Are you trying to eat a healthier, more balanced diet? Well if you are, I’m with you. While I love to indulge on rare occasion, 90% of the time, I’m making the best choices possible. It’s not always easy (and it’s definitely not the most fun) to always be on your a-game, diet wise. A piece on NPR completely changed my mindset and has helped me stay on track consistently. It discusses making your choices ahead of time and not allowing yourself to deliberate. I wrote about this tactic last week and how applicable it is to so many aspects of life.
Okay, back to my secret.
For a while, I was wondering how I could integrate more nutrition into my meals, especially breakfast. I’m a creature of habit, so I could very easily eat the same thing for 3 weeks, then be totally sick of it, throw my hands in the air, stare at the fridge and ask “what am I supposed to eat now?!” Starting the day off hangry is never a good idea.
So, I thought of an easy way to prevent all of that from happening: Whenever I eat, I make sure the main component is a green vegetable. Nothing new, nothing radical; in fact, it's common sense. But many of us glaze over it, myself included. All it takes is a little getting used to and some creativity in the kitchen.
This has really spiced things up in my kitchen. Instead of eating eggs (plain ol' eggs for breakfast) every day I switch things up. I add vegetables (priority number one) then mix in different grains, try a new cooking technique, add a savory sauce or a spice. Remember, veggies=majority of your meal. That is key.
Lunch and dinner don’t present as much of an issue as they are typically savory meals. I stick to a large salad with protein for lunch. I add roasted veggies, shredded carrots, fresh tomatoes or cucumbers for even more nutrition. And for dinner, I always make sure half my plate is composed of green vegetables and I eat a salad no matter what. My body freaks out if there is nothing green on my plate now. It's grown to love, crave vegetables that much.
Back to breakfast! This is where I got stumped early on. Disclaimer: Breakfast need not be always be sweet. This may take some getting used to, but it really opens the door for more possibilities. Keep in mind that a little planning and leftover veggies (and rice, quinoa, etc.) are a serious time saver. And fresh herbs make savory breakfasts even tastier- chives, scallions, basil, parsley and dill freshen boring things up instantly.
Here are some ideas to green veggie it up in the mornings:
Veggie-centric Breakfast Ideas
- Veggie omelet. Leftover veggies make this breakfast easy and quick. Raw greens like kale or spinach are also great as they wilt in no time. Goat cheese is a nice accompaniment here.
- Scrambled eggs with sautéed greens (and any other vegetable. I I like mushrooms, asparagus, and peppers, too.)
- Savory oatmeal/quinoa/brown rice/millet with eggs (fried is so yummy here), sautéed greens, mushrooms, a splash of tamari (wheat free soy sauce) and sriracha (or hot sauce.)
- Loaded veggie frittata. It can be made in advance and pre-portioned. Eat cold or heat it up. This is a favorite of mine when I'm on the go.
- Your regular smoothie or acai bowl, with a large handful of fresh or frozen spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. You won’t even taste it, promise!
- If you don't have fresh or frozen greens, add a tablespoon of wheatgrass powder or other powdered greens to your smoothie. Not my number one choice but works in a pinch.
- Avocado toast with sautéed spinach, fresh chives and a squeeze of lemon. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats. I try to eat one per week.
And when you run out of ideas, the best source of inspiration is Pinterest. If you type in any of the above recipe ideas, you’ll get lost in a rabbit hole of Pins. Here are some recipes I'd like to try out:
What do you guys eat for breakfast? Does the sound of something savory first thing in the morning sound nuts? It's an adjustment, for sure. But since I adopted this trick, I can't tell you how much better I feel!