A teenager eating breakfast on the run is better than a teenager eating nothing on the run
This article on adolescents and breakfast is part of a series on teenage nutrition. You can read the introduction to this series from these two articles “What Is On Your Family’s Breakfast Plate” and “Teenage Nutrition: Why You Should Pick This Battle For Your Adolescent.” We are very excited to bring you this and hope you feel comfortable to add your own thoughts, tips and suggestions.
Is that your teenager in the picture? Running off to school with an empty stomach? That could be my teenager. Sometimes breakfast is an issue at our house. Like many teenagers, my teen also fits in the typical mold: hard for her to get up in the morning, running late and no time for breakfast. My teenager and I reached a compromise: she must eat breakfast before leaving the house and go to sleep earlier on school nights. For the mornings my daughter is running late she will eat grab and eat some on the run breakfast foods.
What makes up a healthy breakfast for teens?
Ideally a teenager’s breakfast should contain foods from at least three groups: dairy, grains and protein. Dairy for the calcium, grains for energy, and protein for growth and to keep the stomach full until lunch. Breakfast on the run menu should contain these three groups.
Healthy breakfast ideas for breakfast on the run
Healthy breakfast on the run takes planning and pushing breakfast as a priority, both for parents and teenagers. If a parent is at work and not available in the morning for their teenager’s breakfast, planning for this is even more essential. It can take creative energy and organization to move breakfast into the spotlight. But the effort is important: teenage nutrition supports the second most critical growth period after infancy; the teenage years.
Why not make the next morning’s breakfast the night before?
Good planning can be managed by making breakfast the night before. Some make the night before breakfast ideas are: french toast, pancakes, a smoothie, cooked oatmeal cereal, hard-boiled eggs, healthy muffins, a homemade parfait (yogurt and granola layered in a glass).
Have the house stocked with these on the run breakfast foods:
Cracottes, granola bars, dried fruit, weetabix cereal, portable one portion applesauce, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain bagels, small boxes of 100% fruit juice, whole wheat tortillas, whole grain muffins, peanut butter, whole wheat crackers, fresh fruit (bananas, apples, pears), small yogurt drinks, calcium fortified orange juice, cheese, milk in small cartons or bottles.
Preparing breakfast table the night before
Ideally your teen would benefit from a sit down breakfast before leaving home. If the table is set for breakfast in the morning, this may be the extra incentive to sit down and eat. Think like the scout motto: Be prepared.
Combination on the run breakfast foods to give proper nutrition
Calcium rich foods
- calcium fortified orange juice
Protein rich foods
- hard boiled eggs
- marmite, vegemite
- granola bars
- whole wheat crackers
- whole grain muffins
- whole grain bagels
- whole wheat tortillas
- french toast (although if it prepared with milk and egg could also be considered a protein source)
Fruit gives fiber and adds extra energy for the body while boasting your teenager’s immune system. Adding fruit to breakfast is always a great idea. Adding a fat source such as butter, peanut butter or nuts keeps your teen’s hunger away. These can be added to a food from one of the groups.
Combine a ready to go choice from at least two groups and add a fruit source for a healthy teen breakfast:
Examples: tortilla and cheese, granola bar and yogurt drink, a hard-boiled egg and a pancake, whole grain muffin and small carton of milk, whole wheat crackers and cheese, dried weetabix and yogurt drink. Then add the fresh or dried fruit or fruit drink.
And what are your combinations or suggestions?
This list is not exhaustive. What do you give your teenagers who eat breakfast on the run? My son loves cold pizza. In France there is the famous cracotte which is a type of very light granola bar which you eat while drinking hot or cold chocolate milk (check out this healthy recipe for making your own chocolate powder). In Italy there are biscotti. In England weetabix. In Ireland and Scotland porridge. Every country has its own culture and own foods. We can learn about your foods and suggestions. Don’t be shy, shout out your tips in the comment section below this article.
**New** Here are some articles published from this series on teenage nutrition. Feel free to click on the links here:
Teenagers and Energy Drinks, Teens and Endocrine Disruptors, Teens and Eating Disorders, Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Teens, Teens and Caffeine, Importance of Good Nutrition in Teens, Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in Teens,Vegetarianism in Teens. and Hormone Changes in Teens Affect Their Smell.