Real Food Tips: 22 On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

School started for us this week so it’s time to say goodbye to our leisurely summer breakfasts or even eating breakfast together at all…at least in my family. There is no way I could stomach food at 6 A.M. in order to eat with my daughter, but if she’s going to have a good day at school she has no choice. According to Parade Magazine, “Children who eat breakfast perform at nearly a grade level higher than those who do not.” So don’t even consider allowing your kids (or yourself!) to skip and instead implement some of these non-processed “on-the-go” breakfast ideas, which have been broken down into three categories:

Make, Freeze, Reheat…

There are quite a lot of breakfast foods you can make in advance, store in the freezer between sheets of wax paper, and then quickly reheat on a busy weekday morning. Just be sure to supplement these homemade breakfast ideas with some fresh fruit!

  1. Whole-grain banana pancakes

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    Whole-Wheat Banana Bread…Yum
  2. Whole-grain waffles (make it into a waffle sandwich with cream cheese, raisins, & cinnamon in the middle!)
  3. Whole-grain biscuits with pieces of cooked bacon & cheddar added to batter
  4. Homemade breakfast burritos (with scrambled eggs and cheese on whole-wheat or corn tortillas) frozen in individual bags or containers
  5. Whole-grain breakfast cookies made with pecans (or pumpkin seeds as a nut substitution)
  6. Whole-grain fruit muffins or zucchini muffins
  7. Whole-grain banana bread (pictured)
  8. Smoothies frozen in reusable freezie pop holders (these are an exception in this list because they don’t have to be heated up!)

Prepare Night Before…

With a little preparation the night before these breakfast ideas could come together fairly quickly before running out the door.

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Little baggies of fresh berries, sliced apples or other fresh fruit
  3. Homemade granola bars
  4. Fruit smoothies (with or without peanut butter) that you can store in an insulated Thermos cup in fridge
  5. Oatmeal that you reheat in morning or overnight oats that can be eaten cold or warm
  6. Cereal with milk if you set out all the supplies at night including bowl, spoon, napkin, cup and a whole-grain cereal like homemade granola
  7. Individual portions of homemade trail mix (nuts, seeds, raisins, dried apple rings, and dried apricots)
  8. Little baggies of whole-grain cereal like store-bought corn puffs or shredded wheat

Grab and Go Morning of…

These are some great pre-packaged “real food” items to have on hand for those mornings where there is literally not a second to spare. Hopefully these ideas will convince you to leave those highly processed “milk and cereal bars” at the store!

  1. Lara Bars (pictured—these bars have no added sweeteners and the “cashew cookie” variety only has two ingredients!)
  2. Bananas or apples (with or without those store-bought individual packets of peanut butter)
  3. Little boxes of raisins
  4. Individual pre-packaged bags of freeze dried fruit (like Funky Monkey brand from Target or Crispy Green from Earth Fare)
  5. Small prepackaged bags of nuts found in baking aisle
  6. Applesauce squeeze packets

For some “real food” school lunch ideas check out this link:

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144 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 22 On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas”

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  1. I love this hearty gluten free breakfast bread-
    sift together
    1 cup gram flour, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1/4 cup ground flax, 1/4 coconut flour, 1 tsp sat, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    4 eggs, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    Bake in a 9″ bread pan for 30 – 40minutes at 350.
    Its rich and nourishing but wont give you a sugar hangover.

  2. Cathy hillhousecarter

    I used to make peanut butter cookies that were just whole wheat flour, p.b., butter and honey. Must have been an egg or a few other little things. Super easy. ..Think the recipe was in an old family circle mag…might be able to find it online.

  3. Trader joes has little prepackaged bags of almonds, cashews, and a trail mix I think. Called “just a handful”. They are not the most Eco friendly choice, but they can’t be beat convenience wise. I also find they stay fresh a lot longer in my purse/backpack as an emergency backup snack than ones you package yourself.

