“Real Food” Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas (Freezer-Friendly, Egg-Free, and Gluten-Free Options)

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If you’ve been around Live Simply for any length of time (or follow me on Instagram), you know that I’m passionate about preparing real food in advance (AKA: food prep). When I talk about food prep, I’m not talking about spending an entire weekend making “all the things.” What I am talking about is an intentional action of making a couple of foods, during a dedicated time, in order to prepare for the week ahead.

Food prep has become a form of self-care for me and my family. It’s a way of saying “yes!” to our health and wellness in an intentional way. It’s a way of making real food possible, particularly when life is busy. It’s a way of reducing the overall time we spend in the kitchen throughout the week.

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

I like to view food prep in terms of components versus full meals. Components stretch over multiple meals and may be used in multiple ways. These foods can be mixed and matched with other foods to make complete meals or snacks, and some may be enjoyed alone.

Mornings are extra busy, particularly during the school year, so preparing a food that will simplify breakfast is usually the first thing I think about when creating a prep plan. I also pack lunches in the morning, which is such a stressful activity if I’m not prepared in advance. This means getting a jump-start on lunch is typically the second thing I think about and plan. Dinner prep isn’t a priority for me, unless we have a busy evening planned on the calendar. If that’s the case, I’ve already planned to make something in the Instant Pot, or an easy dinner like burgers, quesadillas, or fajitas.<–Nothing that requires a ton of prep work.


Simplify School Lunch Packing

Over the years, I’ve developed strategies that help me simplify packing my kids’ lunch. I created the Simplified School Lunch Kit to end the school lunch overwhelm and share all my simplifying strategies and lunch plans. It’s possible to simplify and even enjoy lunch packing! 

Here’s what you’ll find in this kit:

  • ready-to-use lunch plans
  • a food prep guide
  • my stress-free approach to planning and packing lunch
  • nourishing recipes my kids love
  • 20 fully-packed lunchbox printable cards to make building a school lunch super easy

Live Simply: School Lunch Packing

BUY NOW

When you think about food prep, ask yourself, “What’s my biggest stressor? What can I do right now to eliminate or reduce this stressor?” Maybe this is breakfast time or maybe this is Tuesday night’s dinner (because soccer and ballet and late work meetings, all on the same day!). Maybe this is packing school lunch. This is where you should focus the majority (or all) of your food prep effort.

Food Prep Plan: 6 Foods You Can Make Now and Enjoy All Week

Today, I want to share 13 breakfasts that you can prep in advance. These breakfast ideas may be prepped on a Sunday afternoon and then enjoyed all week, or may be used to “jump start” your week (breakfast on Monday and Tuesday). Most of these ideas may be mixed and matched with other foods (yogurt, fruit, smoothies, eggs, etc.). While there are 13 ideas on this list, I recommend choosing just one or two foods to prep for the week to come. Don’t underestimate the power of making just one food when it comes to food prep. That may be all you need to simplify and get your week off to a great start!

Food Prep Meal Plan Example

For Breakfast

Let’s talk about how to use your food prep throughout the week. Let’s say you choose to prep Instant Pot Hard or Soft Eggs on a Sunday afternoon. Based on preparing this one thing (which will take you about 15 minutes total), here’s what your breakfast meal plan may look like. I don’t include Saturday and Sunday on this plan because weekends are usually special breakfast days (meaning, you can spend more time in the kitchen, if desired).

Monday: Hard or Soft Cooked Eggs + Smoothies

Tuesday: Yogurt, Fruit, and Sourdough Toast

Wednesday: Hard or Soft Cooked Eggs + Smoothies

Thursday: Oatmeal (it only takes a few minutes to make on the stove-top) with nut butter and fruit

Friday: Oatmeal (double your batch on Thursday and reheat today with a bit of milk or water) with nut butter and fruit

If you have enough eggs, you could serve eggs with the oatmeal or pack eggs in the lunchbox. This depends on your family, how much they eat, and how many eggs you make. Of course, if you prep a couple of things in advance, you’ll have double the variety.

13 Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Granola

Despite the number of real food brands on the market, there are two foods that just taste so much better when you make them at home: salad dressing and granola. Granola is a great food to make on the weekend as a breakfast treat and then store in the freezer to enjoy throughout the month. Yes, the month. That’s how much granola one recipe usually makes.

Recipe to Make

Einkorn Banana-Maple Muffins

Muffins

Muffins will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, or may be stored in the freezer for a few months. If you want to double your food prep efforts, make a double batch of muffins and freeze the extra for later. For most muffin recipes, I don’t recommend doubling the recipe in the same bowl since the results aren’t always favorable. Use two bowls, and whisk together each batch in their own separate bowl. This means cleaning up an extra bowl, but think about the time savings in the future.

Recipes To Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Pancakes and Waffles 

Pancakes and waffles are a favorite breakfast option in our home, so I usually make double batches (double the recipe) once every few weeks and keep extras in the freezer. Once cool, I freeze the pancakes in a gallon-size plastic bag, with parchment paper separating the pancake or waffle layers (to prevent sticking). Reheat pancakes and waffles in the microwave, a skillet, or a toaster oven. Pancakes can also be kept in the fridge for up to a few days.

Recipes to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Oatmeal 

There are so many ways to make oatmeal enjoyable. Sure, you can make a traditional bowl of warm oats, or you can make breakfast cookies with oats or a baked oatmeal. Oats are a great food to make once and enjoy throughout the week.

