As prices go up for basic groceries, cheap breakfast ideas may become more and more of a necessity. Most of us don’t want to give up a healthy breakfast due to cost. And if you never miss breakfast, you might need some easy cheap breakfast ideas to shake up your routine. Not to worry, we have breakfast ideas that are both cost-efficient and nutritious.
Table of contents
- Why breakfast can be beneficial
- Cheap breakfast ideas to make ahead of time
- Ideas to make in the morning
- Ideas with no prep required
- Expert tip
- What are 3 healthy breakfast options?
- Is breakfast the cheapest meal?
- What are some low-fat breakfast ideas?
- Is it OK not to eat breakfast?
- Articles related to meal planning
- Cheap breakfast ideas can improve your life and your finances!
Why breakfast can be beneficial
While I’m a major breakfast fan, I know not everyone is big on a morning meal. But there are solid reasons for eating breakfast daily for a healthy lifestyle.
Breakfast gives you energy for your day
As the Cleveland Clinic notes, many of us need breakfast each morning to fuel us for the day. Breakfast doesn’t have to take place immediately upon waking up. Try to eat something within the first hour or two to refill your energy reserves.
Whether you prefer to work out first and then take in your morning nutrients, most of us need breakfast for energy. Starting the morning can be a struggle if you haven’t eaten a good breakfast.
Breakfast, which includes a fair amount of protein, gives you the nutrients you need to live your life. Even a frugal breakfast can help you to focus on your mental tasks, manage all your physical work and exercise, and improve your mood.
Cheap breakfast ideas can prevent overeating and overspending
Not only does eating breakfast help you to get an energy boost, but it can also help prevent you from getting overly hungry. Some people get “hangry”( a mixture of hungry and angry) if they fight their hunger too long.
Thus it’s important to eat something so you curb your hunger. Even if it’s a small meal, eating breakfast can prevent you from becoming overly hungry.
Hunger can impact your mood, weaken you, and lead to overspending. Imagine skipping breakfast, and mid-morning, you start to feel your stomach rumble and groan from hunger pains.
In desperation, you buy a breakfast meal from a vending machine. Or you spend even more money ordering more food at lunchtime.
You can avoid these expensive temptations by creating a meal plan centered around a good breakfast. As a result, you’ll feel more energetic and able to make it through until lunch. (Plus, you’re more likely to eat your budget-friendly cold lunch if you pack one!)
Cheap breakfast ideas to make ahead of time
So now that you’re convinced to try breakfast, you may need some ideas. After all, boxed or bagged cereals may be tasty, but they’re not the most nutritious or friendly to the wallet.
These cheap breakfast ideas require a small amount of planning but little time and effort overall. Remember that even if you are trying to live cheaply, you can still eat a great breakfast!
1. Muffins and quick breads
If you’re like me, you adore muffins and quick breads for an easy (and cheap) breakfast.
Of course, stores and bakeries sell ready-made baked bread items like muffins, scones, and breads. But if you have the time, you’ll save money by baking these foods yourself.
I like baking a double batch of banana or pumpkin bread with extra muffins or slices to freeze.
You can bake your favorite flavor of muffins or quick breads on the weekends when time is more leisurely, then freeze in portions for busy weekday mornings. Homemade choices are also terrific because you can adjust ingredients to fit your dietary needs.
2. Quiche and other baked egg dishes
Quiche sounds fancy, but it’s not that difficult to make from scratch. Use basic products like eggs and a crust, and add whatever toppings and flavors you prefer.
Premade crusts are also an option, letting you have a “semi-homemade” quiche. You can make a crustless quiche if you’re gluten-free or just watching your carbs. Try this Spend With Pennies easy quiche recipe for a great base.
Add whatever meat you like—ham, sausage, bacon, ground turkey, etc. Cheese is delicious and easy to add.
A quiche is a super-customizable cheap breakfast recipe you can make any time and be a simple addition to your morning routine. Throw in all the vegetables you can to increase the nutritional value and feel your best!
