Tips to add more Veggies to your Breakfast! – April 18, 2012
I have been learning a lot about what my body needs to become physically healthy. It sounds ironic that I would be 35 years old and just now figuring this out. It took a total of 19 weeks of bed rest, June 2011 through January 2012, to cement in my thick skull how important it is to take care of my body. The way I see it healthy bodies are fueled by 4 things: eating healthy, regular exercise, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep. I’m sure there are many of other factors that may contribute but these are the main four that I am working on. So packing our meals with fresh vegetables has been a trick I’ve been mastering over the last 8 months now and I wanted to share some tips with you.
Try to be intentional about adding at least one serving of vegetables to every meal of the day including your snacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) with my age, gender, and level of activity I should be consuming 2 cups of fruit & 3 cups of vegetables everyday to promote good health. Use this calculator from the CDC to determine your daily needed intake, I guarantee you will be shocked as I was! Plus my husband’s suggested veggie intake was significantly higher than mine! Check out this link to read an interesting article on Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables and this link will give you visual examples of several veggies and what the serving size looks like Examples of 1 cup serving.
I have learned that if you’re going to be intentional about packing the menu with veggies it is going to take some planning & preparation. First we find that shopping weekly and buying only what we will eat in that week will help ensure freshness and the best taste possible. This goes for fruits as well but fresh produce doesn’t tend to stay as fresh past a week. Nutritional speaking fresh is best, frozen is ok, canned is better than nothing. However in the Pina household fresh veggies weekly is the only way we roll!
Next I’ve learned to stay creative and try new things. My husband really wouldn’t go for it if I added a salad to every meal, believe me I tried and failed! I experiment ALOT and we like about 3 out of 4 recipes and we have tons of fun with it. Pinterest is my new best friend and allows me to explore tons of new recipes. Click here to follow me on Pinterest!
Load up some of your family’s favorite dishes with extra veggies. This will add a huge nutritional impact and they don’t even realize it! For instance in our favorite ground turkey spaghetti sauce I double the onions, green peppers, and mushrooms for that extra veggie power! I also load up all of our sandwiches with extra vegetables such as cucumber slices, tomato, and spinach.
When in doubt stuff the veggies! I’ve been known to put my ground turkey meatloaf in bell peppers (any color), tuna or chicken salad in tomatoes, pizza sauce & cheese in zucchini, and wild rice in acorn squash. Limitless possibilities my friends!
I have to admit that I personally find breakfast to be one of the hardest to pack veggies into, BUT not impossible. For the sake of space & time I’m going to share 3 of my favorite veggie packed breakfast ideas. These are all ones that we love & eat regularly!
First I’ll start with a Loaded Bagel Thin, here’s how I make them.
You’ll need the following:
Bagel thin (I like everything, whole wheat or plain for this)
Medium yellow onion
Salt & pepper
Next thinly slice the tomato, thinly slice the yellow onion, and cut the avocado in half & remove the seed.
Next prepare a nonstick pan by spraying a few sprays of olive oil on medium high heat.
Add onions to the pan and begin to soften & slightly caramelize on both sides
After 3 to 5 minutes the onions will be done and should look like this:
Scoop out avocado. Here is hint, if you carefully pre-slice prior to removing from the skin it will lay nice & clean on your bagel. *If you are watching your weight I highly recommend weighing the avocado on a food scale in grams. Often avocados vary in size and it makes a significant difference in calories or Weight Watcher PointsPlus*
Avocados are a great source of healthy oil but if you don’t like them I also recommend 1 oz of reduced fat cream cheese which is also really yummy! Next we build the bagel: First toasted bagel & add avocado. I doesn’t have to be perfect, I just lay the avocado out as evenly as possible.
Now time to add the onions & tomatoes.
Topping bagel thins or English muffins with vegetables are a really great way to incorporate veggies into your day. The sky is the limit; roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini, or even sautéed mushrooms would also taste great!
The second favorite veggie packed breakfast in our home is the Green Smoothie! Ok I’ll admit I was slow to grab hold of the Green Smoothie trend but I’m totally on board over the last 2 months. Basically a green smoothie is a regular fruit smoothie that is loaded with tons of veggies – commonly with some green veggies such as raw spinach, kale or arugula. Believe it or not you SERIOUSLY can’t taste them at all. I want to caution you on this, as I’ve been researching green smoothie recipes some of them get really high in calorie count (or WWP+) so be careful what you put in these if you are watching your weight. *I also don’t choose to use this as a meal replacement but rather incorporate it into my daily points and the daily number of fruits I consume.*after tons of experimentation here is my favorite combination:
1 cup of ice cubes
2 cups raw spinach
1 large banana
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup 1% milk (1 WWP+)
1 scoop protein powder (mine is 3 WWP+ but check your brand’s label because they all vary)
Load it all in the blender like so:
I blend it really well until it is smooth and creamy. Here is the final product!
Great way to pack in some great veggies. Have fun & experiment with all kinds of combinations of fruits & veggies. I also really like blueberries, oranges, and canned pumpkin!
Finally the last veggie packed breakfast I am going to share is my husband’s favorite. Basically any combination of sautéed, grilled, or roasted veggies & eggs. Adrian LOVES eggs for breakfast and could probably eat them every day. He has recently discovered egg whites in the container and loves how convenient they are to use. Here are some great combination ideas that could be made into an omelet, egg scramble, or a frittata.
Baby portabella mushrooms
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup of egg whites
Roasted red bell pepper
Diced red onion
1/2 cup of egg whites
This if the first of 4 blog posts with tips on packing veggies into our meals. I hope you were inspired to try some new things. I’d love to hear from you guys on what you find helps you eat more veggies. I’d love to hear some of your favorite breakfast recipes that are packed with veggies!