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Doable Challenge: Add a Serving of Produce at Breakfast

January 14, 2013

If you've been following my posts on the Epi-Log recently, you know we're in the middle of the first in a monthly series of Doable Challenges, and January's goal is to improve your breakfast. I've written about how eating a bigger breakfast can actually help you lose weight and advocated adding protein to your morning meal to boost your energy. This week, I'm challenging you (and myself) to add a serving of fruit or vegetables to breakfast. The USDA recommends that adults eat two to three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit daily, so even those of us who have a generally healthy diet can fall short. Adding produce in the morning "helps you get a jump on the nutrients that you need for the rest of the day," explains Kathleen Zelman, a registered dietician and director of nutrition at WebMD. And fruits and vegetables provide vitamins as well as fiber, which helps you stay full, improves digestion, may fight some cancers, and contributes to heart health. Here are 10 simple ways to get your a.m. produce this week: - Top anything (cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, yogurt) with whatever fresh fruit you have on hand - Stir frozen fruit, such as cherries, peaches, and berries, into oatmeal or yogurt (small pieces of fruit will thaw quickly) - Use frozen fruit instead of ice to thicken a smoothie - Add fresh or frozen fruit to any basic pancake or waffle batter, as in the Fruit and Nut Pancakes pictured above - Make extra vegetables for dinner and add leftover cooked veggies to a fritatta or omelet the next day - Keep frozen vegetables on hand to make easy sides for scrambled or poached eggs, such as this iron skillet succotash (which calls for frozen corn and lima beans) - Poach eggs in tomato sauce or bake them in a zucchini ragout - Try vegetables in a smoothie - Swap your english muffin for a mushroom - Follow my colleague Carolina's lead and try salad for breakfast or add raw vegetables to a breakfast sandwich or on the side (who says carrot sticks are just for lunch?) I rose to the challenge this morning by stirring frozen cherries into my yogurt with muesli and walnuts (the walnuts are a keeper from the protein challenge). Share your favorite ways to add fruits and vegetables to breakfast in the comments section below and see Get a Healthy Breakfast Boost for more ideas.

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