Fall is the time of year when kids go back to school and families return to reliable norms and routines. One classic routine that can help anyone get their day started on the right foot is eating breakfast. For many people, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet foods associated with breakfast tend to be highly processed and loaded with sugar and fat. In recent years, though, as consumers have become generally more focused on healthy eating, food manufacturers have shifted toward new options that rely on fruits and vegetables to provide a healthier nutrition profile for breakfast.
The Value of Breakfast
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a phrase most of us have heard at some point in our lives, but it’s really more of a cultural idiom than a statement about health. However, there have been numerous recent studies that do seem to indicate a link between eating breakfast and good health outcomes. It’s unclear, however, whether the seeming benefits of eating breakfast are related to the specific time of day. It may be, for instance, that those who eat breakfast are simply more likely to have other healthy daily rituals.
Yet even though eating breakfast can generally be viewed as a healthy practice, the benefits of it are highly dependent on the foods being consumed. For decades, the typical American breakfast has been dominated by processed, refined carbohydrates in the form of cereals and pastries and baked goods. These kinds of foods have become so common in large part because they are easy to prepare and fit in with our busy lives. But with convenience has come the consumption of excess empty calories and subsequent increases in body weight.
Why Fruits and Vegetables for Breakfast?
Recognition of the need for healthier breakfast options has prompted many food producers to rethink key ingredients, and the most direct way to a healthier meal is incorporating more fruits and vegetables. The basic truth is that plant-based foods tend to be relatively low in calories at the same time as being more filling because of their higher fiber content. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain valuable vitamins and minerals that provide the nutritional value that the body needs to function well.
Because different plant foods contain different quantities and assortments of nutrients, it’s important to eat a wide variety. For instance, fruits like blueberries and cranberries are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that are known to help prevent disease. Meanwhile vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are high in calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that the body uses to repair tissue and produce new cells. The key is to incorporate various different fruits and vegetables into one’s diet to ensure that you’re getting a broad swath of beneficial nutrients.
Examples of Fruit and Vegetables in Breakfast Foods
Fresh fruits like apples and bananas are certainly no stranger to breakfast, and more people would benefit from incorporating more in their diet. Apart from something like an omelet, though, vegetables often seem a little out of place in a breakfast context. Yet with both fruits and vegetables, there are now more options than ever for creating a healthy meal. Below are some popular ways to make your breakfast healthier:
- Smoothies: Smoothies have become a go-to choice for breakfast for many people because they’re quick and easy to prepare but also highly versatile. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be blended together for a flavorful, healthy, and filling meal, but some popular ingredients include kale, cucumber, celery, avocado, berries, apples, and melon. Smoothies are also a great way to use dehydrated ingredients like orange peel to easily incorporate flavor, texture, and added nutrients.
- Yogurt parfait: Yogurt parfait is a somewhat common breakfast item that involves layers of yogurt and fresh fruit, and it is typically more of a sweet food item. The same basic concept can also be made more savory, though, with the addition of vegetables like carrots or beets.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is widely regarded as a healthy breakfast option because it is made with whole grains that are high in fiber. Oatmeal has traditionally been paired with ingredients like cream or dried fruit, but vegetables like zucchini and pumpkin can also add flavor and additional nutritional benefits.
- Toast: If made with whole grain bread, toast can also be a healthy breakfast option. But instead of slathering it in butter or a sugary jam, try spreading avocado and topping it with tomatoes or onions or sweet potatoes.
- Breakfast burrito: Breakfast burritos tend to be loaded with cheese, eggs, bacon, and other items that tend to be higher in saturated fat. But it can also be a great context for vegetables like peppers, spinach, mushrooms, or squash.
- Paired with eggs: Eggs are also not a new breakfast choice, but they do tend to be paired with high-fat meats and cheeses that change the nutritional profile. Yet eggs remain a good source of protein and other nutrients that make them a good vehicle for a wide variety of vegetables and even fruits. Whether the eggs are scrambled, over-easy, or formed into an omelet, almost any vegetable can make them healthier.
Silva: Premium Source for Dehydrated Ingredients
A healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day, but breakfast in America has traditionally not been very healthy. Fortunately, though, many classic breakfast foods can be made significantly more healthy with the addition of the kinds of fruit and vegetable ingredients that Silva specializes in. We are passionate about providing only the highest quality ingredients that are both good for you and good for your business. To learn more about our products, our process, or what it’s like partnering with Silva, please contact us today.