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Fuel Your Morning

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, but today’s busy schedules leave many Americans too little time to eat before starting their work day. It needn’t be that way. Despite all the unhealthy fast-food breakfast options out there, many nutritious and cheap breakfast meals can be prepared easily the night before to get you going at top speed.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are also plenty of benefits to eating breakfast, including providing energy for your day, improving heart health, lowering the risk of diabetes, and reducing brain fog.

Here is over a month’s worth of budget-friendly breakfasts that use kitchen basics and pantry staples that you may already have on hand to help you save money and feed everyone in your house. They’re great for meal planning, easy to scale up for feeding youngsters, and many of the ingredients stretch over numerous preparations.

English muffin with a white bowl of hummus with a blurred background of English muffinsEnglish muffin with a white bowl of hummus with a blurred background of English muffins

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English Muffin With Hummus

Hummus may be popular as an appetizer or snack, but in many parts of the Middle East, it’s a standard breakfast food. Take a cue from the Mediterranean diet and add hummus to an English muffin for a quick, healthy breakfast. Hummus can be prepared from scratch for about the same price as a prepackaged container.

Recipe: Inspired Taste

Rice porridge with cinnamon in a white bowl on a wooden table, surrounded by sticks of cinnamon and almonds with a blurred background of a spoonRice porridge with cinnamon in a white bowl on a wooden table, surrounded by sticks of cinnamon and almonds with a blurred background of a spoon

Liljam/shutterstock

Rice Porridge

Make up rice porridge on Sunday night, set in the fridge, and warm up on Monday morning. One-quarter cup of rice is enough for one person. Serve with a fried egg and a dash of soy sauce for a savory and filling start.

Recipe: What to Cook Today

Focus on two halves of a breakfast burrito stacked on each other on a rustic piece of wood with a blurred background of half browns and tomatoesFocus on two halves of a breakfast burrito stacked on each other on a rustic piece of wood with a blurred background of half browns and tomatoes

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Breakfast Burrito

There are plenty of fillings that can be added to a breakfast burrito, but the base concept is the same: Take a tortilla, fill it with scrambled eggs, beans, sausage, cheese, and any other ingredients you care to incorporate, roll it up, then give it a quick bake in the oven so that the cheese melts. Not a bad way to start the day, right?

Recipe: The Modern Proper

Focus on two slices of bread egg-in-a-hole, with heart-shaped holes, on a white plate with a fork and knife, on a blue dotted-lined white napkinFocus on two slices of bread egg-in-a-hole, with heart-shaped holes, on a white plate with a fork and knife, on a blue dotted-lined white napkin

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Egg-In-a-Hole

Sate your inner gourmet by toasting a slice of bread, cutting a hole in the center, laying the toast in a frying pan, and cooking an egg inside the hole.

Recipe: Food Network

Cooked oatmeal with blueberries and slices of banana in a steel blue bowl, on a steel blue napkin with a spoon, surrounded by blueberries and strawberries on a rustic wooden tableCooked oatmeal with blueberries and slices of banana in a steel blue bowl, on a steel blue napkin with a spoon, surrounded by blueberries and strawberries on a rustic wooden table

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Oatmeal

Doctoring up bowl of oatmeal is an easy and economical way to start the day. A 42-ounce canister of plain oats (around $4 at Target) can feed about 30 people. A spoonful of maple syrup or honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon adds a touch of sweetness — without all the sugar and sodium of instant oatmeal packets.

Tip: Make a big batch of oatmeal in your slow-cooker to use the entire week.

Looking for inspiration? Check out our roundup of creative oatmeal ideas.

Closeup of quinoa breakfast bowl with a spoon in a white bowl, with a woman holding the spoon and bowl, with a blurred background of table and the torso of the womanCloseup of quinoa breakfast bowl with a spoon in a white bowl, with a woman holding the spoon and bowl, with a blurred background of table and the torso of the woman

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Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa isn’t just for savory salads. You can also turn the affordable ingredients into the main focus of a protein-packed breakfast bowl. Top it with slices of avocado, an egg any way you like it, some greens, and a little bit of hot sauce.

Recipe: Eat with Clarity

A soft-boiled egg and soldier in a pink heart egg dish, next to a pink plate of soldiers, and eggs in the backgroundA soft-boiled egg and soldier in a pink heart egg dish, next to a pink plate of soldiers, and eggs in the background

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Soft-Boiled Eggs and Soldiers

If you have a hankering for protein but only 10 minutes to spare, opt for soft-boiled eggs and “soldiers.” While the eggs simmer (about two minutes for the perfect consistency), toast and butter a slice or two of bread and cut into strips to mop up the yolk.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Focus on an everything bagel, surrounded by three other bagels with a rustic backgroundFocus on an everything bagel, surrounded by three other bagels with a rustic background

Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Bagel

A newly traditional American breakfast is the simple toasted bagel. Up the flavor and protein with a schmear of peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese.

