With the threat of the coronavirus, a local nutritionist stressed the importance of eating healthy.

“Having a healthy diet can really boost your immune system,” said Laura Marbury, of Florence, manager of food and nutrition outreach with The Dairy Alliance.

When selecting food, look for items packed with vitamin C, such as citrus fruit and green, leafy vegetables; vitamin D, such as milk and Greek yogurt; and protein, such as cheese, black beans and chickpeas.

Also consider food with a longer shelf life in order to lessen the number of trips to the grocery store and prepare for a possible quarantine.

“You have to think about what will last a long time. With fruits and vegetables, frozen and canned are perfectly fine. Having a bag of frozen broccoli in your freezer is a great option. You can toss that in with some pasta or rice, which will last a long time,” Marbury said. “As far as dairy, cheese is going to have one of the longer shelf lives and is a great source of protein as well.”

Try these recipes at home.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

“It can cover a dinner and a lunch or you can freeze it. Also, it’s good at boosting your immune system. Red peppers and tomatoes are excellent sources of Vitamin C. It’s also made with Greek yogurt. It’s rich, it’s got protein in it, so it will fill you up. Pair it with a grilled cheese and your kids will love it,” Marbury said.

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried or fresh thyme leaves

15-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

5 ounce container plain Greek yogurt

½ cup half-and-half

½ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery, saute 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute until just fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, paprika, cumin and thyme. Cook 2 more minutes. Add drained red peppers, tomatoes and chicken broth. Let simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and flavors have melded together. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Using a blender, puree until smooth. Add Greek yogurt, half-and-half and Parmesan cheese. Stir until combined. Let simmer another 10 minutes. Serve.

Rebecca Egsieker, The Dairy Chef

Easy Italian Vegetable Pasta Bake

3 cups mostaccioli pasta, cooked and drained

1 jar light pasta sauce

1 package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms

2 cups sliced halved yellow squash

2 cups sliced halved zucchini

Mix pasta, sauce, 1 cup cheese and vegetables. Spoon into 13-by-9 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. If wanted, substitute 1 cup thinly sliced red and green peppers for 1 cup of squash and zucchini.

Tip: In place of mostaccioli, try ziti, penne or rigatoni.

Kraft Kitchens

Strawberry-Orange Pops

2 cups orange juice

1 cup frozen whole strawberries, thawed

½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

Stir together orange juice and yogurt. Process berries in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir into juice mixture. Spoon mixture into plastic molds. Insert sticks and freeze 8 hours. Good for three months.

“Fix It & Freeze It, Heat It & Eat It” by Southern Living

cgodbey@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2441. Twitter @DecaturLiving.

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