If you’re looking for some clean eating inspiration to jumpstart this year’s healthy efforts, consider these 32 recipes your cookbook for well-being. For those following the Elevate Your Life in 2019 program (available now for free to new subscribers of Elev8d Fitness, Sonima’s premium 8-minute home workout platform), these meal and snack ideas perfectly fit the bill.
Each breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack includes some of the 8 superfoods recommended by Sonima’s nutrition contributor Amie Valpone: leafy greens, beans or legumes, nuts and seeds, gluten-free whole grains, fresh herbs, berries, avocado, and citrus. From pumpkin tortilla soup to five-ingredient peanut butter granola to green falafel bowls, these dishes are full of color, flavor, and nutrients to help you start the new year feeling your best.
You’ll never guess this fruity magenta bowl has spinach and beets in it. The root vegetable contains anti-inflammatory compounds and may help lower blood pressure. Top this breakfast off with more hemp seeds and nuts, or nut butter, for some added staying power.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern blend of sesame seeds, herbs, and sumac, a spice that lends a lemony zing. Make the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, and spiced pecans at night so you can heat up, top it with an egg, then eat and go in the morning. The protein in this dish will help keep you satisfied.
This gorgeous meal is also easy to transport to work if you make it in a mason jar. The oat flour (use gluten-free, if you prefer) and chia seeds thicken overnight so it’s perfectly creamy come breakfast time. Plus, the fiber from the oat flour, chia, and blueberries supports healthy digestion.
Salad isn’t the first thing that usually comes to mind when you think of breakfast. But this combo of greens, roasted sweet potato, blueberries, hummus, avocado, hemp seeds, and parsley drizzled in lemon vinaigrette tastes as amazing as it looks. And all those colors are a sign of different antioxidants such as anthocyanins in blueberries and beta carotene in sweet potatoes.
Some recipes for breakfast cookies are, indeed, cookies. However, these contain no refined sugars and white beans to bind all the tasty morsels—gluten-free oats, dried fruit, and pumpkin seeds—together. Consuming legumes and beans may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and aid in weight management.
Nothing against avocado, but it’s not the only toast topper. Garlicky sauteed kale provides vitamins A, C, and K to support eye, immune, blood, reproductive, and bone health. Sprinkle on a generous dose of hemp seeds—one tablespoon has three grams of protein.
This balanced bowl is loaded with flavor, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Spiced roasted sweet potatoes, seasoned black beans, crispy chickpeas and creamy spinach are topped with a hard-boiled egg, avocado, and sriracha. There’s no way hunger will come knocking before lunchtime.
A Swiss physician came up with muesli, an early sort of overnight oats. In this version, unsweetened applesauce and almond milk soften up the oats. A spoonful of almond butter adds a bit of protein, and the apple grated on top provides fiber and may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
This gorgeous salad takes less than 30 minutes to make. Chewy quinoa, tender edamame, and crunchy red cabbage and carrot are mixed with a dressing packed with umami thanks to miso, a fermented soy. Top with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro for extra crunch and a lemony kick.
This hearty soup with a hint of spice from cayenne and ginger is perfect all winter long. Fresh thyme adds an earthy flavor and antioxidants, and don’t skip the fresh lemon juice at the very end—it enhances all the other flavors and brightens the dish.
Vegan Caesar? You bet! Blending soaked cashews with capers and lemons creates the classic flavor for this salad. Using kale and adding roasted broccoli and cannellini beans amps up the nutrition compared to the typical Caesar. Top with gluten-free croutons or just sprinkle on extra sunflower seeds—they’re a good source of antioxidant vitamin E.
If you can’t find black chickpeas, regular garbanzo beans work in this recipe. Both are a good source of fiber, protein, folate, manganese, and iron. Tarragon adds a hint of anise to the creamy yogurt sauce, but you can use any fresh herbs you like.
Rather than chicken, this tortilla soup calls for cubed pumpkin or butternut squash. Both are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the minerals manganese and potassium, which is important for heart health. Top off the smoky, spicy soup with avocado, jalapenos, and crispy gluten-free tortilla strips.
Massaging the kale in oil and lemon juice not only adds flavor but also softens the powerhouse leafy green. While this salad is packed with other healthy ingredients like avocado, cranberries, and almonds, you’ll really love the creamy dressing made with tahini—the same sesame seed butter used to make hummus.
If you haven’t used avocado in place of mayo to make chicken salad, this recipe is the reason to try it! The result is just as creamy, but lower in calories and saturated fat, and higher in fiber. And this isn’t your ordinary chicken salad—it’s full of carrot, cucumber, mango, red bell pepper, raisins, and pecans for loads of flavor.
