25 Cheap, Quick Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

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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 rushing out the door. It needn't be that way. Meals that are both cheap and fast are plentiful, and can be quickly and easily prepared each morning or the night before to get you going at top speed. Here is a month's worth of weekday morning meals that should appeal across all age groups. They're easy to scale up if you're feeding school-bound youngsters, and many of the ingredients stretch over numerous preparations.
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OATMEAL

A bowl of oatmeal with a sliced banana, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a spoonful of honey is a sweet and easy way to start the day. Doctoring up plain oats from a bag is also more healthful and economical than buying packets of instant oatmeal loaded with sugar and salt.
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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.
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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.
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BAGEL

A newly traditional American breakfast is the simple toasted bagel. Up the flavor with a schmear of peanut butter and grape jelly, and ask the kids to join in.
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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.
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NUTELLA OATMEAL

For another take on oatmeal for breakfast, stir in a spoonful of Nutella. This sweet add-on seems pricey, but you'll get about 20 servings per jar.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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PEANUT BUTTER 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.
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ALMOND MILK OATMEAL

Prepare morning oatmeal with almond milk instead of water for an invigorating taste of the tropics. When the oatmeal is ready, sprinkle dried coconut on top and fantasize about the next vacation.
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EGG SANDWICH

A frozen English muffin, a fried egg, and a slice of cheddar cheese make a hearty, fast, and low-cost breakfast.
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TROPICAL SMOOTHIE

Continuing on with the tropical theme, use a blender to whip up a smoothie made from yogurt, frozen blueberries, and orange juice -- in just minutes.
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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 and cheap and make an economical addition to breakfast.
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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 will keep you going until lunchtime.
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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, with the spices, and stir in apple when ready to serve.
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STRAWBERRY-YOGURT SMOOTHIE

Whip up a strawberry-yogurt smoothie in seconds and take it on the road or drink it down in the kitchen. This one sparkles during berry season, when the fruit is reasonably priced, super sweet, and perhaps locally grown, and salvages berries that are getting a bit soft for eating. Add a touch of orange juice for extra zing.
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COTTAGE CHEESE WITH PEANUT BUTTER TOAST

A bowl of cottage cheese accompanied by piece of fruit and a slice of toast with peanut butter is a healthy, inexpensive, and filling first meal of the day.
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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.
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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 2 minutes for the perfect consistency), toast and butter a slice or two of bread and cut into strips to mop up the yolk.
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YOGURT WITH GRANOLA AND NUTELLA

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

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

Try a tomato-egg scramble for a flavorful, frugal breakfast. Simply add diced tomato to scrambled eggs and continue cooking until the tomato is slightly soft (but not mushy).
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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.