Want to start your day with more vegetables – without breaking the bank? Here are some inexpensive ideas we use all the time.
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The last few months, I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables for breakfast. I make this goal every now and then. It helps to increase my daily veggie intake, starts my day right, and retrains my tastebuds so they don’t exclusively crave Cinnamon Roll French Toast and Strawberry Breakfast Cake.
That being said, I steer away from legalistic eating habits, like labeling certain foods bad and good. Instead, my goal is to stay healthy, balanced, and budget-friendly. In some seasons, we focus more on the budget, and in
Our Cheapskate Whole30 taught me a lot about savory breakfasts and made me realize how great I feel when I start the day with a shot of nutrients instead of just carbs and protein.
Here are my favorite ways to eat vegetables for breakfast and how we do it on a budget.
Frittata is like the green smoothie of baked egg dishes. It tastes good, and it tricks you into eating vegetables you might not normally eat in the morning. I use my cast iron pan, because I can saute the veggies on the stove top, add the eggs, and pop it directly into the oven. Cuts the baking time in half!
Also, bacon, cheese, or sausage (easy cheap recipe here) make great additions – for obvious reasons in that, they make great additions to everything.
2-Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes are a favorite around here. Whir together 2 eggs and 1/4 cup baked sweet potato in a blender (we usually triple or quadruple this). Add pumpkin spice if desired. Cook on a griddle just like pancakes.
These pancakes can get expensive, so we use them when we find eggs for really cheap on markdown at Kroger or on sale at Aldi.
Easily my favorite way to eat vegetables for breakfast. I first fell in love with breakfast sautes during our Cheapskate Whole30. Basically, saute a massive amount of veggies in a frying pan. Store it in a container all week, and each morning reheat a generous scoop, adding a little salt, pepper, and a fried egg. Top with avocado and hot sauce if that’s your style.
Egg-free? Try it with clean, 5-ingredient sausage or seasoned beans!
Most days, I eat it with a starch on the side: leftover Deeply Flavorful Baked Sweet Potato, Crispy Baked Home Fries, toast, quinoa, or even leftover rice.
My preferred veggie combinations:
- Bell pepper
- Shredded zucchini or summer squash (usually the leftover cores from making zoodles)
- Greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
Simply dice potatoes or sweet potatoes and fry them in the pan before adding the rest of the Breakfast Saute ingredients. You can crack a few eggs at the end and scramble them up, or store it in a container in the fridge, using it like the Breakfast Saute above.
Adding greens to your smoothies is classic, but did you know you can add more than that? Try a few carrots or avocado next time.
I really like this detox recipe, which uses apples, celery, cucumbers, and lemon.
We use these methods to keep smoothies as cheap as possible without compromising flavor or nutrients.
At first it seems like an odd choice for breakfast. But especially in the cold months, leftover soup hits the spot. If it’s made with (easy 5-minute’s work) bone broth, veggies, and some legumes or beans, you’re starting the day with a bowl full of real food.
When we make pancake and waffle batter, I usually omit the sweetener. That way my kids are free to douse it in maple syrup – which they would do regardless of the amount of sweetener inside the pancake – and I can slather it in butter because that’s my favorite.
Sometimes when I’m done making their waffles, I simply stir a few scoops of leftover Breakfast Saute (and maybe a handful of shredded cheese) into the batter and make savory waffles.
Veggies on a Budget
Real food can get expensive. While I try to approach healthy food costs realistically (it makes sense that good things cost more, right? I’m not happy about it, but it makes sense), I try to guard our budget well. This is how we save on a wide variety of vegetables:
It’s no secret that our family lives on Kroger markdowns. These help us eat so many more fruits and vegetables than we would otherwise on our budget. Whether it’s a pound of organic baby greens for $2.99, a giant box of mushrooms for 99 cents, or avocados for 25 cents each, we buy them all.
When we buy markdowns, we try to weigh the savings against
For some reason, I grew up with the impression that frozen vegetables were gross. Maybe I never ate them properly prepared (slimy brussels sprouts come to mind). However, when Chris and I committed to eating more vegetables, those frozen steamer bags became our friends. We get ours in massive quantities at Aldi or Costco, because those are the best prices in our area.
Grow You Own
While I am still on the fence about whether growing our own vegetables has actually saved us money, it’s certainly a convenient way to ensure we eat veggies. They are literally growing outside our backdoor. And since we use the square-foot method, weeding and maintenance is minimal for a generous harvest of greens and other vegetables.
Every week or two, I have a Meal Prep day. It looks different from week to week, but it nearly always includes some kind of vegetable that I prepare ahead of time. Whether I shred cabbage in the food processor, make a big pan of breakfast saute, or bake 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, setting aside time to cook ahead stops me from buying more convenience food (pre-shredded cabbage, etc.) and paying more money for it.
I’m not saying you should make everything from scratch. Not all scratch cooking is worth your time and energy. However, making a few things ahead every week has saved us a lot of money and time cooking meals every day.
Even though we prefer sweet breakfasts like baked oatmeal and chocolate chip mookies (easy-clean-up muffins), savory breakfasts have their place. They help us start the day well, taste great, and retrain our tastebuds when we crave more sweets.
If you want to challenge yourself to start the day with veggies, try these methods and find what works for you!
What You Can Do Now:
Do you prefer sweet or savory breakfasts?
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