Give the gift of health this holiday season with our top 10 ideas

  • 4 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

You've been working hard on your own health and wellness throughout the year, so, naturally, you want to share the gift of health with others. Instead of burdening your loved ones with caloric cuisine, try one of these healthy holiday gift ideas.

Gift of health

10 ways to share the gift of health

Many people give chocolate, baked goods, and other holiday treats to friends and loved ones as holiday gifts. And there is nothing wrong with that if the receiver truly wants them. But if someone struggles with weight or high blood sugar levels, it might be time to consider a new twist on holiday gifting.

1. Spices

Many home cooks do not splurge on quality spices, yet they would be a welcome addition to their kitchen staples. Buy spices online or at a local spice shop. You can buy spices in bulk and package them in small bags or jars from craft and container stores. Ship them to your loved ones with a favorite recipe featuring the spices for a personalized touch.

There are many online spice shops, but our favorites are Savory Spice and Penzey's. Mulling spices, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, black truffle sea salt, smoked black pepper, and sweet and spicy paprika are sure to be well-received!

Pro Tip: Small spice containers fit well in the USPS small flat-rate Priority Mail boxes.

2. Coffee and tea

Many of us have a daily coffee or tea habit but don't treat ourselves to unique and high-quality choices. Such antioxidant-packed and essentially calorie-free treats make thoughtful, comforting gifts.

Before gifting coffee or tea, find out what form the recipient prefers. Do they like regular or caffeine-free? Whole coffee beans or ground coffee? Loose-leaf tea or tea bags?

Pro Tip: Shop your local specialty tea or coffee shop for unique blends and products. Great online sources include Tea Forte, The Tea Spot, and Bean Box Coffee.

3. Food calendars

Artistic images of healthful foods provide daily inspiration to eat healthier. Why not gift a calendar with beautiful photos, drawings, or paintings of fruits and vegetables?

The Good Foods calendar from The Center for Science in the Public Interest is an excellent choice, featuring photos of seasonal foods and a monthly recipe idea. This Mindful Eating calendar supports a healthy approach toward eating. If you are looking for something more whimsical, this Play with Your Food calendar features playful scenes created entirely from fruits and vegetables.

4. Olive oil or balsamic vinegar

Thoughtful luxuries such as high-quality oils and balsamic vinegar make thoughtful host gifts for most home cooks. A boutique olive oil would be lovely for someone following a Mediterranean diet or anyone appreciating the subtle flavors of quality olive oil. These products typically come in beautiful bottles. Just add a festive bow, and they are ready for gifting.

Online retailers for quality oils and vinegar include Market Hall Foods, Zingermans, and Olio2go.

5. Cookbooks

Encourage healthy and delicious meals year-long with the gift of a cookbook.

Here are some of our dietitians' favorite healthy cookbooks for gifting:
America's Test Kitchen Complete Plant-Based Cookbook
The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook
Easy Everyday Mediterranean Cookbook
The DASH Diet Mediterranean Solution
Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan or Skillet

Don't forget the basics when it comes to cookbooks. The bibles of home cooks everywhere, Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything can help an aspiring cook become a home chef! Loaded with classic recipes, both kitchen essentials include helpful background information and references on cooking.

Know someone who loves to cook but wants to minimize clutter? A digital gift subscription to New York Times Cooking, Eating Well, or Vegetarian Times will inspire year-long cooking.

6. Fitness trackers and subscriptions

A wearable fitness tracker makes a nice gift for someone who doesn't own one or would like an upgrade. Wearables do more than count steps-many monitor heart rate and calories burned, among other features.

Wearables can be great exercise motivators. Watches can alert the user to stand up and move around periodically to avoid prolonged sitting's ill effects. Wearables count steps and distance, and estimate calories burned, increasing motivation to stay active. MyNetDiary syncs with Fitbit, Garmin Connect, Apple Health, and Withings, providing seamless food and activity data integration.

You may also throw in a subscription to an exercise channel so your recipient can enjoy countless at-home workouts. Some of our favorites are Apple Fitness, Fitness Blender, Glo, Mossa On Demand, and Obe'.

7. Digital kitchen scale

Admittedly, not so glamorous a gift, but a digital kitchen scale can be a game-changer for a serious cook. Accurately measuring ingredients by weight can mean the difference between "what went wrong?" and perfect results. For example, a cup of flour can vary drastically in weight, depending on how tightly it is packed. Measuring flour by weight will provide consistent results.

Essential for accurately tracking portions, kitchen scales help provide a reality check. What seems like an ounce of cheese may turn out to be much more. The recipient could also use the scale to make convenient pre-portioned snacks.

We like this Accuweight kitchen scale for a relatively inexpensive, convenient, and attractive kitchen scale.

8. Experiences

Don't overlook non-material gifts, which will be welcome by any recipient trying to reduce clutter. Chances are, your loved ones will treasure these experiences longer than any trinket. Consider active adventures, such as a rafting trip, climbing lessons, or a guided hike. Yoga classes, golf lessons, or gardening classes are gifts that truly keep on giving. A National or State Park Pass encourages active outings and the opportunity to relax in nature.

9. Gifts of soothing

Who wouldn't welcome a gift that encourages relaxation? Journals, yoga mats, scented candles, puzzles, and craft materials will encourage the recipient to take time out for themselves. A spa gift certificate or a massage tool (like these from RAD) will be the perfect fit for anyone on your list.

10. MyNetDiary gift subscription

We admit to being biased on this one, but we can't think of a better gift of health! You can save up to 50% off the yearly rate on MyNetDiary gift subscriptions. The lucky recipient will get an email with a code to access MyNetDiary's Premium features right away. They will have access to hundreds of dietitian-curated Premium recipes, a supportive Community Forum, and customizable tracking tools to support their health and nutrition goals.

Contributions from Donna Feldman MS RDN and Kathy Isacks MPS, RDN, CDCES.

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Nov 17, 2021

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