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Sitting down for a meal is a beautiful way to connect to your emotions and get grounded in gratitude. And practicing food gratitude takes it a step further. Charge into 2021 with an open heart and a feeling of thankfulness, and try these healthy (and immune-boosting) meals. We’ve paired each cozy, delicious recipe with a quick habit or ritual to help you to appreciate your food, be thankful for your blessings and your health, and cultivate food gratitude. Even if you regularly say a blessing of thanks before eating, being grateful for the food you eat can also bring added benefits.

BREAKFAST: Apple Elderflower Hot Smoothie

food gratitudeSmoothies are typically served cold, but this warm elixir reinvents your breakfast with a hot take on the classic smoothie. It’s perfect for cold winter mornings and is bursting with immunity-boosting antioxidants from pomegranates. Plus, the Jasmine tea adds a gentle touch of energizing caffeine to get your morning going.

As you sip the smoothie, think with gratitude about how this morning meal will set you up for a day of success. Simply say, “I’m thankful that I can drink this smoothie because it [insert benefit here].” For example, you might say, “I’m glad I can drink this smoothie because it gives me energy for my morning meetings.”

Seeds from one pomegranate

1/2 tbsp elderflower cordial

1 apple, cored

1 1/2 cup of hot Jasmine tea or green tea

Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth (taking extra care with the hot tea when blending – don’t overfill). Enjoy!

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LUNCH: Mandarin Orange Salad

food gratitudeMandarin oranges are a classic fruit enjoyed during the holiday season, and it has been gifted in Christmas stockings for hundreds of years. This salad pairs juicy Mandarin oranges (an amazing source of immune-enhancing vitamin C) with a citrus-infused dressing that’s absolutely to die for.

You can make this salad with kale, spinach, lettuce or any other of your favorite greens. Consider growing some salad greens on a sunny windowsill, or even tossing on some homegrown sprouts (sprouting sprouts at home requires no special equipment and only takes a few days). When you nurture a plant and enjoy the proverbial fruits of your labor, you expand your sense of gratitude for nature and the way that all life is interconnected. 

SALAD

10 ounces of spring salad mix, spinach, kale or your favorite greens

1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges or use fresh

1/4 c dried cranberries (unsweetened, no sugar added)

1/3 c sliced nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.)

DRESSING

1/4 c frozen orange juice concentrate

Grated zest from one fresh orange

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Juice from one lemon

1 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 tsp salt

Place all the dressing ingredients into a sealed container and shake vigorously to mix. Create your salad by scattering Mandarin orange slices, cranberries and nuts on a bed of your favorite greens. Drizzle with the salad dressing and enjoy!

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DINNER: Creamy Alfredo-Style Vegan Pasta

food gratitudeIt’s the perfect, rich dinner for those busy, cold winter nights. It doesn’t take long to make, but it tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. The rich textures pair well with a frigid, dark night. And it’s completely plant-based so there’s zero guilt, plus lots of extra vitamins and minerals that support your overall wellness.

The recipe calls for sauteed veggies of your choice. We recommend picking up anything that’s seasonal and grown by a local farmer (local food is healthier, according to researchers). Learn that farmer’s story. If possible, meet him or her and chat with them about what it takes to grow the food we all enjoy. It’s a beautiful way to get connected to the source of your food, and expand your food gratitude as you consider all of the time, energy and planning that goes into the ingredients you cook with.

SAUCE

1/3 cup raw cashews

5 cloves garlic

5 tbsp nutritional yeast

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (ideally almond milk or oat milk)

PASTA

Water to cook

1 10-oz box of pasta

VEGGIES

1 tsp oil

1 red or yellow onion, sliced

1 c of your favorite root vegetable or squash, diced (butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.)

2 c of your favorite greens (spinach, kale, etc.)

Make the sauce by soaking the nuts in very hot water for half an hour, then adding the nuts (drain them first) and other sauce ingredients to a blender and blending until creamy. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to its boxed instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the veggies. Saute them for 10 minutes or until tender.

Assemble your meal by plating the pasta, adding a scoop or two of cooked veggies, and pouring a generous amount of creamy white sauce over everything. Toss and enjoy!

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