Help! My Teen Won’t Eat Breakfast
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 tips for helping your teen start their morning well-fueled!

Teenager not wanting to eat breakfast

As a Pediatric Dietitian, one of the most common concerns that I hear from parents is that they struggle to get their teen to eat breakfast. While it is often known as “the most important meal of the day”, there’s no doubt that breakfast can also be one of the most challenging meals to squeeze in.  Factors such as sleeping in, lack of time, fatigue, and poor appetite are just a few of the reasons why breakfast can be a bit of a hard sell in the morning. If you are a parent or caregiver who is having difficulty navigating breakfast, read on as I share some practical tips to help increase your teen’s success with breakfast every morning.    

Before we jump in with the tips, it’s important to address the question – Is breakfast the MOST important meal of the day? 

There are many physical and psychological benefits to eating breakfast. The first benefit is in its name- it “breaks” the overnight fast! Eating breakfast provides the body with the energy it needs to start the day. Without breakfast, it may be difficult to muster up the energy to get to school or work. Like how cars need gasoline, our bodies need fuel from food to function well. Eating breakfast can also help with appetite regulation, as inadequate intake earlier in the day can often lead to overeating at night. From a psychological perspective, studies have also shown that breakfast may have a positive impact on cognitive function in children and adolescents.  

So is it bad to not eat breakfast? While skipping breakfast may not necessarily be harmful, there’s a chance that it could be interfering with your teen’s ability to feel and perform their best. Consider these tips to help ensure your teen is starting the day well-fueled:   

1. Lead by example 

Parents can lead by example by eating breakfast themselves. If your teen sees you making breakfast a priority, they will be more likely to follow suit.  

2. Remember the Division of Responsibility

Despite having the best intentions, we want to avoid pressuring kids and teens to eat if they don’t want to. Adding pressure may make breakfast even less desirable to your teen. Remember that we want to treat them as the experts of their bodies and let them decide if and how much to eat. 

3. Provide education on the benefits of breakfast

Is your child complaining of feeling fatigued at school? Are they worried about performing well on a test or an upcoming sporting activity? It may be helpful to have a conversation with your teen on how breakfast and regular food intake can help them perform their best. While it is still up to them to decide whether they will eat, parents and caregivers can offer guidance around making mealtime choices that set them up for success. 

4. Consider adjusting their sleep schedule

Poor sleep can make waking up in the morning extra challenging, and your teen hitting the snooze button a few extra times means less time for breakfast. On average, most teens require at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night! Consider helping your teen adjust their sleep schedule for a more restful sleep and earlier wake up time so that there is more opportunity to have breakfast.  

5. Prep breakfast ahead of time 

If most mornings are a rush, your teen may not have time to prepare or eat breakfast. Consider prepping breakfast in advance so that they can have a quick bite to eat before they are out the door or on their way to school. Ideas such as overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches can be great make-ahead options. 

If you are needing some inspiration, check out this recipe on the blog for Make-ahead Breakfast Sandwiches. Get more breakfast ideas on our Blog and filtering by ‘Breakfast.’

6. Is your teen not interested in a full meal? Offer them a snack instead

A little fuel is better than no fuel at all! Encourage your teen to pack an extra snack in their school bag that they can have mid-morning or when their appetite improves. When planning a well-balanced snack, I often encourage choosing an item with protein along with a carbohydrate source (e.g. cheese and crackers). For more snack inspiration, download our “51 Healthy Snack Attacks” list to keep you and your teen energized with good nutrition.

If you’ve gone and tried all these steps with still no success, no need to worry! While there are benefits to breakfast, there are still plenty of opportunities throughout the day for your teen to get the nutrition they need.  

Have more questions about your child or teen’s nutrition? Our Dietitian team is here to help! 

Are you looking for more support with healthy meal planning and fostering a healthy relationship with food? Check out our nutrition counselling services with a Registered Dietitian!

Our Registered Dietitian team specializes in nutrition for mental health, meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health and more. Find out more about our Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.

Did you know many work and employee health benefits cover seeing a Registered Dietitian?

Check out more articles on our blog written by our team of Dietitians!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This