Related: The Best Bagel Shops Across America

Focus on two pieces of egg and avocado on toast on an olivewood serving board, with a blurred background of napkinsFocus on two pieces of egg and avocado on toast on an olivewood serving board, with a blurred background of napkins

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Egg and Avocado on Toast

An interesting and easy twist on the morning meal is toast, fried egg, and sliced avocado. This green fruit may be pricey out of season (fall to spring), but during summer, avocados are plentiful, affordable, and brimming with healthy fat and nutrients. A touch of cayenne pepper adds a kick.

Recipe: Feel Good Foodie

Two jars of overnight oats with strawberries in glass jars with two wooden spoons, on a speckled white table with a beige napkinTwo jars of overnight oats with strawberries in glass jars with two wooden spoons, on a speckled white table with a beige napkin

Arx0nt/istockphoto

Overnight Oats

Sure, it’s another oatmeal recipe, but overnight oats allow for a creamier texture than your usual bowl of oats made that morning. It’s also highly customizable: Just add rolled oats, milk or a dairy-alternative, yogurt, and a sweetener to a mason jar, then let it soak overnight. Add your favorite fruits, nuts, and other toppings in the morning, and you’re ready to go.

Recipe: Downshiftology

A strawberry waffle with strawberries on a white plate with a fork on a light grey wooden table with a blurred background of a white bowl of strawberriesA strawberry waffle with strawberries on a white plate with a fork on a light grey wooden table with a blurred background of a white bowl of strawberries

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Strawberry Waffle

For a cheap and fast restaurant-quality breakfast, rehydrate dried strawberries, toast a waffle, and ladle on the fruit. Fresh berries are always an option but cost more — especially out of season. Tip: To achieve the fluffiest waffles, go Belgian style. This ceramic waffle maker comes highly rated and would make an excellent gift for any breakfast lover.

Recipe: Allrecipes

A white bowl of banana Nutella oatmeal on a white napkin on a rustic and worn dark wooden tableA white bowl of banana Nutella oatmeal on a white napkin on a rustic and worn dark wooden table

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Banana Nutella Oatmeal

For another take on oatmeal, stir in a spoonful of Nutella and top with sliced banana. The sweet hazelnut spread might seem pricey, but each jar holds about 20 servings. And a banana is one of the best cheap additions to an already hearty dish. Just half will suffice; the other half can be eaten with lunch or thrown in a smoothie.

Recipe: Simply Scratch

Looking for more creative things to add to your oatmeal besides Nutella? Check out these other peanut butter alternatives and delicious spreads.

Focus on scrambled eggs on a white plate with a fork on a bright yellow napkin on a natural wooden tableFocus on scrambled eggs on a white plate with a fork on a bright yellow napkin on a natural wooden table

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Scrambled Eggs

Scramble an egg or two with a touch of green onion and garlic for a cheap and protein-rich breakfast. A single green onion should suffice for up to three servings, and a clove of garlic goes a long way. Mixing in a tablespoon of Greek yogurt adds fluffiness and five grams of protein.

Recipe: BellyFull

Two yogurt parfaits in mason glass jars with two porcelain spoons and surrounded by strawberries and blueberries, on a rustic wooden table with a blurred background of the table and a brick wallTwo yogurt parfaits in mason glass jars with two porcelain spoons and surrounded by strawberries and blueberries, on a rustic wooden table with a blurred background of the table and a brick wall

Alena Haurylik/shutterstock

Yogurt Parfait

Plain yogurt is a healthy, filling, and budget-wise ingredient for multiple morning meals. Add a few slices of seasonal or dried fruit, a few spoonfuls of granola or muesli, and a bit of honey.

Recipe: Food Network

Two slices of peanut butter and banana toast with a honey dipper on a white plate on a wooden table with a blurred background of ingredientsTwo slices of peanut butter and banana toast with a honey dipper on a white plate on a wooden table with a blurred background of ingredients

Olyina/shutterstock

Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

This easy grab-and-go meal requires just two slices of toast covered with a thin layer of peanut butter and sliced banana, sandwiched together. A small banana contains a whopping 12 percent of the fiber needed daily. Two tablespoons of nut butter should be plenty, so a $3 to $6 jar lasts a while.

