Offering the best foods for a bearded dragon is crucial for maintaining its overall health and well-being. Not only should you offer wholesome foods, but you should also vary the diet as often as possible.
Imagine if you ate the very same foods three times a day every day. That would get very boring pretty quick, wouldn’t it? You would also deprive yourself of the nutrients offered from a large variety.
If you ate nothing but hamburgers every day for months, you would most likely increase many health risks, and your general health would likely decrease. This is why most doctors advise us to eat a varied diet.
The same could be said for bearded dragons!
If you feed your bearded dragon nothing but crickets for months and months, he may begin to develop a deficiency in many of the needed vitamins and minerals not contained in crickets.
If you begin to introduce dubia roaches, horn worms, wax worms (as seldom treats), butterworms, and Phoenix worms as part of a balanced mixture of insects and include the proper mixture of fruits and vegetables, your bearded dragon’s overall nutrient intake will vastly improve.
It is also very important to add supplements to any food offered, and to gut load any insects before feeding.
One of the most frequently asked questions by bearded dragon owners is, “What are the best foods to feed my bearded dragon?”. Well, here is an easy list of the best foods for a bearded dragon.
The Best Foods for a Bearded Dragon
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Yellow Squash
- Bok Choy
- Carrot Tops
- Celery Leaves
- Cucumber (peeled)
- Kohlrabi Leaves
- Swiss Chard
- Bell Peppers
- Celery Stalks
- Green Peas
Greens and Vegetables to Rarely Feed
- Beet Greens
Greens and Vegetables to NEVER Feed
Beet greens and spinach are high in oxalic acid (oxalates), which is a calcium-binding agent that limits the absorption of calcium. Feeding these foods regularly can increase the risk of Metabolic Bone Disease and other issues. They should be feed very seldom, if at all. It’s best to avoid them all together just to be safe.
Avocados and rhubarb are toxic and should be completely avoided as part of a bearded dragon’s diet.
Lettuce should not be fed to a bearded dragon (or any other reptile, really) because it lacks any real nutritional value. Lettuce is made up of mostly water, and feeding it to bearded dragons can lead to diarrhea.
Small amounts of lettuce can be fed if the bearded dragon is suffering from dehydration, but be careful how much you feed. Feeding too much lettuce can lead to diarrhea which in turn, worsens dehydration. Peeled cucumber is a better option in this scenario.
Tomatoes can be fed to bearded dragons every now and then (like once every few months or so) in small amounts. Tomatoes are very acidic and can be difficult on their digestive system.
- Prickly Pear (Cactus Leaves)
- Apples (peeled)
- Grapes (remove skin on grape)
- Honeydew Melon
- Kiwi (peeled)
- Pears (peeled)
Fruits to Feed Seldom or Never
- Any Citric Fruits
Citric fruits are high in citric acid and can be difficult on a bearded dragon’s digestive system, especially with babies. It’s best to avoid feeding any citric fruits.
- Roaches (ex. dubia roaches
- Horn Worms (or Goliath Worms)
- Butter worms
- Earthworms (rinsed)
- Phoenix worms
- Wax worms
Insects to Never Feed
- Fireflies (lightning bugs)
- Boxelder Bugs
- Wild-caught Insects
Fireflies and Boxelder bugs are very toxic to bearded dragons and should never be feed to them. Wild-caught insects could be hazardous if they have been in contact with chemicals. It’s advised to avoid feeding your bearded dragon any wild-caught insects.
The staple insects should make up the largest portion of the insect offerings. The occasional insects can be added in as a supplementary portion, or offered as the seldom treat, of the insect diet. Remember that plant matter and insects should be offered daily. The percentage of plant matter to insects will vary depending on the age of the bearded dragon.
If you prefer, you can right-click the link and choose “Save As…” or “Save Link As…” (depends on how your browser words it), then select where on your computer you’d wish to send the download.
If you are interested in more detail information on bearded dragon diet and nutrition, we welcome you to check out our Bearded Dragon Care Sheet.
I have a juvenile beardie. I got some National Geographic juv. Entree and just noticed it says to refrigerate after opening, which I did not. Same with Nature Zone bites. Should I throw them out?
Root vegetables feature strongly as part of a staple diet. As a new comer to looking after a Beardy, should I cook these first, or are they better given raw?
the bearded one says
Most information I have seen is to not cook it but finely chop or shred the vegetables cooking removes nutrients and vitamins
Sally says says
This website appears to include avocados under the list of foods to be fed rarely or never. For those of you who do not know, avocados are extremely toxic to bearded dragons and should NEVER be fed to them under any circumstances. This should be specified and shouldn’t be included under a list stating greens and vegetables to be fed rarely. When you are researching what to feed your beardie, be sure to look at more than one website as mistakes like this are very common and can cost you the health of your beardie.
Sally says says
Avacodos are toxic and to be safe I feel that that should just be clarified so there is no confusion. Other than that I did find everything else on this website to be extremely useful. This was a great list of staples 🙂
Tee Riddle says
Thank you for bringing this mistake to my attention. The article has been updated to reflect the changes.
Is it bad to feed a bearded dry oats
have found this site very helpful as new to owning a beardie.
I was wondering about the safety of bearded dragon eating grass.. safe or not safe??
Paige Brown says
my 8 month old lizard won’t really eat fruit or veggies help
What I had to do with my bearded dragon when he was younger was hand feed him yes he ended up spoiled a little but I got a close bond with him and i ensured he ate his veggies. His problem was i feed him live bugs so since the veggies didnt move it was like he didnt notice them. So what i did and some times still do is have to hold the veggies and wiggle it a little bit so he sees it if it is just greens how ever i have started adding other color veggies like bell peppers and that normally gets his attention.
Wiggle the veggies with feeding tongs or your hands (WASH YOUR HANDS) it will usually get their attention. Also try adding more colors to the “salad”
Taylor Kleman says
Feed him his fruits and veggies first.
Very informative. Thanks!
I love the information provided! Thank you! I’m just wondering if you could include pictures of the chopped fruits and veggies so that I can get an idea of what it is supposed to look like.
How about radishes? I know they can eat the leaves but can they eat the whole radish if I cut in very thin slivers?
Yvette Muro says
Can they eat raddishes
Hornworms are not staple bugs, they should only be fed every now and then because of their high fat content, superworms are actual staple bugs that should on the list.
This whole feeding thing drives me crazy I chant get the roaches any were and seems hard to get them through the mail lot of places won’t except live stuff through the mail.What to do most of veg I buy go to waste.help me figure an easy way to feed him.
Coryne R says
I cut up my veggies/fruits & put them n the fridge n mason jars. Keeps it fresh & super easy to prepare her salad
Debbie Femrite says
When I am having problems getting my bearded dragon to eat, I put organic baby food on his greens. He is crazy for it and eats all his food. Try different colored baby foods like carrots, butternut squash and see if yours won’t eat the greens. Never had any luck with worms on his food.
Michael A vaughn says
I am trying to find out if it is okay for my bearded dragon to have mousies can any one help me please
You can, just don’t do it every day… I would say you could do it once a week. But yes it’s fine if they have mice. Also, do baby mice so they can digest it
I have had mine for 4 days now and won’t eat anything. Tried crickets, meal worm and veggies. Temp is 105 on hot and 80 on cool side. Is this normal l?
Dj Partyface says
He might still be getting used to his new tank/food. Call the petstore, breeder, or previous owner you got him from and ask what they were feeding him. Try mixing that in with what you want to feed him and add less and less until he will eat it plain.