Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Photo credit: Iwona Erskine-Kellie CC-BY-2.0 2007

Many find it difficult to eat right and exercise during the busy holiday season. Traditional holiday fare can be loaded with calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Candies, cake, puddings and pies tempt us almost daily in the weeks and days leading up to the New Year. It is often even more difficult to find a gift for the health-conscious person on your gift list.

Typical holiday traditions at work include the Secret Santa and gift name exchange. Often when you have no idea what to buy someone, a box of chocolates or other sweet treat is the usual default gift. This year instead of giving sweets, gift your co-worker a basket of fresh fruits or a selection of choice unsalted nuts. Natural gourmet dried fruits and Oriental teas are also a healthy alternative to candy.

A slow-cooking crockpot and a hand-decorated soup tureen make an ideal gift for anyone, especially the person on your gift list who may be trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight. Include a package of lentils or dried peas in festive wrapping. You can include your favorite soup or bean recipe, handwritten inside a holiday card for a special touch.

Reusable Japanese bento boxes are a superb gift idea for a co-worker, friend or family member. Bento boxes consist of a number of small, partitioned compartments for a wide variety of food. In Japan, the boxes are used to hold rice, vegetables, meat, fish and noodles. The small compartments limit the total amount of food consumed, provide for a greater variety of foods and encourage the recipient to take their lunch to work instead of eating fast food.
Healthy food cookbooks make an excellent gift for people who love to cook. Your local bookstore probably has a section of cookbooks devoted to healthy, diet, organic and natural recipes. Cookbooks can also be found for specific types of food, like the Mediterranean diet, Greek cooking, Japanese recipes and healthy versions of traditional American dishes. Heart healthy cookbooks are available at the American Heart Association.
If you are still not sure what to give, consider giving a gift membership to a local gym or fitness club. Select a club or gym that offers a variety of fitness activities, such as group aerobics, swimming, weight lifting, Pilates, Yoga and Karate. The avid exerciser or runner would appreciate a new set of fitness bands or a spa treatment.