It’s 6am and your teen is getting ready for school. You know she needs to eat a nutritious, healthy, protein filled breakfast to break her body’s fasting through the night. But you were up until 12:30 finishing up a project for work, and could really use the extra 30 min of sleep. Wouldn’t you rather your teen cook breakfast for herself?
Don’t you wish your budding teen cook knew how to get breakfast going for herself?
She needs the protein to give her brain the energy it needs to learn throughout the day. But it’s such a hectic time.
Everyone is rushing around taking showers, getting dressed, putting on makeup or doing hair. I did say teenagers right?
Then it’s finally the weekend. You long to have a lie in to catch up your sleep deprived body.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your teen knew how to make breakfast for herself, and as a special treat, your teen cooks for the rest of the family too?
Some kids know how to cook breakfast for themselves by the time they are 10-11 years old.
Your child may have been a late bloomer in this department. And you needed to wait a bit for her attention span and maturity to catch up to her age before she was ready to really learn specific skills.
In that case, you might find yourself with 4 years left to cram a lifetime of lessons into them. It’s not too late.
There is so much for them to learn before they are really ready to be on their own.
And there are basic life skills necessary for survival as an independent adult.
Everybody’s got to EAT! Crucial Life Skill #1
People cannot survive independently without knowing how to cook for themselves.
So teach your kids how to cook. Before you know it, they will be away at college and you won’t have a lot of time for this teaching when they are visiting.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, if you are going to allow your adult child to live with you while they are in school or until they get enough money saved up for a space of their own, THEY NEED to know how to cook for themselves. So let’s start now.
There are several steps in teaching a young (or old) person how to cook for themselves. They need to know how to:
- Go grocery Shopping – grocery makeover course
- How to select fruit and veggies that are ripe and ready
- Cooking skills involved in cooking breakfast, lunch, dinner
- How to bake, roast, and broil using an oven.
- Kitchen safety basics.
- Cleaning up the kitchen – dishes, stovetop cleaning, oven cleaning, and why we wipedown and disinfect a kitchen.
But for now, we are going to start with the basics of breakfast.
Teach your Teen Cook How to Make Breakfast
Breakfast for teens means different things to different people. A classic American breakfast of eggs and toast is one choice. A Dominican breakfast of platanos, eggs, and rice is another!
Remember that equipping your kids to learn how to make a healthy breakfast is one of the best gifts you can give them, as they will learn how to be fueled for every day of the rest of their lives.
I really can’t think of anything more important to teach a human being I am responsible for raising.
When you consider that many people could easily eat breakfast foods done right for dinner and even lunch, you could technically stop with teaching breakfast skills and know that your child will never starve a day in his life as an adult.
Plus, the skills required to master breakfast food, transfers easily to lunch and dinner prep too. Confidence in the kitchen for the win!!
Where to begin?
Start with the foods you like to eat in your family. It will be familiar to your child and will bring about so much pride in them to know they can cook it too.
But start with basic techniques to give your child small wins that translate into confidence in the kitchen.
Before I start, one resource that I consider a must in any busy kitchen tool kit is a good basic cookbook.
For classic instruction on the basics: How to Cook Everything the Basics: All you need to make great food by Mark Bittman is ALL you need. There are over 1000 instructional photos in this must have book.
Another one that I reach for time and again now that I know how to cook is called How to Cook Everything FAST: A better way to cook great food by Mark Bittman.
That man is a cookbook wizard and this particular cookbook teaches new and seasoned cooks how to cook in the correct steps to minimize your time in the kitchen.
This is particularly necessary when considering breakfast foods.
Most people don’t even have 15 min to spare to prepare breakfast on busy mornings. This book is the ticket.
Basic Tools for the Job
For some wonderful kitchen tools and equipment every kitchen should have check out my post:
Traditional Breakfast Foods for your Teen Cook to Master
Eggs come in many styles and your teen should learn to cook it all. Boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets, even poached in water. And they are all simple healthy meals full of protein to fuel the body.
Protein: Bacon, sausage, ham, steak, chicken, chorizo, prosciutto, smoked salmon, tofu or some kind of protein is also a popular side. Again, stick with what your family likes best.
Potatoes: Hash, home fries, French fries, tater tots, roasted
Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast and Johnnycakes
Teach them how to toast different types of breads, english muffins, bagels, etc.
Hot cereals and Grains: teach how to make oatmeal, steel cut and Rolled Oats. In an instant pot, on the stove or in a microwave. Depending on what you have available.
Cold Cereal: how to glam it up with fresh fruit.
Yogurts: how to make a yogurt, fruit, and granola parfait.
Smoothies: teach your kids how to make their own delicious smoothies and they will never want to pay $7 for one again.
Breakfast Bars: the ultimate grab and go food.
Breakfast Muffins: just one word… yum!
Grits: I admit that have not learned how to make good grits myself, mostly because I am a Northern girl. But for many, especially in the South, grits is a basic southern breakfast must, so I include it here.
Breakfast Burger (also known as the sausage, egg, english muffin). Another grab and go food. This is something you can easily prepare in advance to freeze, then defrost in the fridge overnight, heat up in the morning and go.
Breakfast Burritos/wraps another freezer friendly make in advance heat and go protein packed breakfast.Plus, tortillas, eggs, cheese, veggies or bacon with a little salsa on the side. Need I say more?
Hot beverages: teach them how to make their own lattes, iced coffee or hot tea to go. Its so easy, and LOADS faster than driving and then waiting in line at the coffee shop and spending $5 or more for coffee to go. Don’t even get me started.
You may have your favorite recipes and your family traditions. Start there and teach what you know. Then both of you explore, experiment and learn something new together.
Does this sound like a lot? You’re right!
Moms (and Dads), this is a job. You have to be intentional with this task.
I KNOW it’s easier to do many of these tasks yourself in many cases. How many times have you quickly picked out the produce rather than ask your kids so you don’t have to go back to return their mushy selections? I know, I get it.
There is not always time for teaching.
But they are NEVER going to learn that way. Slow down and allow yourself the time to teach them what you know, empower them, and then ask them to start doing it for you when you go out next to give them more practice and confidence.
Build it into your calendar, make it more than about your kids doing their chores, make it about how you are going to teach your kids these skills to get them ready.
Treat it like it’s a course they are taking. Pick one day of the week that you work on teaching and practicing the skills.
Maybe you decide by seasons of the year to work on teaching certain skill sets. Spring for gardening or late fall. Summer for car care.
Plan it out and get started.
Now if any of these tasks are ones you could use a little help with yourself, then sit down and brainstorm people in your life that have those skills down solid. I bet they would be thrilled to be able to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It is a privilege most folks would be honored to have/do/perform.
If you do this right, give you kid plenty of learning grace, and practice, you might just end up with with breakfast on the table a few mornings a week. And breakfast in bed on your birthday.
Now tell me, wouldn’t that alone be worth the effort?
P.S. Check out these other helpful articles about teaching your teen life skills.
Teach my Teen to… Basic Life Skills Series
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.