3. Pancakes or waffles
Although pancakes and waffles traditionally come topped with maple syrup, there are other ways to enjoy them.
On the go, a couple of pre-cooked pancakes can make a great sandwich with your choice of filling—peanut or almond butter for a protein punch.
Pancakes are fast and easy to make, and they freeze well—Ditto for waffles (no need to purchase the yellow-boxed brand from your store).
Making a double batch of your favorite waffle or pancake batter is a good way to save time and money. The dishes and mess are the same, and you get bonus food to freeze or refrigerate for another day.
Even if you buy a pre-made pancake mix, you won’t spend much money on these. You can increase the nutritional value by adding a scoop of your go-to protein powder, ground flaxseed, or other healthy additions.
4. Breakfast sandwiches are cheap breakfast ideas for you
Breakfast sandwiches are easy cheap breakfast ideas that are easily transported with aluminum foil. If you fry or scramble a few eggs, cook some turkey bacon or sausage, and add them to your choice of bread, you’ve got a delicious egg sandwich. Pinch of Yum offers some useful breakfast sandwich recipes.
By pre-cooking the eggs and meat and assembling the sandwiches in advance, you can have breakfast on the go.
Layer them (with cheese, if you like) on English muffins, bagels, homemade bread, or whatever you want. Then wrap them up in freezer-safe packaging for a quick weekday meal.
Whether you’ve prepared your breakfast sammie over the weekend or the morning you’ll eat it, you can wrap it in foil. It’ll stay warm for quite some time, enabling you to munch on it during or after the morning commute.
5. Pita bread with hummus
A simple and tasty Meditterian cuisine, pita bread is a flatbread that can be enjoyed with hummus or used as a breakfast sandwich.
You can take this cheap breakfast on the go by putting it in a container so you enjoy this savory meal in your car or at your desk at work.
Pita bread and hummus can be picked up at your local grocery store, or you can follow the recipe from Your Veg Recipe and make it from scratch. In many ways this is the ideal breakfast for the ideal day.
6. Breakfast burritos
Although a breakfast burrito is not much different from a breakfast sandwich, it can come with more fun ingredients. For instance, black beans sauteed with onion and bell pepper can make for a more delightful meal.
In addition, you can add your favorite seasoning or spoon on some salsa (though that might make it messy for true on-the-go dining). Once Upon A Chef’s recipe has fun ingredients such as avocado and cilantro.
Not only are burritos tasty they are a way to get a high-protein meal into your system.
7. Hard-boiled eggs
Next up on the cheapest breakfast ideas is the humble hard-boiled egg. I love these—they’re extremely portable, and you can make them with older eggs. They’re great all by themselves or added to toast or other breakfast foods.
The convenient aspect of hard-boiled eggs is that you can use them in various meals. Family Fresh Meals has over ten recipe ideas that incorporate hard-boiled eggs.
8. Breakfast bento boxes
Do you follow any lifestyle influencers that are fans of bento boxes? You might find some fun and cheap breakfast ideas in the bento box.
These are compartmentalized containers where you can put different foods. It’s like a grown-up Lunchable for breakfast.
These boxes are customizable to your diet. Many people like a range of items that satisfy the need for protein and other nutrients. You can stick to clean eating ingredients as well! Here are several suggestions for things to include:
- Nuts such as almonds or cashews
- Greek yogurt
- Cheese slices or cubes
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Fresh fruit: grapes, orange slices, berries, etc.
- Small pancakes or waffles
If you need more ideas, The College Nutritionist offers great bento box breakfast combinations on their website.
Note, if you assemble them too far in advance, the ingredients won’t stay super fresh. So make what you can before eating, or keep certain items separate.
8. Overnight oats
Overnight oats are only for some. They are a hard no for me, but many people swear by overnight oats because you can prep them the night before, and your oats will be ready to eat first thing in the morning.
Old-fashioned oats will work best for this. Check out this Cookie & Kate recipe for how to do it, or just Google “overnight oats” to find many flavor suggestions.
