Not that I listen to the government very often, particularly when it comes to them telling me how to eat, but the recommended amount of vegetables for men and women is anywhere between 2-3 cups per day depending on your age. If we’re being honest, there are plenty of days when vegetables don’t even appear on my plate until dinner time. It’s kind of crazy because it’s not that I will necessarily eat poorly before dinner time rolls around it’s just that vegetables never made their debut until then.
Think about it, an eggs, bacon and fruit breakfast isn’t unhealthy, right? How about a bowl of oatmeal packed with chia seeds, ground flax, fresh fruit and nuts? Still pretty healthy, but no vegetables in sight. Even lunch, although a more practical place for vegetables to turn up, can still be healthy without them. Think sandwiches or more likely in my case, picking at cheese, fruit, nuts, cold cuts and jerky instead of a real meal because I don’t want to be stuffed at 5pm when I walk into CrossFit.
I almost always make up for it at dinner where 2/3 of plate will likely be dedicated to something green but wouldn’t things be a lot easier (and maybe a bit nicer to my stomach) if I spread out the vegetable love throughout the day? So, let’s talk about 5 ways to eat more vegetables for breakfast and get our green fix going first thing in the day.
1. Breakfast Hash
You probably think potatoes when you hear hash and you wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s also a great way to add greens for a savory start to the day. Leftover vegetables are great in hashes as well as just a handful of any baby greens you have on hand. You can go the traditional potato route with this quick sweet potato hash, the stuffed vegetable route with these jalapeno cilantro hash stuffed portobellos or the unconventional (and my personal favorite) route with these southwestern hash brown waffles, all great ways to get your veg on.
2. Egg Scrambles
Eggs are no surprise when it comes to breakfast so why not throw some vegetables into your next scramble? Just like hashes, scrambles are also a great place to use up leftover vegetables from dinner or any greens you have in the fridge. This sofrito egg scramble is packed with vegetables in one heck of a tasty way but this breakfast option hardly needs a recipe, just add any vegetable to your normal scrambled eggs to get a serving or two in before the day even starts.
3. Savory Oats
Oatmeal isn’t anything new when it comes to breakfast, but how about a big piping hot bowl of savory oats instead of the usual sweet stuff? Savory oats are cooked the same way as normal oats (with milk or water) but things like bacon, greens and a fried egg would make an appearance in the bowl instead of cinnamon, sugar and fruit. Again, the possibilities are endless, but the bacon and greens combination is definitely a favorite. You can also go the pumpkin route (just like in this bowl of pumpkin bacon grits with poached eggs) for a veggie packed start to the day.
Even the traditional pancake breakfast is a great place to add vegetables. These paleo pumpkin pancakes or these oatmeal pumpkin pancakes are both options if you want to keep things pretty tame on the creativity scale. Sweet potato chocolate chip pancakes are a little more daring and a great balance between healthy and a weekend treat. But if you really want to get crazy, green pancakes are where it’s at. While they’d make the perfect start to St. Patrick’s Day, the other 364 days in the year are just as good to throw some spinach in your pancake stack.
No doubt you’ve heard of green smoothies. If not, you must’ve been living under a rock. They’ve been all the rage and have probably single-handedly been responsible for most sales of any high-end blender company in recent years as vegetables aren’t always the easiest thing to blend into drink form. Unlike a lot of fads though, it’s hard to find any fault in the green smoothie movement.
While there are plenty of recipes you can follow for green smoothies (this detox green smoothie or this cold buster smoothie are some personal favorites), it’s really not necessary. Experimentation is part of the fun and with some simple tips on how to make the perfect healthy smoothie, you can mix and match ingredients to your heart’s content until you find what you like best.
There’s hardly a time we don’t have some sort of green in our fridge (I live with a salad monster) but there are definitely plenty of times when I’m not feeling the whole “take 5-10 different ingredients out to make a healthy veggie packed smoothie” routine. So, I’ve been letting V8® do most of the work for me with their new vegetable & fruit blends. In four different flavors, (Purple Power, Golden Goodness, Healthy Greens and Carrot Mango) these blends have a full serving of vegetables for every 8 ounces without any added sugar and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives making them pretty much perfect for my “lazy-man” healthy smoothie making. I’ve been partial to the purple power juice lately filled with beets, purple carrots and apples so instead of scouring the fridge for a vegetable and fruit combination that would taste good in smoothie form, I’ve been blending it with Greek yogurt for a healthy start to my day.
The best part of these blends in my opinion is the price. When $5+ is the norm for as little as 12 ounces of real vegetable and fruit juices, the $3.99 price tag on these 46 ounce bottles (that’s less than $0.70 a serving!) makes these way more economical for a daily juice fix or breakfast smoothie.
Purple Power Smoothie
- 8 ounces Purple Power V8 Vegetable & Fruit Blend
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- hemp seeds for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
*This post is sponsored by V8. All content and opinions are my own.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.