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S-T-R-E-S-S! Good, bad, happy or sad – stress is a part of our lives. Deadlines, family issues, job security, money worries, relationships, and the list goes on and on. It is not so much that we experience stress but how we respond to the stress in our lives. When stress is left unchecked, it can have negative consequences on health such as increased blood pressure, increased blood glucose, increased cholesterol levels and digestive distress. So what can we do? The good news is that taking care of our health is the best way to handle a stressed self. Produce can help to reduce the negative consequences of stress; and getting enough rest allows us to restore, renew and refresh. So #haveaplant, or a few, as a way of creating a less-stressed you!

Food can play a role in reducing stress by helping us to detonate, defuse and divert. For many, the response to stress is to seek out certain foods which can provide the immediate soothing effect but may also provoke feelings of guilt. We should never feel guilty or ashamed of the foods we eat! NEVER!!! So don’t stress yourself more by food avoidance, instead- consider “swap fors” or “add-tos” as a strategy to get the most from what you eat. And consider ALL produce options. Do not feel compelled to only buy organic or fresh produce. Produce is packed with phytonutrients for a healthy gut as well as antioxidants to help to decrease some of the physiological effects of stress.

Shop your kitchen shelf for the nutritional wealth in canned, frozen and dried forms.

This could be as simple as:

  • Adding canned pumpkin to oatmeal
  • Add freeze-dried fruit and roasted chick peas to popcorn
  • Throwing coleslaw mix into a wrap
  • Adding mashed beans to mac and cheese
  • Throwing leftover veggies into eggs and topping with salsa or bruschetta sauce

GET YOUR ZZZZs

The effects of sleep deprivation is health devastation. Inadequate rest can have deleterious consequences on blood pressure, blood glucose, blood cholesterol, focus and even weight. Being stressed and not getting enough rest is a recipe for disaster! So let’s control what we can with a great sleep hygiene and eating plan.

When your days are busy, you may not have the desire or time to devote to creating meals. The good news is that there are so many time-saving ways to meet your produce needs with great taste, haste and no waste.

  • Open a can of beans to add protein to a sauce
  • Salsa is a great topping for chicken or fish
  • Frozen stir-fried veggies add the produce to the pan
  • Your blender is the solution for quick soups and smoothies
  • Pull out those popsicle molds and fill them with pureed fruits and veggies for cropsicles

Plus adding produce to evening meals and snacks lightens up the bites and adds the good for me with improved digestibility so the body isn’t having a fiesta when you are trying to take a siesta!

An evening snack of:

  • Yogurt with berries
  • A fruit smoothie
  • Bean dip and veggies
  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Watermelon-strawberry slushie

All provide a tasty treat without resulting in sleep defeat.

A frittata is our go-to. The perfect pairing of protein from the eggs and cheese, and produce in the veggies and salsa makes this a dish that is sure to please. For those of us who are not great at doing the omelet flip, a frittata lets you skip it! Easy, tasty and fail-proof, plus one-stop chopping translates to less time spent doing dishes! Try this Simple Frittata recipe.

So #haveaplant to reduce the stress, boost the nutritional goodness and be your best!

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