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You’re never too busy for breakfast when you start it the night before

Saffron Chia Pudding With Mango and Cashews. (Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post)

Life is all about coming full circle, right? Case in point: my make-ahead breakfasts.

When I was in graduate school and always on the run, I would plan and pack foods that I could eat on the bus or on my walk to school. It was not uncommon to find me munching a bar and a smoothie, or a hot Southern-Indian style kanji, a porridge made with whole grains and cooked in milk. Most times, though, I ended up with a banana or an apple and a drinkable yogurt.

Things changed for the better in my work life and my married life. Even 10 years ago, a relaxed morning breakfast schedule, with fried eggs or an omelet, hash browns and warm toast with butter and jam, would have been quite doable. Not anymore, now that my children are in school.

The temptation to skip breakfast looms large, between multiple bus-stop runs and each of us starting the day at a different time. Because I’d rather make our morning meal rather than buy it, what works best for us are recipes that begin overnight, no cooking required.

Make the recipe: Fruity Overnight Oats

Overnight oats typically are sweet and fruity. I make them with just a bit of sugar, and I’ve developed a savory variation adapted to my own taste, spicy with cumin and ginger.

Make the recipe: Date-Nut Muffin Cups

Our mini muffin pan gets a workout each week when I make small fruit-and-nut cups, which take minutes to assemble and can last a week in the refrigerator. They’re grab-and-go friendly, but I like them topped with Greek yogurt and fresh mint, or peanut butter and honey. They’d be great dipped in chocolate, too: part breakfast truffle, part energy booster.

Make the recipe: Saffron Chia Pudding With Mango and Cashews

My favorite might be a saffron-rich, silky-smooth chia seed pudding, with tons of protein and fiber. It’s easy to build parfaitlike portions with layers of fruit puree in between, or the pudding can be topped with vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts.

The best thing about these overnight breakfasts is that many can be prepped on a Sunday evening for the workweek ahead. I double some recipes with the intention of serving them different ways. I might offer the chia pudding with mango and cashews on a Tuesday and with pineapple, coconut and walnuts on a Friday. I’m back in planning mode, and our mornings are all the better for it.

Massachusetts freelance writer Tilak blogs at On Twitter: @visitilak.


Date-Nut Muffin Cups

Fruity Overnight Oats

Saffron Chia Pudding With Mango and Cashews

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