  4. Thanks for putting this together! Mornings are definitely challenging in our family!
    One thing that we find works well for our no-time-gotta-dash mornings is frozen French toast:
    Whenever I make a batch of FT I purposely make lots extra and freeze the extra slices in gallon freezer bags with wax paper separating the slices to prevent them sticking together. Pop the frozen slices in the toaster on the ‘defrost’ setting and then spread with all-fruit jam. I make it into little sandwiches and my kids eat it on the way to the bus or in the car on the way to school. Because I’m making the FT rather than using store-bought it’s totally customizable to our family’s needs. Just choose your favorite loaf of homemade or store-bought bread and dunk each slice in a mixture of beaten eggs and cinnamon. Cook in a lightly greased frying pan until each side is lightly browned and done! You can swap in gluten free bread and play with the egg mixture until it suits your taste buds.

    1. I do this too and it works great! Our toaster doesn’t have a defrost setting but they warm up just fine in the microwave. One thing I do is keep an eye on the reduced price bread shelf- when they have a loaf there with good ingredients I buy it and make the whole loaf into french toast- stale actually is better for FT, and I feel like I’m helping reduce waste and save money :)

  5. I love Lara Bars – especially for traveling. It’s great to have a packaged snack with ingredients I recognize. The pecan pie flavor is my favorite.

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi there, Karan! First of all give yourself a break. A newborn requires pretty much everything we have to give and then 2 other little ones on top of that pretty much guarantees exhaustion! Here is a list of healthy snacks which can go a long way to fuel you and your family when full-on meals becomes a challenge: And here are some very simple go-to meals that you can throw together pretty quickly:,, and Also, and this is coming from a mom that had some serious baby blues, a quick brisk 10-minute walk can completely energize your day…even, and perhaps especially, on days that you can barely muster the energy to breathe. Be kind to yourself. :) ~Amy

  7. I have issues getting enough food throughout the day (especially now that I am breastfeeding.) Now because I’m in a downward cycle, the energy just isn’t there. All of the energy I have is consumed by my 4yr,2yr old and newborn. Everyone always suggests nuts as a quick snack but I’m not a fan of nuts (except peanut butter)With my first son our rule was eat as close to how God made it as you can..pretty much real food. We weren’t as strict as you are but we were much healthier and felt great. Now I just can’t seem to get on track and with no energy to make ahead or prep, it seems we live off of pb/J, chocolate milk and spaghetti…any thoughts or suggestions?

    1. I agree so much with Amy on the 10 minute walk. I had awful PPD & still struggle. But even just a slow stroll to the mailbox helps you clear your mind & refocus. :)

  8. Any ideas for non wheat non corn non potato flour non gluten non soy breakfast. My toddler has allergies to these products also no red for blue fruits or vegetables. No Garlic or onions . I’m very challanged

  9. I really enjoy oatmeal but it’s so blasted HOT in Texas so I found this alternative to hot oatmeal that I’m really linking!

    1 c oats
    1 c yogurt
    1 c milk
    3 t chia seeds

    Mix them all in a mason jar and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning it’s ready and delicious. I’ve added everything from honey, molasses, stevia, date sugar, fruit, syrup, nuts, raisins etc to it. And, I’ve used a variety of milks such as coconut, flax, etc. This size makes about 4 servings. Enjoy!

    1. Great ideas, and I like what Carla offered as well. I try to stay away from too much dairy.

      I will mix Chia seeds and coconut water, in the right proportion it makes a great custard or pudding. I’ll also add blueberries. I’m very mineral oriented, and interested in protein in a non-meat form.

      Great website, 100 days of real food – love it!

  10. I am always thinking of how to make mornings easier! Cereal is the usual here but I am in need of some different breakfast ideas for my boys. This covers it all! Thanks!:)

  11. I applaud your campaign to return to “real food.” But one thing I notice is that the children’s meals seem to be heavily reliant on grains and sweets/fruits. I know you don’t micro-manage the macro nutrients, but as I look down this list, except for the eggs, I just think “sweet sweet sweet! I think they are great as a small side dish or an occasional treat, but to have breakfast be a Lara Bar with 18 grams of sugar? Wow! Even “natural” sugars like dates really raise our blood sugar just like Coke does and should be eaten in moderation or in combination with some protein and fat to moderate the blood sugar spikes. Again, not trying to detract from your efforts. I really support your movement.

  12. How do you thaw/reheat the frozen burritos? This is my favorite breakfast when I have time to make it, but I’ve never tried freezing them for later. How long will they keep in the freezer?


