Monday, 19 May 2014

Veg for breakfast

Back in March, a new study by University College London proposed that just getting your 'five-a-day' wasn't enough. In fact, the research suggested eating more fresh fruit and vegetables was linked to a longer life and to a lower chance of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer. Risk of death by any cause over the study period was reduced by 42 per cent for those eating seven or more (up to around ten veg/fruit portions a day).

 
Healthy eating
Seven days of nutritious breakfasts

This led to a discussion among friends about how to fit seven to ten lots of fruit or veg into your day - particularly if you struggled to make the currently recommended five! We felt it was easy to ramp up your fruit consumption with a mid-morning apple here and a handful of blueberries there, but the veg could be difficult we consented. One of our more mathematical friends reasoned we'd have to have two types of veg per meal, and then four pieces of fruit in between meals and as a dessert. We weren't sure this was possible - veg at breakfast time we thought - really?

So last week, I decided to see if I could manage it. Abandoning my usual peanut butter on wholemeal, I had a week of veggie-loaded breakfasts. It was quite hard work, I had to make sure all the ingredients were in the house for a start - I couldn't be popping off to the shops in my PJs at 7am. And like all healthier-eating regimes, I had to really plan what I was going to have, in some cases doing some prep the night before. And let's not forget I have to children to cajole out of bed and feed! And we are all working to a deadline, I can't afford to dilly dally on school mornings!

This is what I ended up having:

Monday - mushrooms on toast with carrot & orange juice
Tuesday - veg frittatas (using red pepper, tomato, onion & celery) with spinach
Wednesday - poached egg with spinach
Thursday - bubble & squeak (with extra spinach) and grilled tomatoes 
Friday - Poached egg on asparagus with grilled tomatoes
Saturday - carrot & courgette muffins


The upside was I certainly got my allotted veg quota - and actually it was fairly easy to do so, once I'd got my head around eating much more of a 'meal', first thing in the morning. I probably ate a lot more green veg too - as I have spinach growing like a weed in my garden and it does seem to go with breakfast dishes quite well. I was of course much fuller mid-morning, which is probably a good thing too. If I ate like this long term, I'd probably need to re-jig my other meals - as something like egg on toast would be the type of fare I'd usually have for lunch! The downside was definitely the work involved, not least when I bought the juicer into play (notice that was just monday, I'm a fast learner!). For someone that like to leave their house tidy in the morning (don't worry, I'm not one of those people!!) having a juicer and saucepans to wash up first thing could be a nightmare. I was also interested to see that certain veg just seem more palatable at breakfast (tomatoes for one) - and of course the majority of dishes incorporated eggs! Maybe some people wouldn't want an egg each day?

My little experiment certainly made me thing about my veg intake, I'm far more likely to throw berries on my muesli that grill some tomatoes, but when I make the effort I do enjoy the change.  It also gave the kids a chance to see that there's alternatives to boxed cereal (which I hate but sometimes consent to them having because it gets eaten quickly!). Perhaps my breakfast food is something I could (and should?) vary a little? Starting at the weekends when there's a bit more time sounds like a good kicking off point. 

What do you think? Would you fancy asparagus and spinach in the morning? And would time be an issue for you? Do you have any other recipes you can recommend that pack a veggie punch? Let me know in the comment box below. 

Thanks for reading
Vanessa.

20 comments:

  1. Mmmm it all looks delicious! I do miss breakfast and need to change it, a breakfast like that would change my eating habits! Have a good week x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It did stop that mid-morning hunger that can send you off to the cupboards like a crazed animal!! for ages when my kids were very little I wasn't eating breakfast at all, and that was when I started gaining weight!

      Delete
  2. As you say, time is the big killer for me! I am sure it would be a lot healthier, but I am just too keen on getting that extra quarter hour of sleep in the morning. Goodness knows how we are meant to consume so much fruit and veg. For that extra intake, I go for blueberries on my cereal and sometimes a carrot/celery and houmous snack in the afternoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume it's also about bulking up with veg rather than other less nutritious foodstuffs? Maybe a lot of people are eating too larger portions of protein/carbs per meal?

      Delete
  3. Time is my big thing too...I sometimes have some fruit with my cereal...I also have jam on toast...does that count? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, home made jam probably would count as you'd have a decent amount of fruit content! I suspect shop bought has all manner of 'extras' in it instead!

      Delete
  4. Hats off to you. Those breakfasts sound lovely, but I'm not sure I could manage a 'meal' so early on. Interesting experiment though. It proves that you have to go the extra mile to fit in those extra portions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A decent half measure would be to just do it for half the week to begin with - but yes it felt odd really 'eating' at that time of the day. Some people love a big breakfast though, so maybe suited to them? It was nice to take a break from the same old, same old though! I seriously feel addicted to peanut butter, which can't be a good thing! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  5. You haven't mentioned baked beans - lovely with grilled tomatoes and/or mushrooms and grilled bacon. Protein pulses and veg
    Bee Zee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did consider baked beans - honest!! And there was also a pumpkin/sweet potato bread that didn't make the final cut. I wonder what else we could come up with?

      Delete
  6. I definitely need to start eating breakfast and a healthier diet for sure. I am in my 30s now and things just aren't what they used to be. hahaha I really need to learn more about foods as I don't really have a clue what is really great for you and not so great for you. My eating habits are horrible of late. This has motivated me. thank you for linking up to Share With Me. Hope to see you again soon #sharewithme

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to stick to the basic premise that if you make it yourself it's better for you! I got into a habit of using 'oven food' for a while when the kids were younger, I was just so tired! But making a little bit of effort in preparation makes a massive difference to your health and your waistline! That said I do break the rules sometimes! I pretty much know caramel bars & gin aren't good for me, but hey, yolo!!!!! And Jenny - you look fine in the 10k pics..MIGHTY fine!

      Delete
  7. Delicious! Breakfast is the most important time of the day! Thank you for linking up with #pinitparty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! A decent breakfast sets you up - and is worth making the time for!

      Delete
  8. I LOVE the idea of veg for breakfast! But I just wouldn't have the time during the week. I do like the sound of your recipes though :)
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time seems to be the problem for everyone! I wonder if there's a way to pre-prepare? Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
  9. The problem with me is that I cant do this! I love veggies but its just needs time to prepare and in the morning I am so busy =( #ShareWithMe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mummy time is at a premium - I need to bottle it and start trading!! If only there was a way...

      Delete
  10. I'm really impressed with this. It makes perfect sense to incorporate veggies into breakfast too but I find it hard. Eggs with spinach or mushrooms is about all I can stomach. I did try some sweet potato pancakes recently though, which were lovely. My sweet tooth definitely comes out in the morning! So it's usually fruit rather than veg for us.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love this! I try to eat veggies for breakfast myself, but always sweet ways, like smoothies or salads with a sweet dressing. Your week is inspiring me to try savory veggies at breakfast, though--maybe a vegetable-rich, bean-based omelet or frittata since I don't eat eggs. Hats off to you on eating your vegetables first thing in the morning!

    ReplyDelete