Having a healthy immune system helps our bodies to fight back when we’re exposed to viruses. One of the best ways to boost your immune system is with a healthy diet full of a broad array of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. 

Flexibility is key these days, while grocery shopping is a challenge. If you need to substitute, choose a vegetable or fruit with the same basic texture profile—berry for berry, leaf for leaf, root for root. And if you find fruits and veggies in the fridge that are less than crisp, just add them to a smoothie

Washing your produce is as important as washing your hands. Rinse them under cold, running water for about 30 seconds right before you use them. 

Chicken Almond Satay Wraps

You can substitute two medium carrots, shredded, for the cucumber…and one cup of thinly sliced sugar snap peas for the red bell pepper strips. 

¼ cup red miso
3 Tablespoons honey 
3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup smooth almond butter
3 Tablespoons water
1 pound skinless chicken cutlets
12 water-soaked 6-inch wooden ­skewers
12 medium-size lacinato kale or ­romaine lettuce leaves
1 medium seedless cucumber, diced (about 1½ cups)
1 large red bell pepper, very thinly sliced into strips 

Combine the miso, honey, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a medium bowl. Measure out two tablespoons of this mixture, and place in a small bowl. Add the almond butter and water to the small bowl, and stir well. Reserve for serving.

Place the chicken cutlets between two pieces of wax paper. Lightly pound until they are an even thickness. Slice the chicken cutlets crosswise into one-quarter-inch-thick strips. 

Add to the remaining miso mixture, and toss until well-coated. Thread onto wooden skewers, and arrange on a baking sheet.

Position the oven rack at the top level, then preheat oven on broil. Broil chicken one to two minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through.

To serve, place each chicken skewer on a kale leaf and remove the skewer. Top with cucumber and bell pepper. Drizzle each with about two teaspoons of the miso–almond butter mixture. Yield: Four servings.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Quinoa Bowl

You can substitute spinach for the kale if needed, and cooked brown rice or farro for the quinoa. 

¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 pounds (3 large) unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice 
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch lacinato or curly kale, stems removed and cut into 1-inch slices
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
½ cup chopped unsalted roasted almonds
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Garlic Lemon Yogurt Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Position rack in bottom third of the oven. Place a large, rimmed baking sheet on the rack while the oven heats. Tear off a piece of foil that will fit over the baking pan.

Combine the maple syrup, lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to blend well. Add the sweet potatoes, and toss to coat well.

When the oven is hot, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Pour the sweet potatoes onto it, and spread into a single layer. Bake until just fork-tender, about 20 minutes, turning once. 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and move the sweet potatoes to one-half of the pan. Add the mushrooms to the other half of the baking sheet. Return to the oven, baking 10 minutes. 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and scatter the kale over the sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Return pan to the oven, and bake five minutes or until wilted.

To serve, spoon hot quinoa into four serving bowls. Spoon sweet potatoes, mushrooms and kale over quinoa, ­dividing evenly. Sprinkle each serving with two tablespoons of almonds, one tablespoon of pomegranate seeds and two tablespoons of Garlic Lemon Yogurt Topping.

Garlic Lemon Yogurt Topping

½ teaspoon kosher salt 1 clove garlic
½ cup 2% low-fat plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar with a pestle, or place the garlic and salt on a cutting board and crush with the flat of a knife. Place the yogurt and lemon juice in a small bowl, and stir in the garlic mixture until blended. Makes about one-half cup. 

Roast Cod with Fennel and Tomatoes

If fennel is unavailable, substitute a large onion, sliced. Any white fish will work, such as haddock and tilapia. 

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Grated zest and juice from 2 lemons
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 (5- to 6-ounce) cod fillets
1 fennel bulb
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place fish on a plate. Spoon and spread one tablespoon of the mixture on the fish, and turn to coat all sides.

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Arrange fennel slices in a shallow one-and-a-half-quart baking dish. Top with tomatoes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until fennel is just tender. Arrange cod over fennel and tomatoes. Drizzle with remaining marinade. Bake seven to eight minutes or until fish just flakes with a fork. 

To serve, use a spatula to lift fennel and fish slices onto serving plates. Spoon tomatoes and juices over fish. Yield: Four servings

Zesty Papaya Salsa

Papaya’s buttery texture and lightly sweet taste pairs well with spicy dishes as well as simple baked pork, chicken or fish. If you can’t find papaya, substitute avocado or mango.

2 cups seeded and diced (½-inch dice) from one large papaya (about 2 pounds)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds or wild blueberries
3 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion (white and light green parts)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 bell peppers, seeded and cut into
8 wedges

Combine the papaya, pomegranate seeds, cilantro, green onion, lime juice and salt in a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Serve with bell pepper strips, spooning a heaping teaspoon of salsa on the end of each pepper strip. The salsa can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Yield: Two cups

Super Spinach Hummus

You actually can use any green vegetables, herbs or colored bell peppers that are beyond their peak in this recipe instead of spinach.

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup water
¼ cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (1½ to 2 lemons)
2 Tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups packed fresh spinach leaves

Place the chickpeas, water, parsley, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping the food processor bowl as needed. Add the spinach to the food processor bowl, and process just until the mixture is bright green and smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Spoon into an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate one hour or up to two days. Yield: About two cups.