As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, it is important to stay healthy and practice social distancing. This bulletin will contain information on building a healthy quarantine stock as well as different nutrition tips.

A previous bulletin discussed the importance of a plant-based diet to help to increase your intake of proteins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and immune boosters. If your body gets enough of these nutrients, your white blood cells (warriors of your immune system) will likely be more able to fight microorganisms and protect your health. While fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidants that can boost your immune system, the preservation and cooking methods can impact the nutrient content and immune booster effect. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables have more antioxidants and phytochemicals than canned fruits or vegetables. For example, Vitamin C is present in frozen fruits, but is virtually missing in canned fruits, unless it is added artificially.

Key Nutrients to Protect Your Immune System
Some key nutrients that can help to protect your immune system include proteins, vitamin A, vitamin c, zinc as well as a broad variety of antioxidants.

  • Proteins: can be from animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs, dairy products or from vegetable sources such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, grains, and vegetables.
  • Vitamin A or beta-carotene: eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified skim milk, orange and yellow vegetables such as sweet potato, fruits, broccoli, spinach, and most dark green, and dark green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kiwi
  • Zinc: red meat, poultry, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, and whole grains

7 Tips for Building a Healthy Quarantine Stock

  1. Frozen vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, and other green leafy vegetables can be cooked or added to healthy smoothies.
  2. Berries are an amazing source of antioxidants. Citrus fruits can last for weeks if placed in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
  3. Dried fruits and nuts are a great source of antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats. Dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, and prunes are a good source of iron. Walnuts are a great source of omega 3, which has been linked to boosting the immune system.
  4. Eat whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-grain bread and crackers.
  5. Whether you choose animal or vegetable proteins, make sure you are getting high-quality foods.
  6. Flavor your foods with garlic, onion, and spices such as turmeric, cumin, and ginger because they have shown immune-boosting effects.
  7. Prepare yourself for having healthy cravings. Dark chocolate is a great option to indulge in while eating healthy.

The recipe of the week comes via thekitchenmccabe.com.

Maple Pecan Bark + Cranberries, Orange Zest & Black Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • zest of 2 small oranges
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or the seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
  • ½ cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips (60-70%)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the pecan halves, pecan pieces, cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, and maple syrup in a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium/high heat. Stirring constantly, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the syrup has been completely absorbed by the nuts.
  3. Remove nuts from heat and pour onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the nuts out into a single layer. Bake them in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pecans are a deep golden brown and give off a nutty aroma. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  4. While the nuts cool, line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Place the chocolate chips in a saucepan and place over medium/low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the parchment-lined sheet and smooth the chocolate out to a thickness of ¼ inch.
  7. Break up the cooled pecans and place them evenly over the surface of the chocolate.
  8. Set the chocolate aside for several hours to set. Once the chocolate has set, break up into pieces and use as desired.