It can be enormously frustrating to get teens to understand the importance of a healthy breakfast, what with general bershon, the morning rush, and their deep need to avoid any sort of uncoolness (anything their parents want them to do just reeks of it). So they miss out on the much needed morning boost. Too often, that leads to noshing on junk at school with their friends or not eating anything until lunch. But teens need decent nutrition to carry them though busy days of school, work, and extracurriculars.
I'm a breakfast devotee now, but hated eating first thing in the morning as a teen. The key for me, and for many teens, was figuring out things that would appeal before I was 100 percent awake and wouldn't take too long to eat or prepare. Often that means thinking outside the box with meals that aren't necessarily traditional breakfast foods but offer a good balance of protein and carbohydrates and include veggies or fruit:
Trail mix: Toss together nuts, popcorn and/or whole grain cereal, and dried fruit. Portion into sandwich bags, and they're ready to grab on their way out the door.
Smoothies: Try a green smoothie with kale or spinach mixed with lots of frozen fruit (pineapple is really good at masking the veggie taste if your teen hates it) and milk or calcium-fortified orange juice.
Cold pizza: No kidding. Just have them pair it with orange juice or water, not soda. So much the better if it's a vegetable pizza.
Quesadillas: Cheese, salsa, and any leftover beans or meat you might have in the fridge ... quick and good.
Breakfast parfait: Layer yogurt and fruit with granola. You can also try this with cottage cheese.
Frozen waffles: Spread with peanut butter and top with sliced bananas or apples.
Last night's dinner: Why not let them have leftovers of a meal they already liked? A nutritious meal is a nutritious meal, no matter what time of day it's served.
Whole grain crackers, cheese, and fruit.
Mini-"quiches": Fill well-greased muffin tin cups with egg, spinach, or red peppers (or both), maybe a sprinkling of ham or bacon, and another sprinkling of cheese, then pop them into the oven at 350 until they are puffy and golden. This can be done whenever you have a second. They reheat well in the microwave.
Breakfast kabobs: Thread fruit, cheese, and ham or turkey on a skewer.
That's 10, which should get you through the first weeks of school.
What breakfasts does your teen like?
Image via Vanessayavonne/Flickr