The holidays are a beautiful time of giving and sharing in the season, but sometimes the pressure of coming up with that perfect gift can leave us more stressed than joyful. Now more than ever we are relishing any opportunity for social gathering and, since food plays such an important role in our lives, it's no wonder why food and beverage related gifts are among the most popular items to give.
As a Dietitian, I am all about gifts that get us cooking and eating together! Cooking is such an important part of a healthy diet because knowing how to prepare whole food makes us less reliant on processed foods. It also provides us an opportunity to be creative through experimentation with new techniques, skills and flavors, which can improve mental health and support stress management.
With all the tech and gadgets of today, there's no shortage of amazing tools for preparing delicious (and healthy) food. If you're stumped on what to gift that foodie, budding chef or health conscious loved one, here's a few gift ideas to consider:
Spiralizer: This budget savvy handy tool turns produce into noodles in a snap. Great as a stocking stuffer, they'll be spinning salads and veggie "pastas" in no time!
Air fryer: Perfect for the fried food junkie who's trying to get back on track with healthy eating. Best for making things like french fries or fried chicken, replicating the texture and flavor while cutting 70-80% of the calories from frying oil. Pro tip: they come in all sizes and prices, depending on the features, but make sure to find a model that is BPA free!
Custom cutting board: What better gift for the host of your next holiday party than a beautiful handcrafted wooden cheese board? Cutting boards can be made in all colors, shapes and sizes and personalized with pictures, initials, recipes, etc... consider wood for cheese, bread and produce (plastic or glass is preferable for meat and fish, as it's easier to clean). Check out a local holiday craft fair or online Etsy shop for artisans who craft custom goods.
Slow cooker: For the busy professional or stressed parent in your life looking for a way to make healthier meals in less time. Chop, season, set it and forget it! Also great for hosting to keep dips, soups and appetizers hot. Consider a programmable model or one with a lid that latches for easy transport to gatherings.
Cooking classes: If you're big on 'experiences over stuff' gifts, a gift certificate for a cooking class is a great activity for kids and adults alike. Support a local business like Taste Buds Kitchen with a variety of classes, camps and workshops for all ages. They'll get a meal, gain a memory and learn a new skill - three gifts in one!
Meal kit delivery service: Subscription services are great gifts, especially for those people who seemingly have it all. Buy them some time and convenience with a service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron which delivers a complete meal kit to right to your door. They can choose their own menu, frequency and portions for household size. It's the DIY version of cooking class - no grocery shopping required!
Whether you're going all out or keeping it simple this holiday season, a gift centered around wellness is always in style. And among all the hustle and bustle don't forget to slow down and take some time for yourself. Bake some holiday cookies, do a fun new workout or just snuggle up on the couch with a good book or show. Because there are few gifts greater than health!