  13. I turned 43 on Sept.3 and decided to start eating clean. I have been doing a lot of research and find it terrifying the “things” they put in food. I found a list of 100 packaged clean foods for 2013. It will make things a little easier until I can get into the groove of tings. I live with chronic pain and standing in the kitchen cooking for just a short time is painful. I have to do things in steps, like prep then set and so on, so what would normally take someone 30min. to do can take me an hour or more. I am super excited and can’t wait to “feel” the effects of clean eating. If anyone has any tips, suggestions or recipes to help I would so appreciate it. :)

    1. Angela,
      What type of chronic pain are you dealing with? Have you noticed a difference since you tried reducing the chemicals in your food? Gluten can be a big cause of inflammation, as can other food allergies/sensitivities. Sadly, I have issues with nightshades causing inflammation pain, so need to minimize tomatoes, peppers and eggplants…my favorite foods!
      I do find some quick relief from food caused inflammation by drinking a ginger/honey/Apple Cider Vinegar drink…you can find recipes on line for that. Kudos to you for your efforts!

  14. I am hypoglycemic and I’m supposed to stay off of carbs, which includes grains and fruits. Any suggestions for breakfast foods that don’t contain carbs? Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi JoAnn. I, too, am hypoglycemic and I depend heavily on lower carb nuts in the morning. My other staple is eggs prepared many many different ways. I make omletts, add salsa and various veggie combinations to keep it interesting. ~Amy

  15. I, like most moms (and dads) that read this blog, started out small and worked my way up. I don’t think that criticizing what others do is in the least bit helpful. If someone eats something you choose not to, or uses a kitchen appliance you choose not to, it’s ok! :) I use the site as a resource- so many good ideas, recipes, etc. I learned so much in the last few weeks! Like how simple making your own Lara bars are! I have 2 kids and a hubby. We make our own breads, eat as many veggies as possible, and avoid processed foods. It’s been a few years now. And honestly, I feel like a better mom for it. But not everyone can do that, every day! But I think we can all support each other- and make ourselves a little healthier in the process! :)

  16. You forgot to add overnight oats to the list! We have them almost daily either for a quick breakfast or for a healthy lunch…fantastic!

  17. WOW! First off. To the moms not using a microwave, good job. While I do not I use mine too often, my husband does (daily). And as for people being negative….. Maybe someone is reading into things a bit much. I have never felt that I was doing something wrong for my family by reading this blog. It has given me ideas and inspired me to do better by my family. My husband and I have two small boys. Almost 5 and 3 1/2 and we want what is best for them. But we also don’t want them to feel left out when we are visiting with friends (or have friends think we are the strange.parents) so we do have cheese its and chips in the house from time to time.

  18. My son has gluten allergies. I noticed that you use whole wheat flour in your recipes. Do you have any preferred methods for substituting a gluten-free flour in your muffins and banana bread? THANKS!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jess. I’m going to direct you to a post by a former team member who has some good advice about choosing gluten free whole grains: Also, check out Deliciously Organic: for gluten and grain free recipes. And while I personally experiment often with various gluten free whole grain flours (gluten free oat flour is my favorite), I have not perfected it enough to share. :) ~Amy

  19. I’m a mom of four boys under six and our family has been trying to cut out processed food. When I read some of the post I feel overwhelmed like I have so far to go lol! Really appreciate all the recipes.

  20. Breakfast doesn’t have to look like “breakfast” We eat leftovers or anything else that doesn’t involve grains or dairy.

  21. I have been reading the comments and just wanted to add a little tidbit. First you can have organic gmo and you can have non gmo that isn’t organic. I have done way too much research on this lately and honestly, finding both ends up costing so much money that it isn’t worth it. Next, homemade Lara bars are ridiculously easy to make. I use a recipe from that is wonderful. There have been a few other people post from other websites. I know Kroger recently had Lara bars 10 for $10 which comes out cheaper than making them yourself. And thank you for all of your awesome ideas. We have completed the 100 days of real food and I can tell you the difference in my kids is overwhelmingly positive. Thank you so much for all of the ideas.

  22. Crock pot oatmeal is a staple in our house at least once a week. 1 c Steel cut oats, 1 c applesauce and 3 c water. Cinnamon to taste. Or use apple butter instead…or use pureed pumpkin and adjust the spices. Or just use your imagination! Turn on as you go to bed and it cooks all night! I use my small crock for this one.