If you oppose cold oatmeal, you can warm up your oats before consuming them.
9. Smoothies, smoothies, and more smoothies!
It’s no surprise that smoothies are such a popular breakfast item these days. They’re easy to make, have hundreds of flavor combinations, and you can disguise healthy ingredients behind your favorites to get more nutrients.
Smoothies are how I learned to love spinach—I needed the fruit to cover up the spinach, but now I love spinach in everything!
You can make smoothies with any milk, dairy, or water. There are also whey protein powders, vegan protein mixes, and superfood smoothie mixes. Experiment to find your favorites.
To simplify your morning routine, you can pre-blend your smoothies and store them in freezer-safe to-go containers. Some people freeze their nutrient-packed smoothies in ice trays to thaw as little or as much as they want.
Experiment to discover how long your smoothies need to thaw to be drinkable and delicious. One way is to freeze a bunch at once but move one at a time to the fridge at night to give ample thawing time.
Try out smoothie ingredient packs
Another of the best cheap breakfast ideas is to assemble your smoothie ingredients ahead of time.
Choose your items—often fruits and leafy greens—and portion them into individual freezer bags. Then, in the morning, grab the smoothie packs, add them to your Vitamix (or any blender) with your choice of liquid or yogurt, and blend away.
Going this route, you still have to get out your blender and spend a minute or so using it. But they’re still a quick breakfast on the go! Check out these ideas from The Kitchn.
A healthy smoothie breakfast is a great start if you’re determined to create your ideal day. Smoothies make you more likely to eat a healthy breakfast during hectic mornings. Plus, blending it just before consuming your smoothie will be extra fresh.
As far as quick breakfast ideas, omelets make the list. Besides being a quick meal, you can make several omelets ahead of time and keep them refrigerated throughout the week. When you’re ready to consume, The Incredible Egg suggests popping the omelet in the microwave for about a minute, and you are good to go.
They are a great way to get your protein, and when you add vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, onions, and tomatoes, you can also get a good dose of vitamins.
Cheap breakfast ideas to make in the morning
Next up, we’ve got some cheap breakfast ideas that you’ll prepare on the day of consumption. These may seem quite obvious, but I include them to remind you how quick and simple these stand-bys can be.
11. Fresh oatmeal
Yes, we’re back to oatmeal! Oatmeal is one of the incredibly easy cheap breakfast ideas. If you compare the cost per serving to a cold breakfast cereal, oatmeal is the clear winner for a frugal lifestyle.
Whether steel-cut or rolled, oats are a great food to fill you up for a busy day of working, working out, parenting, volunteering, and whatever else. For the most convenient preparation, you can buy individual oatmeal packets. Simply warm them up with water or milk, and they’re ready to eat.
I love old-fashioned oats, cooked the slow way on the stove. They usually take about five minutes to cook, which you may not have to spare in the morning.
However, you can also cook oats in the microwave. They don’t have to be the pre-portioned packets either. Scoop out half a cup of oats and a cup of water into a microwave-safe dish and cook for a hot breakfast.
If you’re looking for other ways to make oatmeal a little more exciting, Cooking Classy shares eight different ways to prepare oatmeal.
While oatmeal isn’t the most convenient breakfast to eat while driving or on public transit, they are easily prepared. Cooking and eating time could easily be under ten minutes.
12. Quick scrambled or sunny-side-up eggs
Whatever your favorite way to eat eggs, they can be a great cheap breakfast idea. I love to scramble eggs whenever I can’t think of anything else to eat. They cook in almost no time, and they’re very filling.
Eggs are super versatile. Whether it’s a fried egg, scramble, or sunny side up, they always come out tasty.
Add ketchup or hot sauce for a more daring version of scrambled eggs. If those toppings are appetizing, myrecipes.com has 25 suggestions on spicing up your scrambled eggs.
