Five Healthy Gift Ideas
You know how it goes: all the gifts bought and wrapped. Cookies are in the oven. Cards addressed with glitter pen are in the mail. Time to sit down, relax and bask in the glory of the season. HAHAHA. If only. More like you realize in the school parking lot that the kids are out of school starting tomorrow (whaaaa?? It’s only Wednesday!), the office party starts in an hour (hello, pot luck), and you text your husband the “thumbs up” emoji when you’re really thinking, “what do you mean your brother and all four kids are staying for a WEEK?!”
You need cheap and easy holiday gifts. Although tradition points to baked goods for the office secret Santa, book club and the kids’ teachers, we bet you’ll be a hero if you take a healthier route. Because, let’s be honest, yours aren’t the only pants that are too tight right now. We’re all living on candy canes and coffee this month.
- Granola. This delicious recipe can be adapted for all sorts of dietary considerations. The prep time is only 20 minutes and makes enough for 10 cellophane baggies. Put a ribbon on the top and you have a great gift for lots of people. This recipe is rich in whole grains and heart smart oils. The granola is chunky and easy to eat without milk or a spoon. Recipients can put it out for breakfast for overnight guests or stick it in the car cup holder for a nutritious snack between errands.
- Homemade Greek Yogurt. Mason jars of homemade Greek yogurt—how cute is that? Secret: it’s incredibly simple. There are three quick steps and hours in between for the yogurt to set, so you can make it in stages. Consider this for hostess gifts; breakfast the morning after all the hullabaloo of hosting is an amazing treat. Just remember that these need refrigeration, so plan accordingly!
- Freezer meals. Have someone you really, really love and don’t mind investing some time in a gift? Make them a few meals to pop in their freezer and cook when needed. Save them the time spent shopping, chopping and stirring by combining all the ingredients in labeled freezer bags or reusable containers. Soups, chili, and crock pot or grill-ready foods like kebobs and sliders freeze well. Or try mini meatloaves and vegetables or stir fry blends. Buy canned items that are no salt added and think through how to add flavor with spices and herbs. Many vegetables freeze well, so don’t forget to add them to the dish you create! You can do the cooking yourself or your city may have a grocery store or independent retailer that will do the recipe planning for you—all you have to do is show up and assemble.
- Reusable water bottles. Great for any age and season, having a reusable bottle in a backpack, the car or sitting on the desk will encourage your friends and family to skip the soda and other beverages high in calories and sugar. Consider models with an infuser so your “I hate plain water” friends can add lemons, fruit or other goodies to punch up their beverage without added sugar.
- No bows: get together instead. Organize a walking group that meets weekly. You can do the track at the high school, the path at the park or just explore your neighborhood. It will be the gift that keeps on giving!