We don't get our nutrition news from Subway very often, but findings from a recent customer survey conducted by the sandwich chain were too good to pass up: When it comes to eating vegetables, a whopping 84% of Americans say they fall short of getting the recommended 4 daily servings. Yet half of us admit that there's nothing stopping us from eating more.
And get this: A measly 1% (one! percent!) of us say that we eat vegetables at breakfast. Which means, of course, that your morning meal is a prime opportunity to up your quota. Need some inspiration? Here are 10 easy ideas that'll have you running for the crisper drawer. (Find out which vegetables can balance your healthy gut bacteria for a total-body transformation with The Good Gut Diet.)
1. Make a breakfast salad.
Crispy bacon and soft-boiled eggs make anything feel breakfasty, including a big bowl of spinach or kale. Add some sliced avocado and a handful of sunflower seeds, and you've got a veg-heavy breakfast that'll keep you full for hours.
2. Go beyond the green smoothie.
If you aren't already adding spinach or kale to your morning smoothie, you should probably get on that. But if boredom forced you off the veggie smoothie train ages ago, try swapping the leafy greens for something totally different, like steamed, cooled beets.
3. Do a loaded sweet potato.
Love oatmeal in the morning? Try a warm baked sweet potato instead. Like your bowl of oats, it's loaded with fiber and complex carbs. Best of all, you can add any toppings you want. Go savory with sautéed greens and beans, or stay on the sweeter side with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped nuts or seeds.
4. Think scrambled veggies.
Instead of scrambled eggs with a measly handful of spinach or tomatoes, try reversing the ratio. Sauté loads of vegetables in some coconut oil (any combo works, but kale, shiitake mushrooms, and butternut squash is super delicious). At the very end, add an egg or two to bring it all together. Top with lots of sriracha.
5. Have a side of vegetables instead of fruit.
This one's really easy: Swap your usual apple, banana, or berries with a handful of baby carrots or celery sticks. Or do roasted brussels sprouts or asparagus—cook them up the night before and eat them cold. They're just as good.
6. Crack an egg in it.
You can do baked eggs in a ramekin, but why? Crack your egg into ahollowed-out tomato half, half of a bell pepper, or even a big portobello mushroom and broil on high until set. Top with a little Parmesan. (It looks a lot fancier than it is.)
7. Eat leftovers for breakfast.
What's that? You're too lazy to make breakfast? Yeah, we've been there. Next time, pack up some of your dinner (which was loaded with vegetables, right?) to eat the next morning. Because even a cold slice of spinach and broccoli pizza is better than a crappy granola bar or boring bowl of cereal.
8. Supercharge your avocado toast.
Mashed avocado on bread? You can do better than that. Load up your avocado toast with raw sauerkraut and grated beet, roasted cauliflower with a drizzle of tahini, or thick slices of juicy tomato and creamy mozzarella.
9. Make a better breakfast burrito.
You can never go wrong with scrambled eggs, salsa, and some cheese folded into a whole wheat or brown rice tortilla. But if you stopped at that, you'd be missing out on a prime opportunity to add a serving or two of vegetables like sautéed bell pepper strips, caramelized onion, or baby spinach.
10. Pump up your pancakes.
Because brunch doesn't have to be completely unhealthy. Instead of chocolate chips, fold shredded carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, or beets into your pancake batter. Or go full-on savory with sautéed spinach or mushrooms, and top your pancakes with butter, coconut oil, or yogurt rather than the usual maple syrup.
The article 10 Ways to Eat More Vegetables at Breakfast originally ran on EatClean.com.