Breakfast patterns

"It is convenient to follow patterns in meal planning. These are general outlines which give a working plan for each meal and save much time in menu making. Such type or pattern meals need not be monotonous. Indeed, with their use, a very satisfying variety in meals is possible."
--The Family's Food, 1931

As I read this, and the continuing section about breakfast patterns, I realized that I have been using meal patterns, especially for breakfast, ever since I started cooking regular meals. It just makes sense: take something from each food group that you need, and make a meal from it.

For breakfast, I try to have a protein, a whole grain, and a fruit. That could mean
  • Yogurt, oatmeal, and orange juice
  • Poached eggs on whole wheat toast with fruit
  • A smoothie with a whole wheat English muffin sandwich with ham and eggs
I've been pretty bad at making breakfast for all of us lately, but I'm trying to get back into my routine. I find that having a pattern to follow for each day helps, but having a weekly pattern helps too, especially as I'm not a morning person and I find it hard to think coherently right after I get up.

Here's my weekly pattern, subject to change. I'm not listing fruits because I'll just be using whatever I get from the grocery store. If we're out of fresh fruit, I'll go for frozen, canned, or juice.
  • Monday: Oatmeal, yogurt
  • Tuesday: Waffles, scrambled eggs
  • Wednesday: Poached eggs on toast
  • Thursday: Porridge (cream of wheat, multi-grain, etc.), yogurt or boiled eggs
  • Friday: English muffin sandwiches with eggs and ham
  • Saturday: Granola or cereal
  • Sunday: Whatever I feel like making
Do you use patterns in your meal planning?


  1. Hi Mrs. M. Thanks for the patterns. I have a hard time getting thrilled with eating breakfast. Mind you, it’s my favorite one to eat or cook, just brunch time? But as the guys at my home like to eat, I cook. The patterns will be a help to make their breakfast, and, OK, mine, more organized and nutritious! Thanks for the post today;) ♥ Lewaina

  2. Great post. I just love the info in those older books. And I like your examples too.

    Maybe it would help if you were to make the different sections of your pattern in a sort of grabngo way? Like, whole grain muffins, yogurt and fruit salad already divided into cups?

    I bought a bunch of little half cup containers at the dollar store (6 for a dollar) and I use them to section things and stack all the like things together. For example, when I open a quart of applesauce, I put it all into eight little cups, then put them all in a row together in the fridge. Same for yogurt or fruit salad or cooked squash. That way, I can grab one thing from each row and just put them into Ben's lunch bag. Or out on the counter for myself. I do the same thing with leftover portions, so making lunch the rest of the week will be easy. (It seems a bit more sanitary to me as well, than continuing to dip into the same container of soup a bunch of times too.)

    So maybe some make-ahead breakfast things once in a while would help when you're feeling extra tired in the morning?

  3. I wish I could've been like that. I was a terrible cook and worse planner. Now living alone, I don't care if something gets cooked or now. There are perks.

  4. Those are great ideas, Bethany! I have a ton of tiny containers like yours, and I like using them for small portions, too. They're also great in lunches, like you said.

  5. I guess I have patterns too, I never really thought about it that way. There are about 4 breakfasts that we rotate through, sometimes I will so something diffrent for a little variety, but usually not ;-)

    I like your ideas, I think I am going to use some as a part of our breakfast pattern.

  6. I wish I did that! I'm single, so I am not terribly concerned with pleasing any palate but my own :). My meals are pretty much a combination of egg whites, yogurt, greens, cheese, avocados, frozen berries, and whole grain bread. Breakfast is usually a protein shake with greens powder, drunk on the way to work. I reason that I'd rather drink my 2-minute prep time breakfast than shorten my morning prayer time...I just don't have the energy to make a tasty or attractive morning meal!

  7. I've found it really useful to make a double batch of waffles on the weekend and freeze half. On weekdays I simply pop the frozen waffles in the toaster to warm and crisp them. It adds variety to our breakfasts and isn't any extra work at all.

  8. I tend to lean toward what Bethany suggested. I pre-pack my breakfast often, as I am usually rushing through my morning routine in order to make it to work on time. I often hard boil eggs to keep in the fridge and really like making a low-sugar fruit bread recipe over the weekend that I can grab a slice or two of quickly. I also make an old family standby: breakfast burritos. Eggs sausage, cheese, peppers, all wrapped up in a tortilla and frozen for my breakfast-shunning husband to warm up at 10 or so, when his appetite finally wakes up.

  9. I never really thought about this before!

    Great post. Thanks. This will definitely help with menu planning and grocery shopping.

  10. Hi!
    I never really thought of this before, but I guess I have been doing patterns for years. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!!


  11. Breakfast is the only reason I get out of bed in the mornings, sometimes. :) I Love Breakfast. I do follow a pattern just like yours. I follow "patterns" for lunch and dinner, too.