  23. I find breakfast to be the easiest meal of the day to prepare. It takes me 5 min to make a smoothie and some toast. Some days I also scramble a few eggs. Super fast and nutritious!

  24. Vegetables can be good at breakfast too! I know our culture has “breakfast foods” that are different from lunch/dinner foods, but actually we really can eat whatever for breakfast. My husband doesn’t like traditional breakfast food, so he will often heat up last nights meal.
    Also, when I was in England, tomato slices were served at every continental breakfast we ate at. At first I thought it was odd to have a vegetable (technically fruit?) at breakfast, but it totally works! Especially with them in season right now, add a tomato to your breakfast.

  25. Wow. Some of these comments are really judgmental. Some people who are trying to make positive changes will read this and think “Good Lord, I’m doing it all wrong.” Rather than chastising “GMO food is NOT real food!!!!” why not be helpful and kind in your words.

    Great blog and the blog posts are wonderful. I’ll be back to read. But some of you ladies need to realize that just because you eat non gmo, gluten free (I’m a big gluten fan, myself and take great joy in making amazing whole wheat gluten-y bread), and never use a microwave does not elevate you to the status of demigod. Not everyone has all of your resources, and we all need to come to healthy eating in our own way.

    1. Well stated! Too many opinions and not enough encouragement and celebrating success on any healthy changes, no matter HOW minor they are! I’ve only been able to make a few small changes but I feel good about the ones I have made, so I don’t appreciate being made to feel like I’ve failed b/c I haven’t gone “all the way” like Lisa and her family have done. What works for them and some of the people on here doesn’t necessarily work for everyone!

  26. My kids are over the smoothies, nuts, eggs….they want bread. We have a dairy free, gluten free kid. Most all of the things listed(besides the ones my kids are over) are wheat. Any good replacement recipes? I’ve made coconut bread, but they will eat it when it comes out of oven….but not day after! I’d LOVE some suggestions;). Thanks for what you do!

    1. Look into Elena’s Pantry? Gluten free/ paleo crackers, breads, muffin recipes. Haven’t done bread yet- but muffins are ok when gf and craving something grainy.

    2. We use better batter and Pamela’s mixes for GFCF breads, bagels, etc. I think it tastes best fresh out of the oven, but always yummy when toasted too. I use the Pamela’s to make and freeze bagels to toast.

    3. I make banana muffins made with oats in place of flour and freeze them. When I want to serve, I just stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes. They taste freshly made and are amazing! I sometimes add nuts for morning protein.

    4. Hi,
      We’ve been grain free for several years now. We have allergies to many foods, so have worked out a lot of substitutes. This is a recipe that I make frequently.
      If you do a search on Paleo recipes you will find a lot, and any GAPS recipes that call for almond flour can be made using sunflower seed flour instead. It’s a lot easier to find organic sunflower seeds, and they are a lot less pricey than organic almonds. I have made this recipe as printed, and also egg free by substituting one ripe banana and three good tablespoons of cooked butternut squash or pumpkin or other mushy egg substitute.
      It turns out wonderfully. You can skip the honey and cinnamon, add a little more coconut oil and make a savory bread by adding herbs, onions, salt, pepper etc.

    1. There are recipes out there though to make some of the Lara Bars. I believe Heavenly Homemaker is one of the sites that I’ve seen recipes on.

  27. This may be a silly question but how do you reheat? I do not own a microwave, and don’t ever plan to, do you use a toaster oven?

    1. You can either reheat in the toaster oven or you can put in a shallow saucepan on low heat, add a little milk or other liquid and then put a lid on it. Takes no time at all to reheat the old fashioned way. Reheating always takes less time than cooking the oatmeal, grits or whatever else you have.

    2. Kathleen,
      No microwave or toaster oven here. I use stove top or my oven to reheat everything for our family of five. Works great!! Good luck!

