Between school, work, homework, the sports season back in full swing, and everything else life brings, I’ve been slacking on making sure my kids eat enough vegetables. Although I’m usually able to pull together a salad, leftover veggies, or a handful of baby carrots for their lunchboxes, some days are so rushed that I find myself scrambling and don’t serve any vegetables for dinner. Or, like so many other moms, I simply don’t have the mental energy to cook, so easy meals sans vegetables is the best it’s going to get. Although life hasn’t calmed down much, over the past few weeks, I’m in more of a groove and I’ve been starting to think about ways I can get more vegetables in their meals—breakfast included. If you want to know how to eat vegetables for breakfast too, the good news is that there are a ton of easy, simple ways.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO EAT VEGETABLES FOR BREAKFAST?
When kids get a variety of vegetables (and fruits) in their diets, they’re more likely to get the nutrition they need for their growth and development.
Vegetables contain the vitamins, minerals, and fiber kids need. Getting enough fiber satisfies their hunger, can prevent overeating and weight gain, and can prevent and treat constipation.
Consuming plenty of vegetables can also reduce inflammation and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes, and prevent some types of cancer.
What’s more, serving a variety of vegetables can promote healthy eating habits and encourage your kids to try new foods and be more adventurous eaters.
HOW MANY VEGETABLES DO KIDS NEED?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says kids, like adults, should eat vegetables at every meal and snack.
How many vegetables your kids need depends on their ages. But in general, they need between 1 and 3 cups of vegetables a day. For specific age-based recommendations, check out the MyPlate Plan widget.
Fortunately, research shows families have been prioritizing vegetables for their kids.
According to a November 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2015 and 2018, more than 90% of kids and teens ages 2 to 19 consumed any vegetable on a given day.
While this is good news, only 16.7% of them consumed dark leafy greens, while the majority opted for red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and other vegetables.
HOW TO EAT VEGETABLES FOR BREAKFAST
Serving your kids vegetables for breakfast isn’t as challenging as you may think. Here are a ton of easy, simple ideas.
One of the best ways that have helped me to get vegetables in at breakfast is to make sure they’re always easy and accessible. I buy washed, packaged spinach and I’ll add a handful to an omelet or a green smoothie. I also batch cook vegetables like broccoli and asparagus for dinner, and the leftovers are easy to serve for breakfast. If you’re really tight on time, have pre-chopped vegetables on hand.
SERVE APPETIZERS WITH VEGETABLES
Kids like finger foods so serving an appetizer is one of the best ways to eat vegetables for breakfast. Depending on the appetizer you may, you may add an egg to make sure your kid is getting protein and whole-grain toast which has fiber, for example.
- Prosciutto or bacon-wrapped asparagus
- Spinach cakes
- Broccoli or cauliflower tater tots
- Vegetable skewers with leftover chicken or cubes of cheese
- Sweet potato skins with guacamole
- Stuffed mushrooms
Smoothies are not always a win with kids: I have one kid who loves green smoothies and another who will only drink smoothies made with fruit.
If your kids like smoothies, however, they’re a great way to get vegetables in at breakfast. Most types of green leafy vegetables work, but if your kid won’t eat anything green, try cauliflower which is mild.
Related: How To Make Smoothies For Kids
MAKE AN OMELET WITH VEGGIES
Eggs are superfoods for kids, and with some vegetables, your kids will get a nutritional boost.
Add leftover vegetables and some cheese, and you have a healthy breakfast that will keep them going all morning.
FIND NEW WAYS TO SERVE VEGETABLES WITH EGGS
Experiment with new ways to serve vegetables with eggs for breakfast too.
For example, make egg “muffins,” a frittata, quiche, or a casserole. Or simply add a serving of vegetables on the side of scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.
RAW VEGETABLES AND DIP
If the only way your kids will eat vegetables is raw with a dip, then go for it.
SERVE A MEXICAN BREAKFAST
Mexican dishes lend themselves to serving vegetables for breakfast. Try a breakfast burrito with eggs or a quesadilla with sautéed vegetables.
ADD VEGETABLES TO PANCAKES AND WAFFLES
One of my go-to recipes for breakfast is to blend an egg, banana, oats, and spinach, and make healthy, upgraded pancakes.
You can also add shredded carrots, zucchini, or yellow squash to your batter for a fiber-filled breakfast.
BAKE VEGGIE MUFFINS
Spinach, zucchini, carrot, butternut squash, and pumpkin puree are all easy to incorporate into your favorite muffin recipe.
For a special treat, try these Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from Skinnytaste.com.
SERVE STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes are healthy, delicious, and a quick breakfast option your kids will love. Add eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, beans, avocado, or other types of vegetables.
MAKE A BREAKFAST PIZZA
Who says you can’t eat pizza for breakfast? With some upgraded ingredients, pizza can be a great way to eat vegetables for breakfast.
Use pizza, phyllo, or crescent roll dough, or a homemade or pre-made cauliflower crust. Then, add leftover or pre-chopped vegetables, and choose other ingredients like eggs, sausage, cheese, and hash browns.
WHIP UP PUMPKIN OATMEAL
Pumpkin is a superfood for kids and a great way to eat vegetables for breakfast.
Simply incorporate pumpkin puree into traditional oatmeal or overnight oats, add pumpkin pie spices, dried fruit, and a sprinkling of nuts or seeds, and you have an easy, healthy breakfast.
Related: How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds
MIX VEGETABLES INTO A QUICK BREAD
Just like muffins, you can add zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash, shredded carrots, pumpkin puree, or beets into quick breads for breakfast.
MAKE VEGETABLE GRANOLA BARS
If your kids like granola bars, consider adding some vegetables. I like this recipe for Healthy Carrot Cake Granola Bars from SuperHealthyKids.com.