This is a guest post by Kelly Harjes who’s a regular contributor to our site. To learn more about Kelly check out “Our Team” page.
Eating more real food in and of itself goes a long way towards better health. But to really reap the benefits, we need to make sure that the real food we are eating includes plenty of vegetables. This certainly isn’t breaking news. But while most of us know this, our diets tend to indicate otherwise. I’m not big on “recommended serving sizes,” but a good rule of thumb we try to stick to in our house is simply to eat some vegetables with every meal, including breakfast.
Whenever I talk with people about eating broccoli and other veggies for breakfast, I’m reminded of this past summer when we were out of town at a relative’s house for the weekend. Donuts were brought over in the morning, and since we don’t strive to eat perfectly healthy 100% of the time, we told our daughters they could go ahead and have one… to which my seven-year-old replied “for breakfast?!” To her it seemed crazy to have what looked like (and actually is) dessert for breakfast, yet to most adults, it’s completely acceptable. But broccoli for breakfast? Now that’s just weird! So while it may be unconventional to some (beyond maybe the occasional veggie omelet), today I’m sharing a few of the ways we incorporate vegetables into the most important meal of the day.
Here are my Five Ways to Think Outside the Breakfast (Cereal) Box:
- Have the vegetables you eat at lunch or dinner for breakfast too. When you start thinking more inclusively as meals versus breakfast, lunch and dinner, your options for what to eat—and how to include more vegetables—immediately expand. Some of my favorite vegetables to eat at dinner are steamed broccoli and green beans, so I eat them for breakfast too. Try broccoli, quinoa and sliced almonds (pictured above) or green beans, brown rice and chickpeas. Both taste great dressed with a little tahini, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Add some leafy greens to your eggs. It doesn’t get any easier than tossing a handful of greens into your scrambled eggs just before they’re done cooking. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to let the greens wilt. Try swiss chard and gruyere or spinach, tomato and feta, or kale and pasture-raised sausage. Another option is to incorporate leafy greens (and other veggies) into a weekend frittata or egg bake.
- Get on the Green Smoothie bandwagon. If you’re not a big breakfast eater or don’t want to make time to cook in the morning, a green smoothie could be just the thing for you. Green smoothie recipes are everywhere these days, but not all green smoothies are created equal. In my book, a truly “green” smoothie contains more greens than fruit. And to avoid questionable ingredients and too much added sugar, I also steer clear of fruit juice, sweetened dairy or dairy alternatives, and protein powders. Try 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup coconut water and 2 tablespoons hemp seed. If you’re new to drinking your greens (it can be a bit of an acquired taste), add 1 teaspoon raw honey. Simply blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and you’re good to go.
- Make a veggie hash. Who doesn’t love hash browns? Potatoes are a real food, and they’re good for us. But adding veggies to them makes them even better. Try potatoes, onions, and brussels sprouts pan-fried in a little virgin coconut oil. Not a fan of brussels? Leftover roasted root vegetables work well here too. Both also make an excellent base for an over-easy egg.
- Have a salad. Again, just because it’s not lunch or dinner time doesn’t mean you can’t eat a salad. One of my favorite combinations to have with eggs is a salad made from mixed greens, red grapes and pine nuts with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
As you can see by this picture, our toddler is a big fan of broccoli for breakfast! 🙂 How about you? Do you eat veggies for breakfast? If so, please share your favorite ways to do so in the comments below.
Kelly Harjes is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Appetite for Healthy Change™. Her mission is to inspire others to look and feel their best, feed their families well, and help improve our food system.