Health Department

Healthy Gift Ideas

Healthy Gift Ideas
Article by Larry D. Jones, MPH
December 18, 2012

We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and for many people it’s not exactly a season of healthy choices. Cold weather makes getting out and exercising less appealing. Holiday get-togethers involve eating and drinking, and there usually aren’t a lot of fresh, healthful options. Most of us will wait until after the New Year to decide to dig out our walking shoes and put away the fruit cake. But for those of us who still have a few last-minute gifts to buy, here are some ideas that will give friends and family a head start at a healthy new year:

1. New bike or bike helmet—a good idea for children and adults.

2. Pedometer to encourage regular walking as part of an active lifestyle.

3. Set of hand weights or exercise bands for home exercise routines.

4. Colorful water bottle to encourage the recipient to drink water, a much more healthful choice than sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

5. Membership to a local fitness center—good for individuals, great for families!

6. Cookbook of healthful recipes.

7. Yoga mat and DVD—great for improving flexibility and toning muscles.

8. Subscription to a health, fitness, or nutrition magazine.

9. Gift certificate for a garden store—home-grown vegetables are healthful and delicious!

10. Dried fruit instead of chocolates (choose a type with no added sugar).

11. Fun kitchen gadgets or small appliances to make cooking at home more appealing—a juicer or blender for homemade smoothies, a steamer to reduce oil used in cooking vegetables, quality knives or vegetable peelers, etc.

12. New workout clothes to increase motivation to get to the gym or go for a jog.

13. Exotic fruits as stocking stuffers—try a mango, pomegranate, star fruit, or even a small pineapple.

14. Gift certificate to a spa or home spa products—a great stress reliever!

15. Sleds, kites, kid-sized fishing poles, or other outdoor gear to encourage kids to turn off the TV or video games and increase their activity level in all seasons.

The holidays give us many wonderful opportunities to spend time with the people we care about. This year, why not take advantage of the time together to encourage your family and friends to develop healthier habits? And while you’re shopping for healthy gifts for others, think of something that will make it easier for you to be healthy in the coming year. After all, taking care of yourself to ensure a long and healthy life may be one of the best gifts you can give to the people who care about you!