What is this, you say?? Plants for BREAKFAST, you say?!?
This may be a tough one for some folks! Understandably so. Often we think breakfast food and our thoughts go to pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, cinnamon rolls, etc. While all very tasty, what’s missing is some fiber rich, phytonutrient stars to our breakfast game. Or, maybe, you are one to “not eat breakfast”. But then I ask you, what is breakfast, if it is not the first thing you eat for the day, no matter what time it is? What I’m getting at here is, plants should be part of every single one of your meals.
Here are 8 reasons why your body will thank you for adding plants to kick off your day, followed by suggestion to inspire you:
1) Dietary guidelines recommend at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Starting with your first meal of the day gets you off to a great start!
2) Vegetables are low carbohydrate, low calorie, nutrient rich options. They fit most diet plans, whether you have certain dietary restrictions you are following or not.
3) FIBER! Fiber, fiber, fiber. This is not only necessary, but essential for gut health and staying regular (think bowel movements).
4) Delicious versatility – and the best choices change with the seasons! Don’t feel like you need to always eat fresh fruits and vegetables – dried, frozen, and canned are all great options.
5) Great as leftovers! So many ways to use up leftover vegetables or fruit that was prepped the day before.
6) Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are all naturally low sodium and heart healthy choices.
7) They help regulate appetite by being fiber rich. This slows down digestion and helps keep you feeling full and fueled, for longer.
8) Set the tone for your day! Starting off the day right with a nourishing breakfast and you’ll be more likely to make healthier decisions the rest of the day.
Feel inspired with some of the following simple, no-recipe meal ideas to get your day started off right!
Greens + Eggs
Spinach, kale, collards...anything you have! Not only do they sauté up super quick, you can easily make this a one-pan deal. Start with a drizzle of olive oil, sauté your greens of choice until wilted, then throw in your eggs and stir away! Voila, you have a nice greens scramble. Pair with some whole grain toast or a piece of fruit if that's your style!
This is also a good time to use up leftover roasted or sautéed vegetables! Portobello mushrooms, root vegetables, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, onions - all make fantastic additions to scrambles or omelets.
So simple, and will travel well if you are the type that takes breakfast to work with you. Scoop plain yogurt and top with your favorite fruit and nuts, and a sweetener if that's your style. My favorite combos:
- Banana + Pecan + drizzle of maple syrup
- Raspberries + Slivered almonds + drizzle of honey
- Dried dates + walnuts (no sweetener needed on this one - dates pack good sweetness on their own!)
Oats + Fruit
This one is a great meal prep option for those that like steel cut oats. Steel cut oats in particular can be cooked and portioned out for the week ahead. They won't get mushy and they reheat well. Whatever your style, steel cut or instant oatmeal, top them with the right things and you have yourself a stellar start to your day. My favorite toppings:
- Banana + Walnut + Cinnamon + Maple syrup
- Dried dates + Slivered Almonds + Cream
- Banana + Dark chocolate chips
Whole grain toast can be a fantastic vehicle for all kinds of yummy, nutritious toppers. And it's quick, making this a breakfast winner for people not wanting to dirty many dishes or take too much time cooking something. Try out these delicious toasties:
- Avocado + Everything bagel seasoning (pictured)
- Nut butter + Banana
- Cheddar cheese + Avocado
- Mozzarella + Sliced tomato
- Avocado + Sliced hard boiled egg
- Nut butter + Apple slices
- Hummus + Sliced tomato
Sometimes it comes down running out the door and making sure we don't get a case of the hangry. These grab-and-go ideas can be a lifesaver in a pinch! Here is a list of great items to keep on hand for those times when you need minimal effort. My combination for a balanced mini-meal is protein + plant. A little planning ahead can go a long way. Having fruit and vegetables washed and prepped will set you up for success later when you are in a rush.
- Hard boiled eggs
- String cheese
- Nuts/trail mix (also a plant!)
- Yogurt drink
- Protein drink
- Whole fruit (bananas, apples, pears require minimal effort and travel well)
- Prepared fruit (clementines, grapes, melon)
- Raw vegetables (carrot sticks/baby carrots, celery, cauliflower, peppers)
- Granola bar
- Puree fruit packet
- Dried fruit