"Eat your vegetables." We've all heard it, but how many of us actually do it?
The answer is 13%. THIRTEEN PERCENT of Americans consume at least 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. This means nearly 9 of 10 of us just aren't getting enough.
Vegetables are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help protect your body from chronic diseases. Meeting the recommendation (2.5 - 3 cups per day) can help you avoid high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excessive weight gain.
The best advice we can give is simple - Start Early! Even if you have the best intentions, it is hard to squeeze three cups of veggies in at dinner time. You may plan to have a huge salad once you get home in the evening, but as soon as you get the call to go out for pizza with friends... Well, that plan is out the window.
It's time for us to shift the way we think about our meals, and the best place to start is breakfast. Here are 5 ways to upgrade traditional breakfast foods and bring you a step closer to meeting your recommended vegetable intake.
5 Ways To Rethink Breakfast
1. Smoothie - For anyone looking for breakfast on the run, a quick smoothie is a great option. However, not all smoothies get the green light from us. If you load your blender with a ton of fruit, then you are missing the point. Use your morning drink to sneak vegetables into your day. Spinach and kale are always easy additions, but don't be afraid to add other colors. Bits of beet or butternut squash can add a sweet splash.
2. Eggs - Love them or hate them, eggs are a great source of quality protein to begin the day. Even better? ..It is easy to sneak a serving of vegetables in for a delicious meal. You cant go wrong with an omelet or veggie scramble, but sometimes this takes too much time in the morning. Check out our Mini Egg Frittata recipe for an easy grab and go breakfast idea.
3. Toast - Ahhhh.. Toast! We don't mean "dab of butter with a squirt of jelly" toast. We mean the fully loaded, nutrient packed, start your day the right way toast. Avocado toast has made a grand appearance on the brunch scene, but there are other ways to get your veggies up. Here are a few ideas...
- Red pepper hummus with cucumber, onion, olives and sprinkled feta
- Thinly sliced mozzarella topped with tomatoes, garlic and basil
- White bean spread with mushrooms and caramelized onions
4. Oatmeal - Savory oatmeal is on the rise. Yes, people are adding arugula and onions and zuchinni to oatmeal. Not your speed? We understand that not everyone is ready to let go of warm, sweet oatmeal for the sake of a vegetable. We'll just drop this carrot cake oatmeal here.
5. Pizza - ...No, it's not delivery. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pizza for breakfast, but we need to do it right. Have you tried individual pita pizzas? Try taking a whole grain pita and adding your favorite pizza toppings... as long as those toppings include a vegetable. Bake your pita on 425ºF for 8-10min and flourish!
Vegetables offer nutrients that have been shown to lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and beyond. These are proven #FACTS, and nearly 90% of us still missing the mark. Don't forget that taking the time to properly fuel your body is self-care too.