Experts and parents agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With hectic morning routines, it can be difficult to serve up wholesome and nutritious choices. Convincing pre-teens and teenagers to sit down for a hearty meal before 8 a.m. may be impossible — "grab and go" is often the only solution. If you're looking for a way to move past frozen waffles and toaster pastries, consider using your blender to make your mornings smoother and healthier!

To ensure easy mornings, prep all ingredients ahead of time.

Slice ripe bananas onto cookie sheets covered with waxed paper, freeze, and then store in a freezer bag. Cut up fresh fruit and freeze, or opt for pre-bagged frozen fruit. Pour greek yogurt into ice cube trays for a simple way to add protein. You may even want to prepare single serving bags — toss all solid ingredients into a freezer bag to make it simple for older kids to blend on their own.

Add protein for morning power.

Ensuring that your child gets a healthy dose of protein in the morning will give them the energy to tackle their school day. Milk and yogurt based smoothies are a great option for a morning boost. Nut butters, whey powder, silken tofu, and soy milk are excellent non-dairy options.

Reach for fruits AND veggies.

Fruit smoothies are sweet and familiar — they often taste like a slightly healthy milkshake. You can bump up the nutritional value even more by blending in vegetables! Greens such as spinach and kale are almost undetectable in smoothies, other than by color. Harder vegetables — carrots, raw beets, broccoli — may need to be juiced before adding to your blender.

Experiment with creative combinations.

Options for smoothies are virtually endless! Don't limit yourself to the usually berry blends. Challenge your kids to come up with creative combinations on their own! Try these tasty combinations:

  1. Monkey Butter — almond milk, bananas, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and a ¼ cup of dry oatmeal.
  2. Taste of the Tropics — coconut milk, pineapple, mango. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil for an extra dose of healthy fats.
  3. Mint Chocolate — almond milk, chocolate protein powder, a drop of mint, and a handful of spinach.
  4. Orange Dream — orange juice, carrot juice, mango, and plain yogurt.
  5. Very Berry Banana — strawberry, blueberry, banana, soy milk.
  6. Peachy Keen — vanilla almond milk, peaches, mango, and vanilla yogurt.

For more smoothie ideas, check out It's Not Easy Being GreenWhat's your favorite morning blend?