Top view of coconut milk oatmeal in a glass jar, surrounded by raspberries and coconut flakes on a white tableTop view of coconut milk oatmeal in a glass jar, surrounded by raspberries and coconut flakes on a white table

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Coconut Milk Oatmeal

Prepare morning oatmeal with coconut milk instead of water for an invigorating taste of the tropics. Coconut milk is relatively inexpensive, starting at about $2 for a 32-ounce carton. When the oatmeal is ready, sprinkle dried coconut on top and fantasize about the next vacation.

Recipe: A Virtual Vegan

A blueberry and banana smoothie in a glass jar with a white straw with stars, next to blueberries and bananas, on a beige painted table, with a blurred background of a light blue wallA blueberry and banana smoothie in a glass jar with a white straw with stars, next to blueberries and bananas, on a beige painted table, with a blurred background of a light blue wall

Arx0nt/istockphoto

Tropical Smoothie

Continuing with the tropical theme, get out the blender and whip up a smoothie made from yogurt, frozen blueberries, and orange juice — in just minutes.

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Three slices of apple with peanut butter and granola on a piece of paper bag on a rustic grey wooden table, surrounded by ingredients and napkinsThree slices of apple with peanut butter and granola on a piece of paper bag on a rustic grey wooden table, surrounded by ingredients and napkins

jenifoto/istockphoto

Apple With Peanut Butter and Granola

When there’s absolutely no time to lose in the morning, an apple sliced into rings, smeared with peanut butter, and sprinkled with granola is a perfect perk-me-up breakfast. The combination of flavors, nutrients, and textures should keep you going until lunchtime.

Focus on an egg sandwich on a wooden cutting board on a wooden table with eggs blurred in the backgroundFocus on an egg sandwich on a wooden cutting board on a wooden table with eggs blurred in the background

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Egg Sandwich

An English muffin, a fried egg, and a slice of cheddar cheese make a hearty, fast, and low-cost breakfast sandwich.

Recipe: Cabot Creamery

Closeup of apple cinnamon oatmeal with a spoon in a white bowl, surrounded by ingredients, with a blurred backgroundCloseup of apple cinnamon oatmeal with a spoon in a white bowl, surrounded by ingredients, with a blurred background

Africa Studio/shutterstock

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Another tasty take on the bottomless bowl of oatmeal includes dried ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a chopped apple. Cook the oats in milk, add the spices, and stir in the apple when ready to serve.

Top view of a strawberry-yogurt smoothie in a glass with a grey lined white straw, with a strawberry perched on the rim, with a blurred background of a light brown wooden tableTop view of a strawberry-yogurt smoothie in a glass with a grey lined white straw, with a strawberry perched on the rim, with a blurred background of a light brown wooden table

Romrodphoto/shutterstock

Strawberry-Yogurt Smoothie

A strawberry-yogurt smoothie can be whipped up in seconds for taking on the road or drinking in the kitchen and sparkles during berry season, when the fruit is reasonably priced, super sweet, and perhaps locally grown. It can even salvage berries that are getting a bit soft for eating. Add a touch of orange juice for extra zing.

Recipe: Savory Nothings

Focus on hard-boiled eggs and toast on a glazed brown ceramic plateFocus on hard-boiled eggs and toast on a glazed brown ceramic plate

photogal/shutterstock

Hard-Boiled Eggs and Toast

Hard-boiled eggs can be prepared the night before. Once cooked, they will keep in the fridge for the rest of the week. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy with a slice of toast.

Recipe: Love and Lemons

Cottage cheese in a white bowl and matching white plate with a spoon in the foreground and peanut butter toast on a white plate, blurred in the backgroundCottage cheese in a white bowl and matching white plate with a spoon in the foreground and peanut butter toast on a white plate, blurred in the background

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Cottage Cheese and Peanut Butter Toast

A bowl of cottage cheese accompanied by pieces of fruit and a slice of toast with peanut butter is a healthy, inexpensive, and filling first meal of the day.

A grapefruit half with two slices next to two full grapefruits on a rustic wooden tableA grapefruit half with two slices next to two full grapefruits on a rustic wooden table

margouillat photo/shutterstock

Grapefruit

What’s the ultimate quick and cheap breakfast? Half a grapefruit. Sprinkle with some sugar to smooth out the tart and tangy citrus taste. The pink/red varieties are the sweetest.

Top view of yogurt with granola and Nutella in a white bowl, next to a spoon, surrounded by a glass jar of granola and a white jug of milk on a dark wooden tableTop view of yogurt with granola and Nutella in a white bowl, next to a spoon, surrounded by a glass jar of granola and a white jug of milk on a dark wooden table

OksanaKiian/istockphoto

Yogurt With Granola and Nutella

End the week with a sweet and cheap breakfast of yogurt blended with a swirl of Nutella and topped with granola for crunch and texture.

