Even if they're pressed for time, teens can fix a quick breakfast that includes the nutrients essential to their health. Help them to prepare make-ahead dishes, such as breakfast casseroles that can be frozen and quickly reheated. For days when they're eating on the run, have an assortment of "fast foods" available, such as fruits, bagels, cereal in single-serving boxes and healthy sandwich ingredients. And don't argue if your teens opt to eat leftover spaghetti for breakfast every once in a while; it's better than not eating breakfast at all.
Teens can whip up breakfast smoothies in no time by combining plain or flavored low-fat or non-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, ice cubes and frozen fruit in a blender. Good fruit choices include bananas, raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. If they like citrus smoothies, use frozen orange juice or lemonade instead. For a tropical treat, have them mix up a pina colada smoothie with frozen pineapple juice and fresh or dried coconut. Encourage your teens to experiment by substituting low-fat cottage cheese for the yogurt and adding flavorings, such as vanilla, almond or other extracts.
Teenagers can make a hot breakfast in a hurry by scrambling eggs in the microwave. Simply melt a pat of butter or margarine by zapping it for a few seconds, then add one or two eggs beaten with a little low-fat milk. For flavor, season the eggs with salt and pepper, or add a sprinkle of salad dressing mix. Cook the eggs for 30 seconds, stir, then continue cooking until they're firm. Add two slices of whole-wheat toast, or make a sandwich to go. If your teens like French toast, instead of pouring the beaten eggs and milk into a baking dish, they can dip slices of bread into the mixture. Heat the margarine or butter in a skillet on the stove top and cook the French toast in it, browning each side. They'll enjoy eating their creation with syrup or fresh fruit.
Hot or cold, cereal provides carbohydrates and fiber, and it's usually fortified with some vitamins and minerals, too. If your teens like instant oatmeal, have them make it in the microwave and add nuts for protein. Mix in a few chopped almonds and raisins, a dollop of maple syrup and chopped walnuts, or a spoonful of peanut butter. For a breakfast your teens can bag and take with them, have them mix dry cereal with dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, pitted dates and apricots. Send them off with a container of yogurt to stir the cereal into on the go.
Pancakes and Muffins
Frozen pancakes heat up quickly for a good breakfast. Pancakes can be made ahead from scratch or from a mix and frozen in individual servings to save time in the morning. Teens can reheat the pancakes in the microwave along with frozen fruit, or top them with fresh fruit. If the kids are comfortable with easy baking, they can mix up a batch of muffins the night before and put them in the oven to bake while they're getting dressed in the morning. The muffins take just 10 to 12 minutes in the oven, and your teens will be rewarded with a warm, aromatic breakfast. They can bake their favorite flavors, such as banana-nut, blueberry or bran, and grab a container of yogurt and a piece of fruit to round out their meal.