Easy Winter Recipes for Immune Strength



With cold and flu season knocking at your door, it's time to boost your family's health with the best foods for your immune system. An estimated 80% of your immune system is in your gut, after all! Here are five easy winter recipes from the Tiny Health team designed to keep illnesses at bay all season long. In this post we're sharing our best recipes for: 

  • Homemade Elderberry Syrup, a delicious anti-inflammatory tonic for immune defense
  • Fermented Honey Garlic, a powerful combination that’s both antimicrobial and soothing
  • Everyday Bone Broth, rich in gelatin and nutrients. 
  • Garlic and Ginger Winter Greens, a versatile dish packed with flavor and aroma
  • Easy Overnight Fruit and Seed Oatmeal, a hearty winter breakfast with zinc and Vitamin C

Ready to add immunity boosting foods to your family’s diet? Let's get started.

1. Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup from Tiny Health’s Jennie Vera, Certified Nutrition Specialist and Registered Nurse

This elderberry syrup is not only easy to make but also a hit with kids. Bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, elderberries bring a natural boost to your family’s health [1]. Try a small spoonful in the morning or adding a light drizzle of this sweet syrup to your favorite oatmeal or yogurt. On chilly days, stir it into warm tea for a comforting treat.


  • 1 cup of organic dried elderberries
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger thinly sliced or grated or 1-2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves (optional)
  • 1 cup of raw local honey*

Put all ingredients except for honey, in a saucepan and bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for about 30-35 minutes (it may take a bit longer than this). Ideally you want the water to reduce to about half of what it was to start.

Strain the mixture into a mason jar or container. Be sure to press on berries to get out any remaining liquid.

Allow mixture to cool slightly and mix in raw local honey. 

Store in airtight glass container for up to 2 weeks. Tip: If making larger batches, you can freeze portions to avoid it going bad.

*Important note - avoid giving honey to infants under 12 months old due to the risk of botulism.

2. Fermented Honey Garlic Recipe

Fermented Honey Garlic from Tiny Health’s Jennie Vera, Certified Nutrition Specialist and Registered Nurse

This recipe packs a one-two punch. Raw garlic is known for its potent antimicrobial properties, and raw honey serves as a natural cough remedy [2] [3]. Prep takes less than 5 minutes, making it easy to have this mixture on hand for cold and flu season! Simply eat a clove or take a spoonful of the honey when you feel a cold coming on. Or, incorporate either ingredient into your favorite recipes. 


  • ½ cup to 1 cup of peeled garlic cloves (tip: smash them slightly with the side of a chef’s knife to make peeling easy!)
  • Raw, local honey*

You’ll also need:

  • Pint mason jar with lid

Add the garlic cloves to a pint mason jar and add enough raw, local honey to coat the garlic cloves completely. Loosely cover the jar with its lid and tuck the jar away in a dark place. 

Every day or two, tip the jar to keep the garlic cloves fully coated. (Make sure the lid is closed!) Within a week, you should see small bubbles forming on the surface of the honey. 

Let the mixture ferment for about a month. You can eat it at any time but the garlic will mellow as it ferments. The honey will also become more watery over time.

Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place like a cupboard for several months.

*Important note - avoid giving honey to infants under 12 months old due to the risk of botulism.

3. Everyday Bone Broth Recipe

Everyday Bone Broth from Tiny Health’s Leah Bodenbach, author of Brain Food for Your Baby / Photo credit: Tessa Cooper

The healing and nutritional benefits of bone broth are so rich! Packed with essential nutrients like gelatin, amino acids, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, bone broth supports the immune system and your family’s gut health. Get into the habit of collecting your veggie scraps and bones in freezer bags and making a batch of this broth each week. 