Recipes to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast Hash

Roast a sheet pan of veggies on the weekend, store the veggies in the fridge, and serve the veggies throughout the week alongside eggs or avocado toast. Reheat the hash in a skillet or in the microwave.

Recipes to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Hard or Soft Cooked Eggs

Hard or soft cooked eggs can be made in just a few minutes using the Instant Pot. Thanks to the hands-off nature of this recipe, you can make a batch of eggs while you’re getting ready in the morning and store extras in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week.

Recipe to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Mini Omelette Cups

Omelette cups are a fun way to add variety to basic eggs. Add meat, veggies, and/or cheese for a hearty make-ahead breakfast. You can make the cups on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week, served at room temperature or reheated in the oven or microwave. Store the cups in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Recipe to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Frittata or Breakfast Casserole

A frittata or breakfast casserole is another way to change up the basic egg routine. Make a frittata or casserole and cut into squares or slices. Store the squares or slices in an air-tight container (in the fridge) and enjoy throughout the week at room temperature or reheated in the oven or microwave.

Recipe to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Sweet Potatoes

Roast up a few sweet potatoes. For breakfast, top with nut butter, cinnamon, butter, and/or hemp seeds. Serve alongside eggs, toast, sautéed spinach and bacon, yogurt, or muffins. Or, add some of the sweet potato to a smoothie along with fruit. You can also enjoy these for lunch, making this a multi-purpose food prep. Serve with a salad for lunch or enjoy as a veggie in the lunchbox. Or, toss some shredded (cooked) chicken with barbecue sauce and serve on top of the sweet potatoes–add broccoli or salad for a complete meal.

Recipe to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast Meat

Cook a breakfast meat over the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Store the cooked meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Serve alongside a hash, eggs, muffins, or oatmeal.

Recipes to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Fruit and Yogurt Cups/Parfaits

Make multiple parfaits and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Add chopped nuts or homemade granola on top for crunch, but wait to do this until you’re ready to enjoy a parfait.

Recipe to Make

"Real Food" Food Prep Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos do require some time to make and prepare, but the result is worth the extra effort. Wrap the burritos in parchment paper and then freeze in a bag (or storage container). Pull individual burritos from the freezer and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Recipes to Make:

"Real Food" Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas

Freezer Smoothie Packs 

Get an assembly line going with your kids and have them stuff some freezer bags with their favorite smoothie ingredients All you have to do in the morning is add a smoothie pack to the blender with your liquid of choice and blend.

Recipes to Make

 

The Best Containers for Storing Food Prep

What You'll Need to Prep Breakfast In Advance

If you’re going to prep food in advance, you’re going to need the appropriate storage containers. I’ve tried a number of different storage containers over the years and have settled on a few favorites. I love these containers because you can see through the containers, which means food is visible. Everything mentioned is glass, too, so they’re reusable and eco-friendly.

  • Ball Mason Jars: I purchase my jars at Target. I find the wide-mouth jars work best for food storage. The metal lids are awful for storage. Trust me, buy the plastic lids! You can find the plastic lids on Amazon or at Target. I use these for storing overnight oats, parfaits, and granola.
  • Snap Ware or OXO (Snap Ware-Like) Containers: You can also find these containers at Target, sold individually. These come in small and large. These are great for storing granola, breakfast meats, hash, sweet potatoes, eggs or an egg dish (omelette cups or frittata slices), or baked oatmeal squares.
  • PyrexYou can find these on Amazon in a set or individually from Target (3 cup size and 6 cup size). These are great for storing granola, breakfast meats, hash, sweet potatoes, eggs or an egg dish (omelette cups or frittata slices), or baked oatmeal squares. The larger size is great for storing pancakes, waffles, and muffins.
  • Ziplock Bags: I use gallon-size bags for storing waffles, pancakes, burritos, and muffins in the freezer. Quart-size bags work well for smoothie packs. I don’t have the freezer space for large containers, so I find the flat bags work best. If you don’t want to use plastic, Stasher bags are the best reusable option.
  • Parchment Paper: Parchment paper works great for dividing up multiple layers of food in a storage container or bag. You can also use parchment paper to wrap breakfast burritos before placing in a bag and freezing.

Want to see how I store prepped food in the fridge? Watch this video for a complete fridge tour, including helpful food storage and fridge organization tips.

 

Food Prep Meal Plans

I’ve created three (free) food prep plans which include breakfast and lunch ideas, as well ideas for carrying your food prep over to dinner. These plans are designed to help you reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen throughout the week.

Food Prep Meal Plan: 5 Food to Prep Now and Enjoy All Week

Food Prep Plan 1:

In this plan, you’ll make chicken, pancakes, eggs, Ranch dressing, and chop veggies for the week. I’ll walk you through a timeline for prepping, ideas for how to use that food prep, and provide you with recipes.

Food Prep Plan: 6 Foods You Can Make Now and Enjoy All Week

Food Prep Plan 2:

In this vegetarian food prep plan, you’ll make a soup, baked oatmeal, crispy chickpeas and hummus, a vinaigrette dressing, and chop veggies. I’ll show you how to prep each component and also offer ideas for how to use these components to build multiple real food meals.

Real Food Meal Prep Plan: Easy Meal Prep Ideas for One Week of Real Food Meals

Food Prep Plan 3:

In this food prep plan, you’ll make homemade pesto and chicken, cook pasta, bake muffins, and roast up some sweet potatoes. I’ll show you how to prep each component and use the components to build multiple nourishing meals.

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