Healthy Eats Gift Guide: What to Make & Share

by in Healthy Holidays, December 8, 2009

Whether it’s for Hanukkah, Christmas or just because, ’tis the season for giving gifts. If you’re interested in giving away food-related gifts, skip those high-calorie candies or basket of sweets, and check out our ideas instead.

Make-Your-Own Ideas
I like to go beyond the usual cookies and candies when I’m prepping homemade goodies. Last year, I made bottles of cranberry-infused vodka and pretty bags of spiced nuts. This year, I’m doing bottles of homemade vanilla extract along with a healthy muffin recipe — all easy and affordable!

If you don’t have time to do that, go for spice collections from Penzeys or Dean & Deluca or jams from Stonewall Kitchen. Gourmet fruit baskets can also spread some healthy cheer — order from Harry & David or head to your farmers’ market to make you own with local, seasonal favorites.

Food-Free Spin
Yummy holiday gifts don’t have to be edible. Inspire healthy cooking by giving one of our favorite kitchen gadgets along with a recipe to try them with.

Page Turners
If your giftee isn’t a big cook, try sharing a little food know-how with books such as Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food or a new cookbook that catches your eye. Ellie Krieger’s So Easy is perfect for the busy family, and Deborah Madison’s What We Eat When We Eat Alone might interest the solo cook or the food curious.

Party Favorite
If you’re headed to a holiday soirree, the trivia game, Foodie Fight, is perfect for your host. I received the game a few years back and we still love whipping it out — works great at cocktail parties or for a quiet night at home.

Giving Back
There’s always someone who has everything, so give a gift in their name. Make a donation to local food bank, plant a tree or let your recipient choose their favorite charity.

Share Your Recipes
If a friend or family member is looking to eat healthier, lead by example and gift them your treasured recipes. Sites such as allow you to upload recipes and print your own cookbooks.

I’ve also discovered ways to make custom printable recipe cards by using free templates that are available online. Here’s one I recently made for part of a bridal shower favor:

recipe card

TELL US: What creative gifts are you giving this year?

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Comments (11)

  1. Krikri says:

    I am really short of ideas. I wanted to do the traditional cookies but that theme has been over used. Perhaps, I will take some suggestions. About the printable recipe temples, I think it is a good idea.

  2. wow i love these ideas! love the recipe cards and the "make your own" goodies! thanks for the great gift guide :)

  3. Fawn says:

    Another good option is assembling dry spice rubs (you usually have the spices already on hand and you can package them in little tins or mason jars). I love Paula Deen’s dry rub for slow-roasted brisket and Emeril’s seasoning is really easy to make. Just a couple more ideas:)

  4. Liz says:

    Someone gave me a jar of Sechler's pickles from Indiana this summer. They were the best pickles I've ever had — homemade or store bought. Guess what several people on my guest list are getting for Christmas — Sechlers Pickles gift baskets. Plus — they give a 10% discount to first time buyers.

  5. Erin says:

    One idea I've had is to can extra pears and peaches in August/September, taking the pressure off the December gift scene. You can add a fabric or tissue paper circle banded/ribboned to the top to make it look festive, then attach a round card-stock backed tag to the top that says something cute like, "May your efforts in the new year bear good fruit! Happy New Year! Love, the Johnsons". Another idea is a fresh fruit platter…like on a Chinette oval platter. If you have several to make, going to Costco or Sams for the fruit might make sense. A friend once gave us a platter with fresh pineapple, grapes, kiwi slices, strawberries, melon, etc., delivering it in the late afternoon, just in time to be a healthy dessert after dinner that night.

  6. Rosalyn Daisey says:

    Is the homemade marshmellow recipe for real?

  7. My creative gift to my gluten free friends is a Wonder Bun kit. It includes the whole grain ingredients, the perfect sized custard cups, the recipe, and a link to a video. Instructions are posted in the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness December newsletter.

    For my adventurous tea loving friends, I am mixing up a simple blend of seed tea with a tea ball. It has fennel, anise, and caraway seeds, in a pretty little container.

  8. Sarah says:

    Maybe this is as overdone as cookies… My dad has this framed recipe from the Olney Ale House in Olney MD. (The recipe is for some kind of bread the serve there… I've never been, but he says it's delicious.)
    He's had this picture for 15+ years and has finally decided to make a big batch and give it out to coworkers and such. Interesting, I suppose.

  9. Sharon Yool says:

    A friend of mine just found out that she’s diabetic. What are some good holiday treats that I can make for her?

  10. Roberta says:

    Hey what about Peter Pan, that has been around a long time as well Roberta

  11. tamidor says:

    Hi Rosalyn,
    I was lucky enough to receive Dana's bag of goodies last year with some of her homemade marshmallows. They didn't last very long! Maybe I will be lucky enough to receive some this year as well!

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