America’s fruit and vegetable consumption is eroding over time. We must act NOW to reverse this trend.
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Stress is an everyday part of life, more so for some of us than others. Although there is not one food that can erase all that stress, many times food is a comfort for us in stressful times. Instead of taking this time to eat all the junk food we can, utilize the stressful times to incorporate more fruits and veggies. We have the ability to take those favorite comfort foods and pack them full of fruits and veggies. It’s the best of both worlds; a familiar food packed with nutrition.

Cauliflower has become much more popular in the recent years and for a good reason. It is such a versatile vegetable that can mimic textures of familiar meals and fill our bellies. Cauliflower is a great swap for pasta and other grains. One reason is because it lowers the amount of carbohydrates in the meal. This is useful for the average person, but especially helpful for those with diabetes who may need to limit their carbohydrate intake. Substituting cauliflower also helps everyone to get more veggies into their meals. Since cauliflower has a relatively neutral taste it takes on the flavor of the meal you add it to. In addition to using in recipes, cauliflower tastes great roasted on a sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Be sure to check out the super simple Cauliflower Baked Ziti recipe which is made in casserole dish and can be prepped ahead of time. (Cauliflower Baked “Ziti” | Recipes | Weis Markets)

Another veggie that makes meals and snacks less stressful, but more nutritious is zucchini. Abundant in the spring and summer, but available all year long, zucchini can be added to sweet and savory options. Whether sliced, shredded or chopped there are endless options. Zucchini can be added into baked goods like, Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins, for an added nutrition boost. (Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins | Recipes | Weis Markets) With their relatively plain flavor, zucchini can take on any flavor you add to it, making it a great pairing for any recipe. Like other veggies, zucchini can be eaten raw or cooked. One great way to eat it raw is to spiralize or cut thin for zucchini noodles to have with your favorite pasta sauce. Like cauliflower, zucchini can be a great alternative to traditional carbs for someone who may need to be more conscious.

Cauliflower and zucchini are just two useful and tasty options in the produce department. Start with these then add your favorite produce items into some of your favorite recipes. Take time to relieve stress by getting in the kitchen to make those go-to recipes and comfort foods. Make them even more nutritious by adding in fruits and veggies when you can. No need to “cut out” your favorite foods when you can add more nutrition with fruits and veggies!

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