One of the best and most simple ways to improve your physical and mental health and lose weight is to up your vegetable intake. Most nutrition guides tell you to eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day. While that is good, we really should be getting more like 8-10 servings of vegetables a day (not including fruit). Now, I will be honest and let you know that while I aim for that amount of vegetables each day–some days it happens and other days it doesn’t. But when we aim that high we are significantly increasing our vegetable intake and thus taking into our bodies a wider array of micronutrients.
But 8-10 vegetable servings a day. That probably seems massive and impossible to squeeze in and if you look at the standard diet, it is very difficult. I find that the best way to jump-start my day is to try to get 1-2 servings of vegetables in at breakfast. Then you only have about 6 other servings to work into your day. You can do this by having 2-3 servings at lunch (a salad or soup) , 3 servings at dinner and 1 serving as a snack. Now when thinking about servings, you don’t necessarily have to eat 8-10 different vegetables a day. You can just double up the amount of vegetables you would normally eat at each meal. Ideally you should fill half of your plate with vegetables at each meal.
Its much easier to do for dinner and lunch, but getting veggies in for breakfast can be much more complicated because we are so programmed to think of breakfast as something sweet and grain based. You can do this 2 ways–adding veggies to your normal breakfast foods or eating leftovers from dinner or lunches for breakfast. I do this often whether it’s a salad, soup or just roasted veggies with a protein of some sort. My kids aren’t as fond of this kind of breakfast so I don’t do it too often with them. While I love eating leftovers for breakfast, my kids would rather I just include the veggies into their normal breakfast rotations.
Here are some easy ways to add vegetables to your normal breakfast:
Make a green smoothie heavy on the greens light on the fruit (spinach, romaine lettuce or kale). Check out this post for some green smoothie ideas.
Scramble some eggs up with some sautéed mushroom, onion, asparagus, red pepper and spinach or kale.
Add a sliced tomato and sautéed asparagus or steamed broccoli (leftover from dinner) to the side of some eggs cooked your favorite way.
Add pureed or grated veggies to your pancake batter. Check out my Banana Beetroot Pancakes for a great example of this that my kids ask for again and again. We also do a great carrot cake or zucchini/courgette pancake.
Make some mini crustless Quiche with some chopped veggies the night before and serve them for breakfast. It’s just beat eggs with a few tablespoons of flour, chopped veggies and you can always toss in some bacon and cheese if you want.
Sauté some spinach and top it with a few fried eggs (you can always throw in other veggies you may have left in the fridge as well).
Top your scrambled eggs with some homemade pico de gallo or salsa or avocados. You could even make a breakfast burrito out of it ig you added some black beans and wrapped it in a tortilla.
Make some potato, sweet potato and zucchini hash browns. These are super simple, just grated veggies mixed with some eggs and a few tablespoons of flour cooked in a waffle iron.
So instead of reaching for the normal fruit and grain based breakfast that will just spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more food in a short while. Try some of these ideas and begin to add more veggies into your breakfast. Your kids may look at you weird from the first few weeks, but eventually it will become second nature and they won’t bat an eyelid at eating veggies for breakfast. Everyone else still may look at you funny, but your health is worth it!