Focus on peanut butter smoothie in a glass with two yellow and white striped straws, surrounded by blurred ingredients on a wooden tableFocus on peanut butter smoothie in a glass with two yellow and white striped straws, surrounded by blurred ingredients on a wooden table

JeniFoto/shutterstock

Peanut Butter Smoothie

Reverting to the smoothie theme, blend together peanut butter, a ripe banana, and dairy or almond milk or plain yogurt. Serve in a glass and drink, or pour into a bowl, add some granola, and eat with a spoon.

Recipe: Well Plated

Closeup of scrambled eggs with tomatoes in a white bowlCloseup of scrambled eggs with tomatoes in a white bowl

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Scrambled Eggs With Tomatoes

Try a tomato-egg scramble for a flavorful, frugal breakfast. Tomatoes are affordably priced throughout the year but especially cheap in the summer. Simply add diced tomato to scrambled eggs and continue cooking until the tomato is slightly soft (but not mushy).

Recipe: Food52

Apple walnut oatmeal with a spoon in a yellow mug with white polka dots on a beige saucer, on a striped napkin, surrounded by ingredientsApple walnut oatmeal with a spoon in a yellow mug with white polka dots on a beige saucer, on a striped napkin, surrounded by ingredients

YuliiaHolovchenko/shutterstock

Apple Walnut Oatmeal

An ideal fall breakfast combines oatmeal (yup, again), apple slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of walnuts for added crunch and texture.

Focus on tomato and herb omelet in a cast iron skillet on a black burner of a stove with a blurred backgroundFocus on tomato and herb omelet in a cast iron skillet on a black burner of a stove with a blurred background

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Tomato and Herb Omelet

Up the ante with parsley, cilantro, and basil to give eggs more flavor plus an abundance of nutrients. Whole bunches of herbs are usually about $2 and can last for a couple of weeks. Try your hand at an omelet with the herbs and fresh sliced or chopped tomatoes.

Recipe: Food.com

Closeup of nutty granola with a spoon in a beige mug, on the left side, on a wooden table, with a blurred background of a glass of milk, a spoon, and more itemsCloseup of nutty granola with a spoon in a beige mug, on the left side, on a wooden table, with a blurred background of a glass of milk, a spoon, and more items

Milen Kanev/shutterstock

Nutty Granola

Add variety to a morning bowl of cereal with homemade nutty granola. A recipe from Better Homes and Gardens must be prepared in advance — 45 minutes from start to finish — but makes eight servings, plenty to last well into the following week or to share with family and friends.

Recipe: Better Homes and Gardens

Greek yogurt with honey and cinnamon in a glass dessert cup, with a honey dipper leaning on it, next to a spoon, on a wooden table with a glass jar of honey in the backgroundGreek yogurt with honey and cinnamon in a glass dessert cup, with a honey dipper leaning on it, next to a spoon, on a wooden table with a glass jar of honey in the background

Peredniankina/shutterstock

Greek Yogurt With Honey and Cinnamon

While honey isn’t exactly cheap, it doesn’t take much to sweeten a morning meal. Cinnamon is a cheap spice that, when combined with the honey, helps to perk up plain, protein-packed Greek yogurt.

Top view of cinnamon bun smoothie in a small glass, with a cinnamon stick perched on top, on a white table with two heart cookies blurred in the backgroundTop view of cinnamon bun smoothie in a small glass, with a cinnamon stick perched on top, on a white table with two heart cookies blurred in the background

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Cinnamon Bun Smoothie

Some rave that almond milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup taste like a cinnamon roll in liquid form. When blended with ice, they come together to make a cheap, creamy smoothie. Maple syrup is the priciest ingredient, and only a tablespoon is needed to add flavor.

Recipe: Breakfast for Dinner

Closeup of cinnamon cream of wheat in a blue bowl on a wooden tableCloseup of cinnamon cream of wheat in a blue bowl on a wooden table

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Cinnamon Cream of Wheat

For a large family, punch up Cream of Wheat with a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to taste. The prepackaged porridge usually comes in 28-ounce boxes for about $4, which makes up to 24 servings. The homemade variety requires milk and ground wheat. The latter isn’t hard to find in the bulk bins for $1 to $2 a pound.

Discover more budget-friendly meals here.

This article was originally published on Cheapism

Young parents and their small kids talking while having breakfast in dining room.Young parents and their small kids talking while having breakfast in dining room.

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