Once my kids learned how to pour a bowl of cereal, my life got easier. Their independence translated into five more minutes of sleep — for me. While it was a welcome break from the preschool years, a couple of things got me back in the habit of putting breakfast on the table.

First, my son got sick and lost about ten pounds. My focus shifted from convenience to calories and cold cereal wasn’t getting the job done. More recently, my fourth grade daughter started getting picky about what she eats. I want to take advantage of this crucial time to instill good eating habits before she hits the high-pressure teen years.

Cooking is not my favorite activity. As with other things I don’t enjoy, I find having a system in place eases the burden. Certainly we don’t strictly live by the following breakfast schedule, but having one less thing to think about at 6:30 in the morning has helped our family get up and out the door.

Monday — Eggs and Toast

I have more energy at the beginning of the week so I put my heavy hitter out front. At one point I would have thought it crazy to whip out a skillet before noon, but eggs (especially fried eggs) don’t take much longer than pouring a bowl of cereal. If you're worried about cholesterol, mix full eggs with egg white-only, or buy pre-packaged egg substitute at the grocery store. Pop in some toast and you’re done.

Tuesday — Oatmeal

I use quick-cooking oats. By the time I’m done making coffee, the water is almost boiling. You can also enlist older kids’ help by using the microwave packets instead. A lot of people I know are adding ground flax seed to oatmeal. It's full of Omega 3 fatty acids, and their kids don't even notice the addition.

Wednesday — Fruit and Yogurt

If I’m feeling fancy I’ll call this a parfait. Whether you cut up fresh fruit or grab a fruit cup out of the pantry, this is a super quick, easy, and nutritious breakfast. You can even sprinkle some of that dry cereal on top for fun and crunch.

Thursday — Cold Cereal

I didn’t say we never eat cereal. I keep about eight boxes on hand all the time. Stock the family favorites and they will be happy to serve themselves. Don't forget to keep healthy extras on hand. Let kids add raisins and nuts in their preferred ratios. If you can't resist their pleas for sugary cereal, mix it half-and-half with a healthier option to cut down on sugar and save money.

Friday — Pancakes or Waffles

This one sounds like a Supermom option, but it’s not. I buy the frozen pancakes in regular and blueberry flavor. One minute in the microwave and they’re done. Smothered in syrup as kids are likely to do, this isn’t the healthiest option, but it’s one day out of the week. Plus, most large grocery stores carry whole-grain or gluten-free varieties. Top with leftover fruit from Wednesday and you're set!

Nutritional experts often give conflicting advice from year to year, but one message has remained constant since I was a child: breakfast really IS the most important meal of the day. And with a few tricks, it's easy to provide.