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Persuade Your Teen to Eat Breakfast

Updated on March 27, 2007

It's hard out there for a kid. Make it a bit easier by making sure your older child eats breakfast. If you regularly eat dinner together, that will also help set the pattern for eating a nutritious breakfast as well. Skipping the morning meal should not be an option, but if you've slipped into bad habits it's not too late to change.

Breakfast on the Go

Teach teens to grab these energizing breakfasts on their way out the door:

  • whole-grain, low-sugar cereal or granola bars
  • whole-grain muffin
  • yogurt
  • fresh fruit
  • trail mix of nuts, dried fruits
  • pretzels, crackers with cheese
  • breakfast drink

No Time for Breakfast?

If you just can't take one more thing, consider school breakfast. You save yourself the trouble and clean up of fixing breakfast, but your teen still gets breakfast. If you go for this option, make sure you check out the menu first. If your school serves chicken nuggets, hot dogs and pizza for lunch, breakfast offerings won't be much better. Of course, if you're choosing between well-fed and fed, I guess it's better that the kid gets something.

Keep a breakfast drink like Slimfast or Carnation Instant Breakfast on hand for older kids to grab at on the way out the door.

Teach your teenager how to put together a quick, healthy breakfast with tips from Quick and Healthy Breakfasts for Kids.

Cheerios Could Get Him Into College

We have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day all our lives. But is it really that important? Studies show kids who eat breakfast are more likely to earn higher grades because they are better able to pay attention and participate in class. Kids with something in their stomachs have more energy for challenging academic work than their hungry friends.

Sneak some healthy snacks into your teenagers backpack just in case he doesn't listen to your wise advice. He won't want to risk a growling stomach in a silent room full of SAT takers. How embarrassing.

Does My Butt Look Big?

Perhaps the most common reason your teenage daughter wants to forego the first meal of the day is that she's trying to lose weight. By now all us grown-ups know we've got to have something in the morning for optimal weight maintenance and health. Right? Your child may not know. If your older daughter (or son) wants to skip breakfast in hopes of keeping her weight down, make sure she knows it doesn't work. Studies have shown skipping breakfast actually results in more calories consumed throughout the day. Famished breakfast skippers are more likely to hit the vending machine for a crinkly bag of high fat snacks or mid-morning sugar fix. Even a healthy lunch can be overdone if you're starved when you start to eat.

Whatever it takes, get your kid to eat. They likely won't want to admit you're right, so make sure you give them a way to save face. Have easy-to-pack foods readily available in case they agree with you, but can't say it to your face.

Maybe you could get up a little early sometimes and toast them some waffles - anything to get them into the habit of eating breakfast.

Read about more breakfast ideas at:

Quick and Healthy Breakfasts for Kids

Read more from Lela at

Read Lela's humor column, After the Bubbly at Who is Isabella?

Learn about writing with Writing Mom


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