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Get Your Day Started the Right Way

During the week, make sure that your family gets a wholesome breakfast to begin their day. Although sitting down together and enjoying a pancake or waffle breakfast with all the trimmings is wonderful for leisurely weekend day-starters, the time pressures that both adults and children often feel on weekday morning means that sometimes breakfast shortcuts are necessary. But nutrition doesn't have to take a back seat. We have many different breakfast foods that are both healthy and convenient and fit your budget too.

Cold Cereal

Cold cereal is the king when it comes to breakfast convenience. All it requires is a bowl, spoon, box of cereal and milk. Cereals are usually corn-, wheat-, rice- or oat-based, and they come in a myriad of shapes. Flakes are the most common, but you can liven up breakfast with shapes like Os, stars, letters, squares, fruit and even cinnamon buns. For those on specialized diets, you can select gluten-free cereals and many nondairy milks like almond-based and soy-based. Fresh or dried fruit make great additions to cold cereal as does nuts and chocolate chips. Granola is a great combination of rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit all in one package. Cold cereals are highly nutritious, containing high amounts of potassium and protein as well as iron, magnesium and, when had with milk, calcium.

Hot Cereal

Although cold cereal makes having a quick breakfast possible, some people like to have a warm breakfast to start their day. Hot cereal is a combination of both types. A hot bowl of oatmeal, muesli or grits does the trick. There is instant oatmeal that only needs hot water before it is ready right in the bowl, or add a pot and 6-7 minutes to turn dried oats into warm oatmeal on the stove. Although butter and sugar are common additions to oatmeal, dried or fresh fruit are sweet and healthy treats to add as well. There are many different styles of oatmeal as well, such as steel cut and rolled. Rolled oats are those that are flattened during processing and cook faster than steel-cut oats, which are not processed much at all and take longer to cook.

Muesli is similar to rolled oats, kind of a cross between oatmeal and granola. For many who live or grew up in the Southern United States, grits are as much a staple of morning breakfast as oatmeal to the rest of the country. Oats a terrific source of dietary fiber, along with vitamin A, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Hominy grits are very common and come from hominy (treated corn) that has the germ removed. Grits also come in quick- and slow-cooking forms and can be prepared like oatmeal. Grits are also high in fiber as well as iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

Grab-and-go Breakfast

Sometimes, there is not even enough time to sit down for a bowl of cereal. However, breakfast needs to deliver nutrition and produce energy that helps people get through their day. For complete nutrition, there are breakfast bars and granola bars that provide the same basic nutrients as most breakfast meals. For those who want something a little sweeter and have time to use a toaster, toaster pastries make a nice morning snack. These are available with icing or come with a variety of tasty fillings. Toast, bagels, English muffins and frozen waffles are other options that work and can be topped with a variety of butters, jams, jellies or syrups. The microwave is also the friend of people who want a good breakfast quickly; there are many different biscuit-, croissant- and English muffin-filled sandwiches that you can simply place in the microwave.

Complete Breakfast

When the family does have time to sit down together, you have many options to allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time around the breakfast table. Although you can whip up a batch of pancake or waffle batter on your own using eggs, Baking Powder, sugar, and flour, you can also open a box of prepared mix, add some milk or water, and have the batter ready in a matter of moments. Items like eggs, sausage, bacon, ham and potatoes round out many complete breakfasts, and there are many vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, celiac-free and gluten-free options for these kinds of breakfasts too. For those who like to show off their culinary skills, additional options that make for a tasty breakfast include sausage and gravy, eggs Benedict, breakfast burritos, quiches and frittatas.

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