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Breakfast for teen with no morning appetite

March 2010

I am hoping your experience might offer some ideas for my 16 year old son who understands the importance of breakfast, but has absolutely no appetite in the morning (starting a little over a year ago). He sometimes tries eating a few bites of toast or fruit, but says it makes him feel nauseated (and car-sick on the way to school). He usually drinks a few sips of orange juice and a cup of tea before he leaves, but that's all he can stomach. Luckily, his teachers permit some nibbling during class, so he doesn't have to wait all the way to lunch, but he usually doesn't feel ready to eat until at least his third class. He admits that he finds it harder to pay attention in those first few classes, but he just doesn't feel ready to eat. He gets up a bit before seven, and school starts at eight. He eats well the rest of the day, and is a slim/normal weight. Any strategies that have worked for you? breakfast for the brain!


If he gets up at 7am with school starting at 8am, there is not time for the body to get adjusted to the waking state nor to sit down to have a meaningful, relaxed breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My daughter's school starts at 7:45am. We get up at 6am and have breakfast at 7am, depart at 7:30am. That is the kind of timeframe you should allow for. No rushing, no high or low blood pressure or blood sugar issues, just peace with built-in time for extra emergencies. A very good breakfast is organic oatmeal made from scratch with some org. banana slices and a handful of org. fresh or frozen blueberries (Trader Joe's), sprinkled with some milled org. flaxseed and some cinnamon. My daughter skips all the fruit and just puts a little bit of honey and milled flaxseed in her oatmeal. Takes 5 minutes total. I get my organic oat flakes or steel cut oats from the Berkeley Bowl for $1.15 per pound, which will last you about a week. 3 cups boiling water paired with 1.5 cups of oatmeal on simmer for 5-7 minutes is all it takes to feed 3 people. (Stir a couple of times) Save any leftovers in the fridge for the next day. Once hardened just add a bit of water and heat it up again. It is sooo easy and so nutritious! Two other quick starter meals come to mind: Org. unsalted peanutbutter on toasted whole grain bread with banana slices or with honey or fresh blueberries (instead of jam). My daughter also loves Ezekiel cereal from the Berkeley Bowl (Look at those ingredients! Optimal food) with org. vanilla soymilk (Trader Joe's) plus a dash of honey and milled flaxseed. Anonymous
My daughter has had the same problem since she was about 11 - she is now 13. Try to find out what exactly makes him feel sick. In my daughter's case, milk was a real problem (we figured she may be mildy lactose intolerant). That helped narrow down what we could could give her. For a while we gave her bagels, waffles, etc. with calcium fortified juice, but when she began saying that was too much as well, we switched to smoothies. One that she liked uses frozen berries, a few almonds, cottage cheese, some juice to sweeten it, and a banana. You can add milk or yogurt as preferred. It is pretty filling and healthy, so it will keep them going for a while. Hope this helps! Timi
Hi, I had the same issue until my mid-twenties and still tend to not eat breakfast on weekdays (I have a large cup of hot chocolate at work). My mom was big on breakfast and tried to force me to eat before leaving the house. But it really did make me feel nauseated to eat before 10am. I think letting him eat/drink what he can at home and then packing some food that he can snack on at break is fine (I got straight A's throughout school and healthy). SM
A lot of kids are not hungry for a few hours...just cause school is happening and it's ''time'' to eat.... Can you get a few sips of milk into him? Or a spoon or two of yogurt or peanut butter...a bite of cheese. Protein is really the important brain food. OJ is essentially sugar and will raise his blood sugar for an energy boost and then he'll crash. Protein takes longer to digest and therefore lasts longer in the system. He might get thru the morning w/no more food if he just has a few bites of something w/ protein and will be able to focus better. How about a smoothie w/ protein powder...just a sip or two? Or he can take a water bottle of it and sip thru the AM. Hope this helps. mom of breakfast nibbler
First make sure he is getting enough sleep, then restrict eating in the evening. Have dinner early enough to allow several hours for digestion before bed, and then restrict later dessert or to a snacking, if it seems necessary at all, to a token minimum. He should sleep better and wake up hungrier and more alert. Parent of a nibbler

Teenager says breakfast gives her a stomach ache

April 1999

Okay, how about this? I have a 12-year-old who has to sleep as much as she can. She spends her entire morning getting ready for school. How do I convince her to eat breakfast without having a knock-down, drag-out fight every morning? And she says that EVERYTHING she eats in the morning gives her an upset stomach. (We've checked out food allergies, taken her to the doctor, etc.) So does anyone have any suggestions?


My daughter often doesn't eat all day until she gets home from school. I don't like breakfast either until after 9:30 or so so I understand. I just make sure she has some sort of nutritious snack with her so she can nibble if she wants to and I make it a non-issue. I don't like to make food an issue, especially for teen girls.
My 14-year-old daughter also takes most of her morning time for getting ready and we used to have the same battles. So I now provide her with Instant Breakfast, something she can drink while she's getting ready or some high protein bars or nutri-grain bars to give her some energy. Those are also something she can eat on the way to school. This worked well for both of us. She got some nutrition and didn't end up with a headache and energy-less later on and I didn't have to worry or argue with her any longer.
if you're still concerned about your kid who won't eat breakfast, here's my two cents -- I never could eat breakfast first thing in the morning, even as a young child, it made me feel sick (still does). I wouldn't worry about her/him not eating if you can't find a food-based solution. I remember getting really hungry at around 10, and then eating something from my lunch. Don't worry, it's like when they were babies -- they're not going to starve.
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