It’s that time of year again when we make the transition from summer vacation back to school. One way to make it easier is to plan your evening and morning rituals a week before school starts. The transition back will be less stressful with the focus on getting a good night’s rest and eating a healthy breakfast.

The debate continues over whether or not breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, but its many benefits include providing energy for your brain and body to take on the busy day. If you’re not hungry when you first wake up, plan on eating a mix of protein and smart carbohydrates mid-morning during the first school nutrition break or at work. Barley is definitely a smart carbohydrate to include. For ideas, check out Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, whichhas 11 delicious breakfast recipes. From slow-cooked barley breakfasts to barley buttermilk pancakes and barley banana bread, there’s no excuse not to have barley on the breakfast menu.

Slow-Cooked Barley Breakfast

Imagine a breakfast that cooks while you sleep, plus makes leftovers that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days—this is not a dream! Slow-cooked barley breakfast cooks overnight in six hours, making for a quick start the next morning. I like to serve it with dried cranberries, pecans, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a small scoop of Greek yogurt.

Meal Planning Tip:Get into the habit of making lunches and prepping breakfast the night before to ease the busy morning schedule.

Barley Buttermilk Pancakes

Now that everyone is back to a weekly schedule, it’s nice to plan a leisurely breakfast and reconnect on the weekend. It’s the perfect time to whip up some barley buttermilk pancakes topped with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and sliced bananas or pears. I love how the buttermilk’s tangy flavour complements the nutty taste of the barley flour.

Meal Planning Tip: Get your kids involved in the kitchen through baking—they’ll enjoy measuring and mixing the dry ingredients, plus tasting their final creation!

Barley Banana Bread

This barley banana bread is a healthy version of the classic with added fibre from the barley flour. And by using applesauce, you’ll need less fat to keep the bread moist. I like getting the mini-bakers involved in this simple recipe, too—they love mashing the bananas! To complete your breakfast, enjoy a yogurt and some apple slices with it.

Meal Planning Tip: Make the bread on Sunday afternoon. Wait until it’s cooled, then slice it. It freezes well, making an individual slice the ideal grab-and-go breakfast for those hectic mornings.