On the Table

Consumable gifts help keep holidays healthy

December 3, 2013 

In this season of gift giving, do yourself and those around you a favor. Keep it simple, practical and health supporting. It’s not hard to do, and people will appreciate it.

I like to give consumables. Homemade foods are a gift from the heart, or buy edibles that may be little luxuries that others don’t often buy for themselves.

Other sensible consumables include gift certificates for services or experiences that support health and well being.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

• Yoga classes. There are sessions to suit any level of ability. Buy a coupon book for drop-in sessions or sign him up for a series. Supplement with a new yoga mat, blanket, bolster or other accessories. Order them online and avoid the hassle of holiday traffic. Namaste.

• Massage. Goes well with yoga classes for that special someone who hasn’t stretched in a few years. Soothes sore muscles and encourages the kind of body consciousness that supports New Year’s plans to lose weight and get in shape.

• Customized food baskets. If someone on your gift list has special dietary needs, put together a collection of foods they can enjoy without worry. For example, someone on a gluten-free diet may appreciate muffins, quick breads or a granola mix made with gluten-free ingredients.

• Foodie favorites. Pure maple syrup, a case of fresh Florida oranges or grapefruit, high-quality, locally produced fruit preserves or honey, handmade pasta in interesting shapes and colors, herb-infused olive oil or a bag of whole, organic coffee beans make nice gifts.

• Gift cards for natural foods stores. It’s not a guarantee of a nutrition-packed food choice – natural junk food does exist – but it increases the opportunities to experiment with wholesome foods – organic produce, whole grain packaged mixes, and ethnic meals, for example – that your recipient may not otherwise encounter at their local supermarket.

• Share with those less fortunate. If you’ve ever thought about giving to a North Carolina food bank, now’s the time to do it. There are families all around us who don’t have enough to eat. Your donation helps to support soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and programs supporting children and adults throughout the state.

Happy, healthy holidays!

Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill. Reach her at suzanne@onthetable.net; follow her on Twitter, @suzannehobbs.

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