Friday, February 10, 2012

10 Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast



I do not like green [things for breakfast], Sam I am.

"If it's your job to eat a frog it is best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest [ugliest] one first." - Mark Twain
It is a good thing that the "green things" that we are talking about in this post aren't eggs, ham or frogs. They are vegetables and they are not always green.

For some reason most of us view vegetables as non-breakfast foods. Our American diets declare that syrup smothered waffles (basically sugar with sugar on top) are acceptable breakfast foods instead. We even see fruit as acceptable but don't consider the thought of vegetables for breakfast as normal.

But think of how much healthier we could be if we changed our thinking and made nutrient, vitamin, fiber rich vegetables part of our morning every day for the rest of our lives. Vegetables are cancer, diabetes and heart disease fighters. It would give them that much more of an opportunity to work their magic in us.

Just imagine if we were to start out on a journey going the wrong direction we would loose a lot of precious time and focus. Breakfast is the same idea. Every day is a journey in our lives. We can start it out right by doing a few things to help us get more vegetables in early in the day. 

Here is a dare for you...eat vegetables at breakfast for an entire week and see how you feel!

Here are 10 ways to do it:

1- Green smoothies- Vegetable + fruit + ice + liquid. These are becoming very popular and rightfully so. If you have a good blender the family will never know that these yummy tasting shakes are good for them. True green smoothies are supposed to have a higher percentage of vegetables compared to fruit but many people also enjoy them in the opposite proportion. Some brands like Sun Warrior offer rice proteins that can add a natural punch of protein to these smoothies. I just add a regular vanilla whey and it also ads flavor.

2- Eggs- As long as these are not drenched in cheese and other fats, omelets can be a healthy choice and great host to vegetables. An egg white omelet with spinach and a dust of feta cheese was a nice new food introduced to me at the beginning of my journey. I was surprised at how much I liked it. Also garden vegetables cooked then scrambled with eggs and topped with salsa can add flavor, color and excitement to a drab egg breakfast. I love cooked vegetable in crepes by they way! Delicious!

3- Eat them raw- Raw vegetables are a great way to fill up the tummy in the morning. They feel so fresh and light. A mix of cucumbers, olives and carrots is a delicious treat. It is such a simple combination and yet the black canned olives seem to marinate the cucumbers and carrots. This is also a delicious and surprisingly popular party mix. Try it I bet you will take home an empty dish!

3- Black Beans- Yes I know what you are thinking. "Black Beans are a legume" or you may be in the "Black Beans are a vegetable camp" but if you know French you will recognize that the word legume actually means dried fruit. So did the French get it right? Are they considered a fruit in our language as well? Either way they are plant based, protein packed and are very good for breakfast. Black beans can be part of an omelet, can be eaten on their own or even made into a delicious breakfast hummus.

4- Cooked-Despite popular belief vegetables can be eaten cooked and added to the breakfast meal as a side dish just as they are cooked for other meals throughout the day.

5- Juiced- Some vegetables are made for juicing. Carrots for example can be made into a delicious juice that can add a great flavor to other drinks or a tasty drink on its own. But like fruit juices, although they are vitamin rich, they should be used with caution since they lack the fiber benefits of whole foods.

6- Hide them- I LOVE this one especially for my family. You can hide several vegetables in breakfast foods and your family will only notice that breakfast just got better! For example sweet potato or pumpkin in french toast, cauliflower in eggs (yes believe it or not it is delicious) and zucchini in almost any waffle or pancake. Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Sienfield is an entire book dedicated to sneaking in vegetables to the family's diet without them knowing.

7-Soup- I know sounds a little odd for breakfast but I lived in Spain for a year and a half and these people have mastered the art of a cold soup named Gazpacho. It was strange for me at first but I got to the point where I crave it and love the taste. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Vegetables can also be served as a hot soup for breakfast.

8- Yogurt- Adding cooked and purred vegetables to a low calorie Greek yogurt can also prove to be a filling and nutrient dense meal without the calories. Sweeter vegetables such as purred pumpkin can be mixed in with the yogurt and topped with toasted oatmeal for a pumpkin pie taste. I like an artificial sweetener or a calorie free sugar free pumpkin pie syrup on mine or just cinnamon.

9-Other ideas- Sliced Tomatoes on whole wheat toast or an English muffin with a lean turkey can be a yummy and filling breakfast. Also an egg and potato breakfast casserole with green peppers has been a hit at my house.

10- Breakfast pizza- I am not joking on this one. A healthier version of breakfast pizza can be made. A tomato sauce on top of whole wheat flat bread, dusted with mozzarella cheese and topped with garden veggies can be cooked to tasty perfection. Not to mention the delicious smell that your family will wake up to!

So take the challenge: vegetables at breakfast for one week! Any way you can get them in... (Except for fried. Remember never fried ;)

Good luck! Happy Healthy Eating!
- Susan


For my free clean eating meal plans go here and enter your name and email. The printable pdfs come with shopping lists, bulk prep, the meal plan and recipes.

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