There’s all sorts of recommendations out there for how to start your day. Some swear by drinking a large glass of water before they even get out of bed. Others meditate or do a yoga stretching routine. And then it’s breakfast time, and most adults head straight for the coffee maker, and this is where the dilemma begins.
What to eat first? Most people have given up fruit juice and are choosing fresh fruit. That is a great start. Then we go on to our protein and maybe a carbohydrate choice. Let’s just say an egg and toast combo. Lastly, and maybe most important, how about a side of vegetables?!
Yes, I said vegetables! That is the most recent recommendation. The reason is that veggies provide much needed fiber to help get your body to a very healthy, and sustained full feeling for most of the morning. Lasting all morning, the addition of vegetables to your daily breakfast is said to give a good feeling of satiety all morning until just before lunch. But, how do you do it?
How my love of breakfast vegetables began:
I first need to tell you that growing up in my family, there were vegetables at every meal and it started with several vegetables at breakfast. But it wasn’t what you think.
On the long farm-like table in our kitchen was a large array of small dishes of vegetables, fruits, cheese, yogurts and so on. It was really the foods left from the day before that had been cut and prepared for other meals or it was food that had come in from the gardens that was easy to put out and enjoy.
Fruits and vegetables were made fresh by cutting up and placing in the small dishes on the table. It wasn’t discussed, ever, it was just there. Then, you would be able to have what you wanted, making your own breakfast. I grew to like this particular style of breakfast and always had something to “chew on” while waiting for my eggs, cereal, or smoothie.
Tips to incorporate vegetables into your breakfast:
- Follow the same pattern I did and try a variety of garden-fresh simple vegetables, such as carrots, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, celery that can be waiting for you in the refrigerator.
- Cut up favorites that are easy to do, like cucumber.
- Add veggies directly into your main dishes like eggs or an omelette.
- Microwave some of these vegetables and eat while they are still crunchy to the taste.
- Add to your morning smoothie, as fresh or even from a frozen bag.
- At the very least, put these little goodies in a bag and eat on your way to work.
Vegetables in Fast Food?!
Perhaps one of the most surprising tips I can give you is to try one of the newer Fast Food items from none other than Taco Bell’s Morning Dollar Value Menu.
They have several good ideas for breakfast with plenty of vegetable additions, such as a Soft Taco with egg and cheese, Grilled Breakfast Burrito, and my favorite, the Mini Skillet Cup. All are rich with breakfast protein of egg, cheese, or meat, but also liberal amounts of tomato, onion, and other vegetables.
The average calories fall within the allowance for any meal of being under 300 calories. At the price I think they are worth a try if you’re in a crunch.
Other morning restaurants that will add veggies to their breakfast fare are Panera, Wendy’s, and Qdoba.
Research is saying that those that eat vegetables every morning will simply live longer! So, if it’s all the same to you, then go ahead and start your day on all cylinders. I think you will feel the difference!
Written by Rita Larsen, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Rita is certified in Positive Psychology, University of Penn; has a BS in Dietetics from Kansas State University; and an Internship and Masters at the Indiana University Medical Center.Schedule a Nutrition Consultation