There are immense health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. The phytochemicals and antioxidants in plants help reduce oxidative damage and provide us with much-needed dietary fiber. It is recommended that we eat five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Without realistic ways of incorporating the foods in each meal, how can we meet the recommendation and realize the health benefits?
Including fruits and vegetables may be easiest as salad and soup for lunch, or a steamed side with dinner, but vegetables for breakfast may be a bit more daunting. Check out the following ways to start your day right by including vegetables with breakfast!
- Greens and Eggs: Egg omelets, scrambles and frittatas are a great vehicle for all kinds of vegetables. Save time by chopping fresh vegetables and storing them for an easy addition to your favorite egg dish. Experiment with your favorite vegetable combination: Peppers and onions make a classic Denver omelet; or make a Mediterranean-style omelet with spinach and tomato, and try adding broccoli for a bonus crunch!
- Savory Oatmeal: Warm oatmeal is a great breakfast food loaded with fiber. Sauté mushrooms, onion and your favorite herbs and serve it over cooked oatmeal. Add pureed sweet potatoes or squash to your morning oats and top with cinnamon and a crunch of walnuts. Bonus: the walnuts will add some protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids to your meal!
- Colorful Sandwiches and Burritos: Add a boost to your breakfast sandwiches by adding raw spinach, thinly sliced zucchini or tomato, and one or two thin slices of avocado. Or add chopped cabbage, peppers and salsa to egg and black bean burritos to bring a zesty flair to breakfast food.
- Breakfast Salad: Who says salads are just for lunch? Start your morning with a light yet filling meal by mixing a salad with all your favorite greens and fixings, and add a couple of cooked eggs!
- Green Smoothies: If pressed for time, smoothies are a great way to get the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables in a portable package. Add spinach, parsley or other greens to the protein base of the smoothie, and round it out with slightly sweet apples, carrots or other fruit.
With these options, you can easily start your day with a vegetable-rich breakfast and set yourself up for a successful day of healthful eating.
By Elizabeth Potter, dietetic intern 2015