Food can say many things—it can be the cause of celebration, it can reflect the changing seasons, it can signify tradition and it can hold memories. But one substantial role of food is to bring nourishment, comfort. When the loves in our lives are undergoing trials like stress of illness, trauma of loss, or even the transition of bringing new life, the provision of a lovely meal allows them to feel cared for and yes, comforted. The daily need for food can turn into a daunting task or even escape thought altogether during these particular seasons. As a Hostess, these times allow us to rise to the occasion in a very practical way.

Keep in mind, while traditional “comfort foods” certainly have their place, this is an opportunity to supply sustaining, healthful foods that will both provide for the moment and foster continued health. A synonym for “nourish” is “encourage” and that is precisely what these meals should aim to do.

Here are some ideas for what to include…

Sides:
A fruit salad is easy to make and wonderful for the recipient to have on hand. It can be eaten any time of day and provides relief from the go-to heavy casseroles. Just chop up a mix whatever is in season. You could flavor it with fresh mint if you want to go the extra mile. Likewise, bring either a large salad or lots of cut of vegetables (maybe even include hummus) for them to have as a simple side with whatever else has been provided.

Entrées:
The main dish will depend on the diet of your friend. Are they a vegetarian? Vegan? Meat lover? Be sensitive to their individual tastes and restrictions when making the meal. Some good options are three-bean chili or turkey meatloaf. (Note: halve or quarter the meatloaf recipe unless you want endless leftovers!)

Desserts:
For something sweet, try these peanut butter oatmeal cookies (oats are especially good for new mothers) served with hot herbal or decaffeinated tea.

The gesture of bringing food can be big or small, you could bring an entire meal as listed or a simple offering of fruit and cookies. Do what you can manage but by all means, do contribute, care for your community, provide comfort and encourage!

Do you have any healthy comfort foods to add to the list?

Image via Green Kitchen Stories

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