or Muffins
- 5-Minute Egg & Cheese Muffins
- Homemade Yogurt Parfait in a jar – with granola or without
- Breakfast burritos – I admit, these always sound like a good idea, but I almost never make them. Fruit, cheese, and bread is easier
- Pumpkin Bread
- Real Food Breakfast Apple Crisp
- Mix-in-the-Pan Oat & Berry Bars
- Mix-in-the-Pan Apple Crisp Bars
- Chocolate Juicing Muffins – uses leftover juicing pulp!
- Carrot Cake Juicing Muffins – uses leftover juicing pulp!
- 3-Ingredient Frozen Berry Whip
- Simple, clean, homemade breakfast sausage – instead of buying expensive clean sausage
- Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole – for stale bread
- No-Bake Energy Bars
- While not generally very budget-friendly, I shared all my hacks for making cheap smoothies here!
Family Favorite Budget-Friendly Breakfasts
This is what our family typically eats for breakfast. The list changes slightly with the seasons of life, but we have some staples that fit nicely into our priorities and tastes as a family.
I also have two older kids who sometimes prefer to make their own breakfasts. So I make some things for all of us, and some things just for me.
These are our breakfast go-to’s:
Eggs & Toast
Sourdough pancakes (or these pancakes if there’s no sourdough ready)
Fruit, cheese or hardboiled egg, bread or baked oatmeal
Typically, I prefer breakfasts that are simple, budget-friendly, my kids enjoy them, and we can make them ahead of time or freeze them to make mornings run more smoothly.
Whether breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, or you prefer to skip the mornings and all chores involved with morning, I hope this list gives you a lot of ideas to help make your real food breakfasts a little healthier.
What About You?
What are your go-to breakfasts?
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