In the beginning, breakfast was a nothing meal in our house. For the first 10 years of my older son's life, breakfast consisted of a rotation of cold cereal, frozen waffles, pop tarts, toast, and bagels. It was something to be gotten down in a quick way before getting on with the real content of the day. It was uninspired and uninspiring.
Two years ago, I made a New Year's resolution to put forth a little more effort and make some better breakfasts as often as possible. What I found was interesting. First, I found that it takes no more time to scramble some eggs than it does to pour cereal out of a box and top it up with milk. Second, I saw quickly that the boys got up more readily and eagerly when they knew something special was in the works for breakfast, and third, all of us were more alert, energetic, and ready for the day with a good breakfast.
It is easy to read this and agree and do nothing. Theoretically, it makes sense. But you must try it to see for yourself what a difference a good breakfast makes.
There are arguments against making a big breakfast, the first being time. Yes, some breakfasts take longer than pouring cold cereal. Some of these types can be saved for weekends or snow days. But many, many more are just as quick as the bowl of cereal. There are two other ways around the time issue: get up a little earlier or do some prep work the night before.
In general, I'm in the early rising camp, mainly because I naturally get up early. And I would seriously question whether the benefit of 20 minutes of sleep is greater than the benefit of a better breakfast. Unless you have babies of course and need sleep whenever you can get it.
Another argument against the "hearty" breakfast is that you might be trying to lose weight. I am too, and I have lost. A good breakfast gets me through the morning without becoming famished by lunchtime. Therefore, I can make better decisions for lunch. Also, when I have a light breakfast, I tend to "allow" myself more things to eat later on in the day to "make up" for it. Good breakfasts do away with the hunger and the slippery rationalizations.
So two years into the Breakfast Thing, and my family eats better, healthier, feels better throughout the day, has more energy. What's not to love? If you are in doubt, try it for a month and then decide if it's worth it. Do it in baby steps if necessary, say, homemade granola to replace one cereal meal, or some meat to go along with the toast and jelly.
I think what you'll find is that you and your family will begin to look forward to breakfast more than any other meal. Your kids will start to ask the night before what's for breakfast. You will be eager to try some twists on some standards, becoming more creative. Breakfast is fun! It seems there's a lot less at stake at breakfast, so it's easier to branch out of our routine. And it's always appreciated.
Go on, turn that alarm back just a little bit and give it a whirl.