Although eggs used to get a bad rap, now they’re known as a healthy food for most of us. They’re a great source of protein, vitamin D, and essential amino acids
13. Granola over yogurt or fruit
If you buy store-made granola or prepare your own at home, granola is a delicious and (somewhat) cheap breakfast idea. Of course, adding rare foods may increase the cost a bit. However, it’s still a relatively inexpensive and filling breakfast or snack.
The Busy Baker and others offer online granola recipes. Still, your basic ingredients are likely oats, honey, oil, nuts, or seeds. Bake up a batch to munch on all week long.
Many granolas are tasty on their own, and you can also toss them into your yogurt or enjoy them with fruit.
14. Toast (The ultimate cheap breakfast!)
Don’t laugh—I’m including toast in this roundup of cheap breakfast foods. For those mornings when you have a busy brain, toast is an effortless and inexpensive way to get healthy nutrients into your morning.
Even if you’re gluten-free, you might find a great GF brand of bread. Otherwise, try a brand with whole grains or seeds, like Dave’s Killer Bread, for the most nutrient-dense toast. Toasting a few slices of bread, English muffins, or bagels in the morning is quick.
Toast is great for a variety of toppings as well. Consider peanut butter and bananas with cinnamon, almond butter, jam or preserves, cream cheese, and avocado (and don’t let anyone mock you for avocado toast!).
Insanely Good Recipes has over 30 different toppings you can add to your toasts to keep you from getting bored. Plus, it’s easy-peasy to make and eat a toasty breakfast to start your day.
15. A quick bacon or breakfast sausage fry
While breakfast meats are not always cheap, you can get a deal on them if you shop in bulk or use coupons or coupon websites to buy them on sale. Bacon and sausage come in various varieties, such as turkey, maple, and hardwood smoked.
So if you are a meat-eater, you will find a variety you like. Plus, you can have it with toast or eggs for a quick and filling morning meal!
If you buy meat in bulk, you’ll have plenty of meals to make if you follow the recipes from Smokehouse.com.
16. Sausage cheddar puffs
You can make this delicious and easy-to-make breakfast item if you have some leftover sausage. Taste of Home’s recipe only requires four ingredients sausage, cheddar cheese, biscuit mixture, and water; you can have a tasty meal in 25 mins.
Combine all the ingredients until moist, then form your mixture into little balls. Place the formed balls on a cooking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
The results are a tasty meal.
17. Upside-down bacon pancake
Punchfork’s upside-down bacon pancake is a savory and sweet breakfast meal that can be prepared in minutes.
Start by cooking the bacon first. Once the bacon is cooked, add the pancake mixture on top. Once the mixture is evenly spread, you can place the oven-safe skillet into the oven for about 18-20 minutes.
When the pancake is thoroughly cooked, take it out of the oven, let it cool, and enjoy
18. Hash browns
Potatoes are an inexpensive, versatile breakfast, lunch, and dinner food. For your morning meal, you can use this starch food to make hash browns by following Simple Recipes’ instructions with only a few ingredients that are all pantry staples.
Once you rinse and wash your potatoes, you’ll shred them and then bind the shreds into little patties using egg and flour. When your patties are made, cook them in a frying pan for five minutes. Make sure you cook both sides until golden brown.
You can use onions and a pinch of cayenne pepper for added flavor.
Cheap breakfast ideas with no prep required
Last but not least, here are five tried-and-true cheap breakfast ideas. These require literally zero preparation. If you hate cooking or don’t have the time, try these to save money. You can keep them in your fridge or pantry and grab them on your way out the door.
20. Fresh whole fruits are great cheap breakfast ideas
We can’t talk about breakfast without including fruit. It’s relatively cheap (even from a farmer’s market) and requires nothing other than occasionally a little slicing before you eat.
Fresh fruit in season will be the most beneficial and tasty, but many of us can also get out-of-season fruits. When you’re in a hurry, all you need to do is peel a banana or take a bite from an apple for a tasty breakfast in seconds.
