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Stop Hitting Snooze on Breakfast
According to data gathered by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, a quarter of American teenagers leave for school in the morning without eating breakfast, and that’s a problem! While teens may feel like they don’t have time for breakfast, or think skipping will help them lose weight, they could be setting themselves up for poor mood, lowered academic performance and weight gain.
If you’ve ever been hungry, then you know that skipping a meal can make anyone tired and irritable. These feelings worsen when breakfast is skipped because the gap between dinner and breakfast is the longest most of us go without eating. Prolonging this period without food until lunchtime can lead to unstable blood sugar, energy crashes, and unhealthy cravings. This sets the stage for weight gain and poor health. Plus, teens may not be getting enough nutrition from just two meals a day and snacks (which are often low in nutritional quality).
So it’s not surprising that those who eat breakfast score better on tests than those who don’t. They also have better attention spans, better attendance, and are able to focus more.
Of course there are rational reasons why teens skip breakfast. Early bell times make rising for school a challenge for those who have homework, extracurricular activities, and shifting biological clocks that all conspire to keep them up late. As a result, it’s easy for teens to feel like they don’t have time to eat breakfast. And even if they do have time, groggy teens may be genuinely too exhausted to feel hungry. Here are some tips to ensure they’re eating breakfast—no matter what their excuse may be for skipping out.
Breakfast Tips for Teens
- Pre-plan. If your children don’t have a lot of time in the morning, encourage them to breakfast-prep the night before, or set out as much as you can ahead of time. If the cereal’s already in the bowl with a spoon, all they need to do is pour on the milk and throw a handful of berries on top before they leave.
- Drink it up. If over-tired teens can’t face food when they wake, try to suggest drinking their breakfast instead with a homemade smoothie or a Juice Plus+ Complete shake.
- Make it to go. Have your teens take breakfast with them to eat on the bus or in the car, or even during a free period if they have one early in the day. Portable options include fresh fruit, a container of yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or a Juice Plus+ Complete nutrition bar.
- Set an example. Finally, set a good example by letting them see you eat a healthy breakfast, rather than just grabbing a cup of coffee on your way out the door for work.
Do your teenagers eat breakfast? What are their favorite breakfast foods?
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