Use brown rice for a gluten-free version of this salad that combines chewy grains, crisp-tender roasted cauliflower, crunchy pistachios, and sweet dates and golden raisins. Although quinoa often outshines brown rice, the rice has about 4.5 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber per cup, plus more niacin than quinoa. This B vitamin helps convert food to energy and helps our digestive system function.
Related: For more healthy, tasty and simple recipes, check out our Clean Eating column!
This impressive, cheesy dish takes minimal effort. While the squash roasts, make an easy meat sauce (use grass-fed ground beef or organic ground turkey) and sauté some kale with garlic. Mix that with ricotta and the roasted squash, then put it back in the squash shell, top with sauce and more cheese, and pop it back in the oven for a few minutes.
Falafel is actually easy to make: Combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender, then bake. Spinach turns these falafel green and adds iron and calcium. The best thing about this bowl is you can customize it. Start with your leafy green of choice, add leftover roasted or fresh veggies, some hummus or other dip, and drizzle on lemon-olive oil vinaigrette.
Butternut squash as a sauce? Roasting it with fresh thyme and blending with garlic and chili flakes turns it into a rich, creamy, and savory yet slightly sweet pasta companion. Top with chickpeas, peppery arugula, pine nuts, and cheese, if you desire.
This certainly isn’t your grandma’s shepherd’s pie, but she’d enjoy it. Ginger and red curry paste spice up grass-fed beef, which is mixed with creamy kale. Then rather than potatoes, the topping is a blend of cauliflower and pumpkin puree. The recipe can also be made vegan.
Zucchini are a bit of a blank slate when it comes to flavor, yet they’re a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Roast them, then fill with spicy black beans for more fiber and protein, and top with a vegan cheese sauce made with tahini for a quick Mexican-inspired weeknight meal. (You can also use real cheese, if you prefer.)
Tofu makes a great substitute for eggs in a vegan quiche, plus it’s a complete protein. Fresh chives and basil, nutritional yeast, mushrooms, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes lend tons of flavor to this satisfying dish. You can omit the crust and bake it in a greased pan if you prefer.
What is winter without chili? This plant-based version includes pinto and red kidney beans for that stick-to-your-ribs heartiness. But along with the usual chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cumin, you add cocoa powder and cinnamon. Seems unusual, but it deepens the flavor without you noticing. Top with avocado and fresh jalapeno slices.
Hot pot is an Asian meal enjoyed as a group. There is a bowl of boiling broth in the middle, and you all add other ingredients to cook in the broth. Make this version for your family or when you have guests. Just whip up the garlic-ginger-curry broth, then stir in your desired protein, gluten-free noodles or rice, vegetables, greens, and herbs.
Seven ingredients and a food processor are all it takes to make your own healthy snack bars. The combination of gluten-free oats, almonds, chia seeds, and dates adds up to 5 grams each of fiber and protein per bar. Be sure to use the crystallized ginger—it adds the perfect zing to compliment the lemon.
We love hummus, but it’s not the only bean dip. This one is super easy, too—process the beans with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and rosemary. The herb may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties.
Granola can be loaded with sugars, but not if you make it at home, following this simple recipe. Combine natural peanut butter, gluten-free oats, chia seeds, vanilla extract, and a little honey. Then spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake. This granola is slightly sweet, crunchy, and full of peanutty flavor. Nibble on it alone or with berries and Greek yogurt.
You’ll never guess this shake has no dairy. It’s thick and creamy thanks to chia seeds and avocado, which also add some fiber and healthy fats. Use your favorite frozen mixed berries—all are sources of more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This snack also makes a great appetizer. Roast slices of sweet potato with spices and top with homemade black bean hummus (or use any flavor store-bought hummus in a pinch) and guacamole. It’s easy and more nutritious than eating chips with dip.
These aren’t your typical granola bars with fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips. Instead, they feature oats (use gluten-free) dotted with crumbled kale chips, olives, and walnuts. You can also add chili flakes for some heat. The savory is balanced by the sweetness of honey, which binds it all together. And they take minutes to make.
If you love lemon curd pie, you’ll go gaga for these bars. Lemons are full of vitamin C, and the phenolic compounds in berries may protect against conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
This recipe tops slices of bread with mashed avocado and an egg salad mixed with dijon, shallot, capers, and a blend of herbs: flat leaf parsley, tarragon, thyme, chives, and fennel fronds. Even if you don’t have all the herbs, the taste is delicious—light, fresh, and with a little kick.