No matter how busy, fresh fruit is a cheap breakfast idea anyone can enjoy! Certain fruits require some prep (obviously, a watermelon needs to be cut up before enjoying). Once your fruit is chopped up, throw it in a bowl or take it in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware.
To ensure you’re creating a fruit bowl with the correct mixture of fruits, check out Tastes Better From Scratch’s recipe.
21. Almonds, cashews, or other nuts and seeds
For many of us, nuts are a fantastic on-the-go snack or cheap breakfast idea. They aren’t as cheap as oats or white bread, but they pack a lot of nutrients.
You can try making your trail mix by combining nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. The Healthy Maven has a recipe on her blog to help you get started.
I love having a bag of almonds on my desk to munch on whenever I need a pick-me-up, and they can also be a part of a quick breakfast.
22. Dry cereal varieties
Don’t forget that when you’re especially short on time, you might pack a little snack baggie of cereal for a cheap breakfast option. You can eat it on the run and gain energy to tackle your day.
And while breakfast cereals don’t have the best reputation, they can be helpful in a pinch. To even out the health scale, try eating grains low in sugar and high in protein. A Sweet Pea Chef lists 10 of the healthiest dry cereals on her blog.
Frosted Mini Wheats saved me on many a long day of teaching when I had only to grab a few dry bites of cereal between classes.
23. Homemade granola bars make a cheap breakfast
While store-bought granola bars can be fine, you can also make your own to save money. For a cheap breakfast, find a great recipe from The Minimalist Baker for homemade protein/granola bars.
Because you can add your own flavors and special ingredients, such as pepitas, sunflower seeds, raisins, walnuts, granola bars are a customizable breakfast snack.
Prepare a batch over the weekend, then you can grab them on the go during the week.
24. Yogurt or cottage cheese
Dairy, yogurt, and cottage cheese are good breakfast ideas for a busy day. Greek yogurt also has a higher protein concentration, helping keep you full all morning.
Many people also love cottage cheese and add fruit to give it a unique flavor. These are quick and healthy food choices for a cheap breakfast; again, zero prep is required.
If you have extra time in the morning, you can follow Eating Bird Food’s recipes for creating yogurt bowls.
Expert tipWhen it comes to preparing a healthy breakfast when you’re on the go, planning your breakfast ahead of time is key. Before the start of the week, do meal prep and plan out which breakfast meals you have time for on a particular day. It’s also helpful to do your grocery shopping based on what you want to prepare for breakfast.
What are 3 healthy breakfast options?
When it comes to healthy breakfast options, eggs can be prepared quickly with little to no preparation and provide a great source of protein.
In addition, oatmeal is a great source of fiber; it’s simple to make and leaves you feeling full. Lastly, smoothies are a great healthy option because you combine fruits, vegetables, and protein powder to get the nutrients you need.
Is breakfast the cheapest meal?
Breakfast is usually the cheapest meal because it requires less ingredients than lunch or dinner. And the ingredients for breakfast like eggs, bread, milk etc can be much cheaper than ingredients for lunch or dinner staples like meats, fish, grains etc.
What are some low-fat breakfast ideas?
If you’re looking for low-fast breakfast ideas or want to consume fewer calories, oatmeal is a great low-fat breakfast. You can also try cooking egg whites with whole-grain toast. If you’re looking to avoid carbs, fat-free Greek yogurt is also a great option.
Is it OK not to eat breakfast?
There is no perfect answer to the question of skipping or having breakfast. It comes down to what a healthy lifestyle means for you. If you find yourself hungry and tired in the morning, then breakfast might be beneficial. However, if you feel energized and content in the morning, you can probably skip breakfast.
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Cheap breakfast ideas can improve your life and your finances!
Most of these cheap breakfast ideas are easy to prepare. You can use these budget-friendly breakfast ideas to help you create a cheap grocery list each week.
Some of the easy breakfast ideas require planning, while others can be grabbed on your way to work. It might be something to consider if you’ve never been a breakfast person. You could enjoy higher energy levels and increased focus without spending much of your overall food budget.