Encouraging Your Teens to Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day… so the saying goes. But try telling that to your family! My younger brother used to hit the snooze on his alarm clock until the last possible second, then throw on some close and rush off to high school without eating.

There are lots of “good” reasons for skipping breakfast:

  • I wanted to sleep in.
  • There’s nothing good to eat.
  • It takes too long to make something.
  • I’m not hungry when I first wake up.
  • I want to lose weight.

But research has shown that eating breakfast can help boost concentration and problem solving abilities — and that’s useful whether you’re at school or at work!

What can you do to encourage the kids to eat breakfast? It’s kind of hard to force-feed a fourteen year old… so the direct route might not be the best one. Here are some ideas to help make breakfast easier and more appealing for all involved:

  • Stock up on quick, easy meals like granola bars, cereal bars, bagels, or yogurt drinks — something your teen (or you) can grab and eat on the way to school (or work).
  • Give everyone some input on the breakfast offerings. If you have something in the house you know the kids like, they might be more likely to eat it. You can also cook some things (like muffins) ahead of time and freeze them, so there’s a variety of breakfast foods available on any given morning.
  • Make breakfast a special occasion. Once in a while, everyone could get up early and have one of those fancy breakfasts you usually save for holidays. My mom’s Christmas brunch — scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, frosted cinnamon rolls, fruit salad — would sure get me out of bed for breakfast on a normal boring morning.
  • For the folks who don’t like to eat first thing in the morning, try making smoothies. You can get plenty of vitamins (from fruit) and protein (from milk or yogurt) in drink form, and not feel like you’re loading up with a big breakfast.
  • For the folks who just don’t like the usual breakfast foods, try serving something else. You’ve heard of breakfast for dinner… why not have dinner for breakfast once in a while?

If simply getting up and getting ready on time is the biggest problem, a little organization might be the best solution. Make sure backpacks are packed before bed. Picking out clothes the night before might help, too! You can also set the stage for breakfast by already having plates and glasses out the night before — that will help the chef have an easier time of prepping breakfast.