  28. I was just wondering the same thing as Heather. I was off cereal for a long time because I didn’t want to drink milk…but have recently started to use almond milk with cereal mostly for the extra calcium. I mix different types of multi-grain O’s with honey nut O’s and fiber rich O’s (cereals from trader joes). I’ve googled cereals on the Internet and see that even these more natural cereals appear to be highly processed..? There’s something that’s produced when the cereals get toasted at such high heats. This something is apparently not so great for our bodies. So what to do? Abandon cold cereal and go with oatmeal? And the awesome list in this blog post?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Bess. This was my reply above: “Hi there. We do not have a list of “approved” cereals and Lisa does tend to rely mostly on her granola. You can find cereals that are 100% whole puffed wheat or 100% whole shredded wheat that fall within the rules. You can also check out Ezekiel’s sprouted wheat cereals.” Most cereals you find in grocery stores would be highly processed. I honestly have not yet read about the toasting of cereal and high heat but Lisa’s granola is always a delicious way to go: ~Amy

  29. I just recently found this wonderful blog and I, probably like you, thought I always had a fairly healthy diet. I’m realizing now that a lot of the things I eat are probably highly processed and would like to try to make the switch. I’m wondering about cereals. I love cold cereal for breakfast. For the past several years I’ve mostly gotten ‘natural’ cereals that seems ok, like Barbara’s bakery and Kashi cereals. What is your stance on cereal? The sugar used in the Barbara’s is mollasses, which I know is not your honey or maple syrup but I would think that is unrefined sugar. The rest of the ingredients are pronounce-able. Just curious if I have to cut out box cereal and start making my own granola (but I’ll probably try that too!)

    1. It is not Real Food if it is GMO.. and it’s GMO if it’s not organic. Also, store bought cereals contain a cancer causing preservative (BHT or BHA). Use the Homemade Granola recipe! It’s awesome!

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. We do not have a list of “approved” cereals and Lisa does tend to rely mostly on her granola. You can find cereals that are 100% whole puffed wheat or 100% whole shredded wheat that fall within the rules. You can also check out Ezekiel’s sprouted wheat cereals. ~Amy

  30. I have been making some home made energy bars using beans etc. So far so good. I am definitely going to incorporate some of these ideas though..only so many days I can have energy bars for breakfast!

  31. Can you recommend a brand of cereal or few cereals you buy at the store? Looking for something non GMO and organic. We already eat Ezekiel and your cereal (made with oats), but my husband has been missing the more traditional cereals he grew up with. I appreciate your help.

  32. I just bought coconut oil, but not sure how to cook with it. If you use it in a recipe like the banana bread do you use the same amount called for and then do you heat it so it mixes better since it is a solid form? Just not sure what to do with it. Thanks for any feedback!

  33. I know this is a pretty old post to add a comment to but thought I would anyway. Fire up the crockpot before bed with steel cut oats, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices (or just cinnamon). Wake up the next morning to a gloriously delicious hot breakfast. I like to top it off with some plain greek yogurt.

    You can of course sub the pumpkin with pretty much anything your imagination can dream up (banana, butternut squash, apples). I think the next time I try this I will be going for a little tropical feel with banana and some unsweetened coconut, and maybe some pineapple.

  34. Great blog and tips, but as much as I love Larabars, I don’t buy them anymore because they are against the labeling of GMO foods.

    Also, consider Wildtree products. They are delicious, and free of all fillers, dyes, MSG, GMO, etc. They are sold by rep, home party etc. But you can order directly online.

  35. I saw Larabar as being owned by one of the companies fighting GMO labeling:

    I need to research it more, but something to think about. GMO vs real, etc. Why would they fight it unless they use GMOs and don’t want to label? There may be more about it that the surface info, though… They can stand by their own ethics, but when it comes to the companies that own them, can they be forced to use cheaper GMO products?

  36. I make up a batch of whole wheat biscuits on the weekend and store them in the fridge. Then, in the morning, I scramble an egg, put it in between the two biscuits halves, sprinkle some cheese on top, and microwave for 20 seconds. It’s delicious! (Add some bacon, and you’ve got a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit that’s better than anything you can get from Mickey D’s.) Plus, it keeps me pretty full. I eat around 6:30 am, and I don’t start getting hungry until around 11:00.

  37. I recently started to switch up breakfast after inspiration from travel in other parts of the world such as Asia. I have started eating vegetables, quinoa, rice, etc. for breakfast. That way I get veggies in the beginning of the day and I don’t get bored with the same American types of breakfasts. There’s no rule that says you can’t have health dinner/lunch meals for breakfast!