Written by: Marjolaine Cadieux
“I woke up too late”, “I’m not hungry”, “I don’t have time”, “I don’t know what to eat” … all frequent excuses from teens to skip breakfast. Yet, it’s common knowledge that breakfast helps with concentration and keeps hunger and cravings at bay until lunchtime. Grab-and-go or make-ahead breakfasts are lifesavers to ensure teens eat a quick bite or take a healthy, hearty breakfast with them rather than buy a muffin or cookie at the cafeteria. So here are 5 quick breakfast ideas for teens who never have time! And the best part? They can make them themselves!
Oat flakes make for a nutritious and satisfying breakfast because of the fibres they contain. There are two types of instant oats that can be prepared in advance: overnight oats and warm oats.
For overnight oats, your teen simply has to mix the oats with milk, yogurt and fruit and let it sit overnight in the fridge. He or she can change up the flavours by adding spices like cinnamon, or different nut butters, pumpkin or chia seeds, etc. As for warm oats, these can be made ahead of time by mixing oats, powdered milk, nuts and dried fruits. When your teen is ready to eat, he or she only needs to add boiling water, then let the dish stand for one to two minutes before eating. Another advantage of warm oats is these can easily be stored in the pantry for several weeks, even months.
Smoothies are great for teens who don’t have much of an appetite in the morning. They’re easy to drink, don’t require much chewing and are great on the go. But watch out! Smoothies often contain too much fruit and added sugar (maple syrup, juice, etc.) and too few proteins.
Ideally, smoothies should contain 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of vegetables (baby spinach and baby kale are great because they have a mild taste), 1 source of protein (yogurt, cottage cheese, silken tofu) and milk or other plant-based milk (soy, oat). Adding extras like flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peanut butter or other nut butters is also a good idea.
So it’s easier and faster to whip up in the morning, your teen can prepare the smoothie the nigh before or put the ingredients (except the milk) in a bag and store it in the freezer. In the morning, your teen can simply take out the bag from the freezer, pour the content in a mixer and add his or her favourite milk or plant-based milk. That’s it!
For teens with a salt tooth, breakfast burritos are a great alternative. Your teen can meal prep them and keep them in the freezer. Over the week, they simply have to be defrosted in the fridge and then reheated in the microwave for breakfast. Paired with a fruit, burritos make a hearty breakfast for teenagers!
These were by far one of my favourites in university! Breakfast cookies are small and compact, so they can easily be slipped in a backpack and enjoyed later. These cookies are super filling and can also be made ahead of time and frozen. Your teen can change up the recipe depending on preferences (fruits/nuts), but it’s the variety of ingredients that makes these cookies nutritious. So experimenting is fine, but not too much!
You might think making an omelette is all but quick and easy. Well, you would be wrong! Many omelette recipes can be whipped up in a cup (yes, you read right!) or cooked in muffin pans to create small, individual omelettes. Individual omelettes are practical and versatile and a great way to use up whatever vegetables or toppings are sitting in the fridge.
Despite all these recipes, your teen might still not eat breakfast. Is it a problem? Not necessarily. Everyone is different and has their own appetite and needs. Some people don’t eat breakfast and are completely fine; they’re simply not hungry. But it’s important to know the reason why your teen refuses to eat breakfast, because some skip it purposely to lose weight or control their calorie intake. This could be a red flag, meaning more risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with food or even an eating disorder. Or, your son or daughter might simply not like the food that’s in the fridge! Try to understand your teen’s behaviour by having a conversation; it will help you come up with solutions that involve him or her. Brace yourself: implementing a new behaviour won’t happen overnight!