  • 2 lbs. Grass-fed organic beef knuckle bones OR 1 chicken carcass, including feet and/or neck if available
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pink Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. peppercorns, whole
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 2 carrots
  • Any veggie scraps you have on hand (ends of squash, peppers, etc.)
  • Optional nutrient-rich add-ins: grass-fed liver (raw or cooked), seaweed, mushrooms, thyme, fresh garlic, or ginger

In a large pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker, add the bones, vinegar, and enough filtered water to cover the bones. Soak the bones for one hour, allowing the vinegar to draw the minerals out. Add the remaining ingredients except for the salt, then add enough water to fill the rest of the pot. 

Slow cooker: Simmer on low. For beef bones, cook for 48-72 hours. For chicken bones, cook 12-24 hours. The longer the cook time, the more gelatin and minerals are drawn out. You may need to add water periodically, as some of the water evaporates. 

Stovetop: Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for the same amount of time above based on the bones you’re using. Add water as needed.

Instant pot: Cook according to your instant pot directions for bones, usually 1-2 hours. 

Strain with a fine mesh strainer, then discard the bones. Add salt to taste. Let the broth cool until it’s warm but not cold. Divide into mason jars, leaving 1” of space at the top. 

Store in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

4. Garlic and Ginger Winter Greens

Garlic and Ginger Winter Greens from Tiny Health’s Danielle Shea Tan, author of 52 Small Changes for the Family

Ginger and garlic are two powerhouse ingredients used for centuries for immunity and healing. The ginger and garlic bring so much flavor and aroma to this dish, even your finicky family members will want a taste. The best part about this recipe is you can use any hearty winter green vegetable, from kale to chard and even thinly sliced cabbage—it’s so flexible! 


  • 1 large bunch greens - bok choy, any type of kale or chard or even thinly sliced cabbage, stems removed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger
  • Olive oil or avocado oil 
  • 1-2 Tbsp water or stock
  • Himalayan sea salt 

Prepare vegetables. Peel and mince garlic and ginger. Wash greens and remove rough stems from kale or chard. Then thinly slice remaining greens. 

In a large saucepan or saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, a few shakes of salt (approx. ⅛ tsp). Saute until fragrant about 2-4 minutes (be sure not to burn). Add greens and mix with garlic and ginger. Add 1-2 Tbsp. water or stock. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Delicate greens need less time.  

5. Easy Overnight Fruit and Seed Oatmeal 

Easy Overnight Fruit and Seed Oatmeal from Tiny Health’s Danielle Shea Tan, author of 52 Small Changes for the Family

The key to getting adequate zinc and vitamin C is to add it to meals you already love! This super easy overnight oatmeal contains a melody of seeds that are loaded with zinc. Plus, you can mix up the flavors of this oatmeal by choosing different fruits as your base and your toppings. Our go to toppings are pumpkin seeds and diced strawberries, but for a special immune boosting treat you can try goji berries and dark chocolate too! 


  • 1 cup gluten free steel cut oats
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup flaxseeds, ground
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 3-4 tsp. maple syrup or date sugar (optional) or 1 diced banana
  • 4.5 cups filtered water (or add more in morning if you prefer liquidy oatmeal)
  • Additional immune boosting toppings (choose a couple): pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds diced strawberries, goji berries, dark chocolate shavings, raspberries, blueberries and local honey

Wash and dice apples. Skins contain pectin and fiber so we like to leave them on! 

In a slow cooker, add oats, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, apples and optional sweetener. Mix well. Add water, mix well.  Set on low for 6-8 hours. 

In the morning, mix the oatmeal. Often some of the chia seeds will float to the top and remain crunchy. Mix well and the chia will be softened in no time. 

Top with your favorite nutrient-dense toppings. For extra immune support, choose toppings loaded with vitamin C like strawberries or goji berries and zinc like pumpkin seeds. Enjoy! 


[1] J. Hawkins et al., “Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials,” Complement Ther Med, vol. 42, pp. 361–365, Feb. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004.

[2] J. Ansary et al., “Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview,” Antioxidants, vol. 9, no. 7, Art. no. 7, Jul. 2020, doi: 10.3390/antiox9070619.

[3] O. Oduwole et al., “Honey for acute cough in children,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, no. 4, 2018, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007094.pub5.