Morning routines can be hectic, with moms trying to herd kids and teens out the door in time for school. As teens mature and assume more responsibility for getting themselves ready for school in the morning, it’s possible that they’re also skipping breakfast. There are numerous reasons why starting with breakfast is important for your teen, and skipping this meal can lead to problems with nutrition, school and emotional outlook.
1. Sleep Issues
One problem with skipping breakfast is that it could indicate underlying sleep issues with your teen, according to Healthy Children.org. Some teens bypass breakfast in favor of extra sleeping time. Sleep issues sometimes surface during the teen years because the teenage body naturally wants to stay up later and sleep-in longer – but this doesn’t match the traditional school day schedule. To circumvent the problem, stash easy-to-grab yogurts or granola bars in the kitchen so breakfast doesn’t take much time.
2. Weight Gain
Regularly skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain in teens, as reported by Bloomberg.com. Skipping breakfast has connections to making less healthful food choices throughout the day and exercising less frequently. Teens who skip breakfast can weigh five pounds more than teens who eat this meal. If your teen is intentionally skipping breakfast in order to reduce calorie intake, let her know that under-eating at breakfast leads to overeating later in the day. It might be time to start a discussion about healthy eating habits and positive body image. If your teen is struggling with an eating disorder, seek medical counsel.
3. School Performance
Another problem with skipping breakfast is that it leads to poor performance at school, according to Healthy Children.org. Teens who don’t eat breakfast won’t have as much energy at school, possibly leading to lethargy, light-headedness, or other side effects associated with skipping meals. If eating breakfast at home doesn’t seem like a realistic option, pack your teen’s school bag with trail mix, whole fruit, or dry cereal to munch on between classes or when hunger strikes, as recommended by Willows Pediatrics.
Teenagers build their bones during this developmental period, and eating breakfast can contribute key bone-building vitamins such as calcium and vitamin D, according to Healthy Children.org. Bone-building continues into a person’s twenties, so the teen years should include sufficient amounts of these vitamins. Eggs, fortified breakfast cereal and yogurt can all contribute to bone-building. Skipping breakfast denies teens the opportunity to build strong bones. For this reason, it’s possible that adding a vitamin D supplement could help augment your teen’s diet.
5. Digestion Issues
Skipping breakfast could mask underlying digestive issues, as described by High School Illustrated. For example, your teen might be skipping breakfast because his stomach makes embarrassing noises during class on days when he eats breakfast. He could be eating too fast, or he might have an undiagnosed sensitivity to dairy or gluten. Ask your teen if he feels uncomfortable after eating certain foods if digestion issues might be the cause of skipping breakfast, and if necessary, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
- Healthy Children.org: The Case for Eating Breakfast
- Bloomberg.com: Teens Who Skip Breakfast More Likely to Be Obese, Study Says
- High School Illustrated.com: Importance of Breakfast for Teens
- Science Daily: Teens Who Eat Breakfast Daily Eat Healthier Diets Than Those Who Skip Breakfast
- Willow Pediatrics: Breakfast...and Whyt It's Important For Children and Teens
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