May 29, 2024

Let’s be real: Those OG Folgers commercials lied to us. Nothing about being in the kitchen for the morning routine feels worthy of walking around with a perpetual smile plastered on your face, especially not attempting a healthy breakfast. The milk is spoiled. Someone is having a meltdown over uniforms or dress code. Someone else is nervous about the test they didn’t study for. And everyone — the entire family — is late. No amount of morning songs or breakfast jokes can cancel out the chaos. Mornings are hard. What if there was a way to make them easier, though? Enter Kim Pauckner, aka TikTok’s Bigmommakimbo7, showing parents the wonderful time-saving, frustration-minimizing world of “breakfastables.”

TikTok is, of course, full of answers when it comes to troubleshooting your daily routine. Things like laying out clothes the night before, having rules about studying before dinner, or being more strict about everyone’s bedtime (including your own) are all obvious ways to shave a little bit of stress from your mornings. But the one big, annoying task that seems to take up the most time each morning? Breakfasts. So, Pauckner’s helpful morning hack is a scroll-stopper.

Anyone who grew up in the ‘90s obsessed with Lunchables understands the appeal of Pauckner’s DIY “breakfastables.” The gist is simple: You carve out a tiny bit of time the night before to fill partitioned containers with breakfast foods. The next morning, you just pop the containers into the microwave for no-muss, no-fuss morning meals for the family.

That’s right. A hot, filling, and “real” breakfast that takes just three minutes of your time in the morning. You can do this each night during dinner prep or once or twice a week in larger batches. Just don’t add the milk to the oatmeal if it’s going to sit longer than a day.

A huge bonus? It’s totally customizable. Say goodbye to those mornings of feeling like a short-order cook, whipping up four meals because everyone wants something different. There are so many ways you can make this work, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Oatmeal Toppings

Not everyone loves seeds or blueberries. And while you already know what you and your kids prefer in your oatmeal, here’s a bunch of ideas that you can mix and match when you want to shake things up with fun, unique flavors:

  • Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, bananas, apple slices, or apple sauce (save the latter for the person in your house who likes their oatmeal extra “wet”)
  • Crunch: granola, chopped nuts, rice cereal, favorite seeds
  • Sweet stuff: chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mini M&Ms (because why not?), caramel sauce, Joolies date syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar

Egg Additions

Who says you can only have “basic” eggs? Toss in any of these things to add a little flavor and spin to your eggs:

  • Veggies (fresh or frozen): peppers, onions, stir-fry mix, broccoli cuts, or diced tomatoes
  • Protein: Any leftover cooked meat or tofu, diced ham, shredded lunch meat, brown-and-serve bacon or sausage, pre-cooked sausage crumbles, shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Sauces: Pesto, red sauce, salsa, even some Taco Bell hot sauce

Other Inclusions

If you’re not a meat-eater or your kids scrunch their noses at oatmeal, you still don’t have to miss out on “breakfastables.” There are so many other options for filling each of those three little cubbies:

  • Breakfast “breads”: Toaster Strudels (your kids can remove and toast these on their own); mini frozen pancakes, waffles, or french toast sticks; breakfast cookies/biscuits (like the Olyra or Belvita ones); biscuits
  • Single-serving removables: pack of apples or baggies of grapes that they can munch on while everything else heats, a cup of yogurt, a cup of hummus, a cup of guac
  • Dried fruit or nuts: a handful of dates, flavored almonds, dehydrated banana chips, etc.

Of course, you can also just use a container with fewer sections!

The Takeaway

Mama Pauckner’s simple “breakfastables” serve as an important reminder: Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard or take forever in order for it to be good and relatively healthy. You already know there’s nothing wrong with cereal breakfasts or a simple slice of peanut butter toast. Truly. “Fed is best” never stops applying to our babies — even when they’re in their final year of high school.

If, however, you want a “healthier” or more natural breakfast offering, these are the way to go. Whether you make them the night before or slam ‘em all onto the bottom shelf of your fridge on a Sunday night, it doesn’t matter. Either way, making any version of DIY “breakfastables” will undoubtedly make your life easier in the morning all while still providing a mom-guilt-free meal for your kids.