April is Celery Month and it is time to celebrate. Celery may be an afterthought in the produce aisle, but it is a simple and inexpensive addition to your daily meal plan. This low-calorie vegetable is a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A.

Choose the stalk that is straight and rigid with fresh leaves. You want to avoid celery that is limp. It can be stored in the refrigerator unwashed for up to two weeks.

Celery isn’t just for Ants on a Log. It can be used in a variety of ways and recipes. Celery stalks can be eaten raw, stir-fried, baked, steamed or microwaved. When planning to use celery, you will want to rinse the stems thoroughly before preparing, as dirt can be found between the ribs. Next you will want to make sure to cut the root off the stem and throw away.

Here are the Top 10 Ways to Eat Celery from fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

10. A quick appetizer. Stuff stalks with low-fat cream cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

9. Can you eat the leaves? Yes. Instead of throwing the leaves away, use them in soup, stuffing, salad or other cooked dishes.

8. More veggies for your stews. Pump up the nutrition in your soups and stews by adding chopped celery. Adds a little crunch too.

7. Tacos. Celery adds just a little more crunch to your tasty tacos.

6. Celery and spinach. Do something different with your spinach salad. Combine diced celery, shredded carrot, cooked pasta, bell peppers and corn. Serve over a bed of spinach and top with your favorite low-calorie dressing.

5. Texture for tuna. Add a little texture to your tuna or chicken salad. Mix together chopped celery, mayonnaise or mustard, and tuna or chicken. Serve over whole wheat bread or a toasted English muffin. For an extra kick, add a dash of hot sauce to the mixture.

4. For an easy side dish, braise celery in vegetable stock and season with your favorite herbs or a little bit of salt and pepper.

3. Celery salsa. Heat oil and stir in garlic, tomato, celery and onion. Pour in tomato juice and bring to a boil. Cook until onions and celery are tender. Stir flour into salsa to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

2. Stir-fried celery? Absolutely. Use celery in your next vegetable stir-fry. Heat a little olive oil and sauté chopped celery, carrots, broccoli florets, onions and bell peppers. Add reduced-sodium soy sauce and serve over brown rice or in a whole wheat pita.

1. Ants on a Log. Add peanut butter to the inside of celery and top off with raisins for a quick, fun and nutritious treat for your kids. Also, try switching hummus for the peanut butter.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.