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Jena DeMoss:Grown just around the CORNer

Many people are aware that vegetables and fruits are an important part of a balanced diet. There’s no question (and a lot of research) that adding some broccoli to your dinner plate and blueberries to your breakfast bowl can offer health benefits. But where does corn fit into all of this, and can it contribute to a balanced diet?

Corn is both a vegetable and a grain. It’s high in carbohydrates, which means that – depending on portion size and what it’s paired with – it can cause the blood sugar to spike. People with diabetes or at risk for diabetes who are managing their blood sugar probably won’t choose it as their first pick because of this. However, corn still does offer research-supported health benefits. When paired intentionally and included in moderate amounts, it can even be a safe option for people working on managing blood sugar.

Ultimately, the answer is yes – corn can contribute to a balanced diet. Corn is a source of fiber, which can help manage cholesterol and promote digestive health. It’s also a source of potassium, which can help manage blood pressure. It provides B vitamins, zinc, iron and magnesium – all of which help support the immune system and promote wellness. It also offers eye-health-promoting carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin. Corn is a source of folic acid, which is especially important during pregnancy. Consider enjoying corn as part of the Grilled Corn Salad recipe below. It works well served over a bed of spinach and paired with your favorite grilled protein options this summer.

Another great thing about corn is that, here in the Midwest, it’s locally grown. Many Hy-Vee stores offer corn through the “Homegrown” program.

If you see this signage at your store location, that means that the product highlighted has been grown within 200 miles of the store. Hy-Vee works directly with farmers and greenhouses to offer quality produce that also supports local communities. You could basically say these fresh choices were grown right around the CORNer.

Grilled Corn Salad 

Serves 8

All you need

• 2 (5-ct. each) Hy-Vee Short Cuts fresh sweet corn

• 2 tbsp Gustare Vita olive oil

• 1 (0.5-lb) pkg Hy-Vee Short Cuts chopped red bell peppers

• 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped, plus slices for garnish*

• ⅓ cup bottled cilantro avocado yogurt dressing

• 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

• Hy-Vee salt

• Hy-Vee ground black pepper

All you do

1. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill with greased grill rack over medium-high heat. Brush corn with oil. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly charred, turning frequently. Remove from grill; cool slightly.

2. Cut the kernels off the cobs; place in a medium bowl. Add bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and dressing; tossing to combine. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes. When working with jalapeno peppers, wear protective gloves.

Recipe source: Adapted from August 2020 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine