Pack breakfast for lunch, because it's the most fun meal of the day
Breakfast is our family’s favorite meal. My husband and I love a good eggs Benedict, and our kids love waffles and bacon. Breakfast foods are amazingly versatile, and many lend themselves well to batch-cooking and freezing. I’m a huge fan of foods that freeze well because I try to keep my cooking time to a minimum, and it’s the single biggest time-saver when planning meals for my family.
I often pack breakfast foods in my kids’ lunches since they love them so much, and the great part is that you can spend as much or as little time prepping as you want. There are many options to buy prepackaged items (mini pancakes or waffles, yogurt, fruit pouches, etc.), or you can make things from scratch.
I’ve created three lunches with breakfast foods below that are easy enough for anyone to re-create. I pack bento lunches for my kids and usually try to include one protein, vegetable, fruit, dairy and a little fun treat. The trick is to have cute containers to make the food look more visually appealing and appetizing without any added extra work. It really helps the lunchboxes come home empty.
- Grain: Bunny-shaped pancakes
- Fruit: Kiwi
- Vegetable: Tomatoes
- Protein: Egg flowers
- Dairy: Babybel cheese wedge
- Fun treat: Strawberry caramel corn
Pancakes freeze great and are so versatile. Use them in place of bread to make a sandwich. Mix in some fruit. Throw in a slice of bacon for a breakfast-style pig in a blanket.
- Vegetable: Hash browns
- Grain: Banana muffin
- Protein: Breakfast sausage
- Dairy: Yogurt
- Fun treat: Marshmallow
- Fruit: Watermelon and dragon fruit
Hash browns and muffins are two more items that freeze well. You can make homemade muffins or buy them premade. And the secret to freezing hash browns is to flash-freeze them or to bake/grate/freeze potatoes.
- Fruit: Grapes
- Vegetable: Carrots and cucumbers
- Protein: Bacon
- Grain: French toast sticks with maple syrup dipping sauce
- Fun treat: Panda crackers
- Dairy: Babybel cheese
French toast freezes well (even better than pancakes, I think), and this is the recipe I use to batch-cook them. You can give both pancakes and French toast an extra veggie kick by adding pumpkin or sweet potato purée to the batter. And anytime I pack my kids a dipping sauce (maple syrup, ketchup, soy sauce), they always eat better.
Here are 10 of my favorite recipes to take your breakfast-for-lunch skills to the next level.
1. Cream cheese fruit sandwiches
Cream cheese isn’t only for bagels; bread and tortillas are great with it too. This is a vegan recipe, but you can easily use regular cream cheese instead, and the addition of fruit is a super-easy way to make it extra delectable.
2. French toast kebabs
Kids love deconstructed meals, and this French toast is so quick and easy. Everything tastes better on a stick.
3. Eggo waffle breakfast pizza
Waffle breakfast pizza is fast, filling and delicious.
4. Egg muffins/frittatas/quiches
5. Pancake bites
The muffin/cupcake tin is oh so versatile when it comes to breakfast. Kids could easily help out when making these mini muffin pancakes, and they always eat better when they’re involved with cooking. The variations on egg muffins and pancake muffins are endless. You can add sausage, bacon, potatoes, veggies, fruit… Savory or sweet, it’s up to you.
6. Egg and sausage breakfast taquitos
Egg and sausage taquitos are one of my personal favorite breakfast foods, and they freeze great too.
7. Greek yogurt breakfast bark
This Greek yogurt bark recipe looks too delicious to pass up.
8. Baked oatmeal muffins
Baked oatmeal muffins combine two favorite breakfast foods.
9. Peanut butter, banana and honey roll-ups
Peanut butter-banana roll-ups are a perennial favorite, but you can add just about anything to tortillas that you would to sandwiches. Any type of fruit or cheese would work well.
10. Homemade Pop-Tarts/Toaster Strudel
I grew up eating Pop-Tarts, but this healthier version, homemade pop tarts, is what I make for my kids.
Check out more of our favorite breakfast-as-lunch recipes on our board. We’ve also created this handy printable with all the glorious breakfast foods your kids will love in their lunch.
Bee Kim is the founder of Hellobee.com and Weddingbee.com and has managed online communities for the past 11 years. A New Yorker at heart, she moved to a remote island paradise in the Philippines last year with her family and is spending the next year traveling all around Asia.