This wonderful post is a guest post from my friend, Katie, at Kitchen Stewardship. If you haven’t already, check out her wonderful blog! I love her honesty-at-all-costs writing integrity, and how practical and relatable she is as a person. And check out her awesome (and honest and practical) eBooks! I’m proud to be one of her affiliates. — Kimi
It’s easy to add some carrots and dip to dinner and make veggies a priority, but breakfast can be a tricky one.
Whether you believe that the government’s “My Plate” or old “food pyramid” demonstrate the best way to eat or not (Me? Not. All those grains? Oy yi yi…), not many people will argue that shooting for “5 a day” when it comes to vegetables isn’t a bad goal.
That many servings can be hard to hit for busy families, especially if young children are a bit picky when it comes to veggie-laden soups, stir fries, or steamed broccoli.
Why not get off on the right foot at breakfast?
And I’m not talking about just tossing some peppers and onions into your eggs (my kids pick those out anyway) or making a green smoothie (although nothing wrong with that).
Here are 5 ways to get a serving or two of vegetables into your family before they even leave the house for the day, without fighting about green things on the plate (or in the glass).
1. Grain-free pumpkin pancakes
That’s a bit mis-leading – these aren’t always grain-free pancakes, but they’re about the most versatile recipe I’ve ever met.
They work with wheat flour, brown rice flour (gluten-free), almond or coconut flour (grain-free), and even sourdough. Make them however you like, and celebrate the fact that for each ¼ cup or less of flour, there’s a full cup of pureed orange vegetables: squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin.
They’re yummy enough to eat with or without syrup and sturdy enough to make into nut-butter-pancake-sandwiches for packed lunches the next day. More nourishing lunch ideas in The Healthy Lunch Box – use the code GOURMET for 30% off.
We make a quadruple batch once a week and usually run out of fall squash that I’ve frozen by the end of May. Did I mention that’s 4 cups of veggies plus nourishing eggs for breakfast? Rock on. Grab the recipe for grain-free pumpkin pancakes HERE.
Time-saving Tip: Bake 1-3 squash while you’re making dinner and already in the kitchen. Scoop out all the flesh into one huge bowl and whiz with an immersion blender to make puree, then freeze some in 2, 3 or 4-cup portions for future batches. Refrigerate what you want for this recipe overnight and use that big bowl for your pancakes in the morning.
Simple Chocomole recipe: Wake up your food processor when your coffee maker ticks on and make a simple pudding with 1 avocado, ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup raw honey.
Looks like chocolate pudding, tastes like chocolate pudding…but kids are eating vegetables full of healthy monounsaturated fats. Add a banana for a different twist, like Kristin’s version of Chocolate Avocado Pudding (pictured above)
This breakfast pairs great with your favorite green smoothie, especially if you’re dairy-free and don’t include fats like whole milk or yogurt in your smoothies. The avocado offers a nice balance to the fruit sugars in smoothies.
Time-saving Tip: Make a chocolate-y recipe in your food processor after breakfast without washing it – like the black bean brownies in The Everything Beans Book or the Peppermint Coconut Bark in Smart Sweets.
3. Sweet potatoes and greens with an egg on top
Don’t hate me for including some straight up greens.
This idea might be adults-only in your house (pat yourself on the back right now if your little ones eat greens without a word! I’m impressed!). I love the synergy between sweet potatoes, greens and eggs so much that I just have to share it.
Peel and slice a cooked sweet potato and saute that with any leafy green. Swiss chard is particularly delicious this way – be sure to chop the stem separately and saute it first, preferably in bacon grease or beef tallow!
Soft fry an egg next to it or crack one right on top and put the lid on your pan until the egg is firm on the bottom but runny on the inside. Let all that golden gooey-ness run on your greens on the plate and dig in! (If you want to make it really special, serve it in a crepe like I’ve pictured above!)
Time-saving Tip: The way to make this work for breakfast (i.e. FAST) is to bake some sweet potatoes during dinner prep – toss a few in anytime the oven is on for something else.
4. Breakfast Burritos Deluxe
I’m back to being realistic for kids – you know how if you chop up vegetables in your kids’ eggs you end up watching them pick the veggies right back out? That’s the way it flies at my house, where my kids are generally excellent eaters with rather mature palates.
But if I dress them up just a little bit more…
Wrap eggs with sauteed veggies in a tortilla and add cheese and salsa, and they think you’ve brought McDonald’s into your kitchen.
I recommend homemade tortillas, simply because I haven’t found ones that are both affordable and don’t use scary fats. Purchased corn tortillas are more likely to be on the clean side, but corn can be another issue entirely…
Time-saving Tip: You can keep peppers, onions, zucchini, and greens all chopped and handy in your freezer, no blanching required (although recommended for greens).
5. Veggie Latkes
These little cakes aren’t traditional latkes, so don’t yell at me for misusing the word, but “shredded vegetable cakes” will likely not go over so well with the fam.
My family has always served “potato pancakes” made with white potatoes, but those aren’t exactly the most nutrient-dense veggies out there.
Try making “latkes” with 100% sweet potatoes instead, or use some white potatoes but 50% shredded zucchini, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, fall squash, parsnips, turnips or other nutrient-dense root vegetables.
You can even blend broccoli or cauliflower in (stems included!), but no more than a quarter of the total shreds or the flavor comes through in an unpleasant way.
Want to make Popeye proud or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style? Try spinach. It makes the pancakes green. And awesome! Get the recipe for Potato Vegetable Pancakes HERE.
Time-saving Tip: Shredding all these veggies, even in a food processor, can take a lot of time in the morning. You can totally get away with shredding them the night before and keeping the mixture ready to go in the fridge, then frying in the a.m.
Save even more time by planning a dinner meal for that night using the food processor, or even just shred cheese for the freezer. A little cheese residue isn’t going to mess with your shredded veggies.
Bonus idea: why not leftovers for breakfast?
I may or may not have known a teenager who would eat cold chicken stir fry in the mornings standing at my…er, her kitchen counter.
Do you need a breakfast makeover? What are your goals for your kids in the morning?
Another time that’s a mighty hard sell for healthy, nourishing food is the potluck table. It can even be tricky to figure out what to bring that others will eat and enjoy. I’m excited to share a mini eBook with the Nourishing Gourmet audience: 10 Real Food Party Recipes for Every Eater.
The recipes range from appetizer to salad to adult beverage, all homemade, not too pricey, and totally beloved by even the Standard American Eater. They’re some of my family’s favorites, and I’ll share my best tip for helping kids eat well even at parties with sugar-laden buffet tables. If you are interested in getting this eBook and signing up for my newsletter, click on the button below!
About the author
Katie Kimball is the boss lady over at Kitchen Stewardship, where she digs into real food research and recipes with a non-toxic fork. It’s all about the balance – keeping your family, earth and budget healthy at the same time. She’s the author of 7 eBooks, including Healthy Snacks to Go, Better Than a Box, and all these. Feel free to use the code GOURMET for 30% off one or all of them. 🙂 She’s also mom to 4 children, ages 9, 6, 3 and 4 months, all of whom actually eat her food, including vegetables at breakfast (but not sauteed greens. Good luck getting kids to eat those!).