Gift ideas with a healthy food theme

GiftBoxFood and health related holiday gifts are the perfect solution for people who say they don’t want more stuff, or for casual gift-giving with friends or colleagues.  You can always go the cookie/candy route, but if you’d prefer to emphasize healthier choices, here are some gift ideas:

  • Boutique olive oils.  You might also consider other speciality oils, such as walnut.  But be sure you’re giving these to someone who will appreciate and use them, on salads or for cooking.
  • A collection of 3-4 bottles of unusual sauces.  You might know about a particular brand of hard-to-find salsa, BBQ or spaghetti sauce.  Or interesting Asian sauces or marinades.  Again, suitable for someone who cooks.
  • Red wine
  • Several bars of dark chocolate, arranged in a basket or tied with a ribbon
  • Nuts.  Either a large package of one type, or several smaller packages of a variety, such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans.  Just be sure the person likes nuts and isn’t allergic to them.
  • Tea: herbal, black or a variety
  • Coffee
  • Whole grain speciality crackers
  • Low sodium spice and herb seasoning mixes
  • An assortment of dried fruit, preferably not sugar-sweetened.  Apples, pears, plums (aka prunes), berries, cherries and tropical fruits.
  • boutique or homemade granola
  • An assortment of oatmeal, or other hot cereals: rolled oats, steel cut oats, Irish oatmeal and other whole grain cooked cereals
  • Speciality honey, especially local varieties
  • A fresh fruit basket you put together.  Stick to seasonal fruit that keeps for several days: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, pears, pineapple, etc.  If there’s room, add a winter squash or small pumpkin for visual interest.

For people at a distance, I’m in favor of sending smoked salmon ( or other smoked fish), aged ham, smoked turkey or other lean meats, ruby red grapefruit, oranges and fruit-of-the-month packages.

Gifts with an exercise angle

These are a good choice for someone you know is (or wants to be) physically active.

  • Wearable step counters.
  • Gym or rec center membership, but only for someone who would make good use of it. Don’t give a membership to someone in the hopes of nagging them into starting an exercise program.
  • Exercise clothes: shorts, leggings, tank tops, shirts, vests, jackets, socks, headbands, gloves, etc.
  • Water bottle fanny pack or Camel-back type water carrier

 Household items

  • Bento boxes or other portion-control lunch box.
  • A food-themed calendar.  I’m a big believer in the power of visual images to influence behavior, so avoid calendars that feature desserts or tempting treats.
  • A blender for making smoothies
  • Cookbooks that focus on healthy eating, such as the Mediterranean diet.
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