It takes a little finesse to give a healthy holiday gift that is genuinely well-received. You could send the wrong message with something like a digital scale or a gym membership which are easily misconstrued as some kind of hint. And, let’s face it, the default standard fruit basket is just plain boring.
The right healthy gift is creative, thoughtful and offers a sense of indulgent celebration while being a welcomed respite from the avalanche of sausage, cheese and cookies we are inundated with this time of year. These edible holiday collections do just that. Whether you wrap them up in a box or arrange them in a gift basket, each is a cornucopia of goodies that bring both tasty pleasure and good health to the table.
Taste of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean food is renowned for its delicious and healthy attributes. This basket pulls together some of the most delectable specialties from the region.
Extra-virgin olive oil: Choose one that is cold-pressed and unfiltered for maximum wow factor and health benefits.
Aged balsamic vinegar: The more aged and, generally, the more expensive it is the more complex flavor it will have, but even an inexpensive one will work.
Farro: This whole ancient grain that hails from Italy is on trend and absolutely delightful as a pilaf, in a salad or served topped with pasta sauce.
Sun-dried tomatoes: Either packed in oil or dry, these tasty morsels add big flavor to salads, sauces and grain dishes.
Dried Porcini mushrooms: The hearty, nutty flavor of these mushrooms bring an unmistakable Mediterranean flair to soups, grain dishes and stews.
The Spice of Life
Herbs and spices do more than add incredible flavor and color to dishes, they have bona fide health benefits thanks to their rich antioxidant content. Experimenting with a variety of tastes from around the world helps keep eating well fun and interesting.
Zaatar: This Middle Eastern spice mix of sesame seeds, sumac, and herbs is traditionally sprinkled on bread but it is also delicious on eggs or stirred into yogurt as a dip.
Spanish Smoked Paprika: The distinctive flavor and smoky aroma of this spice transforms simple roasted potatoes, poultry or egg dishes.
Herbs d’ Provence: For a taste of France, whisk this herb mix into dressings, rub into chicken or fish or simmer in stews.
Thai Curry Paste: This complex mix of spices instantly imparts Thai flavor to food. A little goes a long way to season stir fries or vegetable sautés, or as the flavor base for noodle dish or curry sauce.
Besides being a healing, antioxidant-rich beverage, taking some time out to have a cup of tea is a healthy respite from the hectic pace of the holiday season.
Tea pot or infuser: Include a fun tea pot and/or a tea infuser that reflects your giftee’s style.
Whole leaf tea: Intact tea leaves are the highest quality, provide maximum taste and luxury. Choose a couple of varieties, perhaps one with seasonal flavors added, such as cinnamon spice.
Local raw honey: Locally sourced honey makes the gift more personal, and it is less processed —so retains more health properties—than a typical mass market brand.
For The Sweet
This collection indulges a sweet tooth with flavor, flair and more nutrition than the usual sugary fare.
Pure maple syrup: There is nothing like the taste of the real thing—and the darker the syrup the more flavor, minerals and antioxidants it has.
Fruit preserves: A spread of quality fruit preserves on a piece of whole grain bread can make someone’s morning, or be just the satisfying sweet they need as an evening snack.
Honey Comb: This unique sweet treat is the actual structure of the bee hive with the honey still in it and it is wonderful spread on cheese or fruit. The wax honeycomb itself contains healthy fats and the honey inside is in its purest forms.
Medjool Dates: These premium dates are big and plump and make for sweetly satisfying dessert
Dark chocolate: The higher percentage cocoa solids a chocolate has the more healthy polyphenols, but also the more bitter it tastes. For the ideal combination of health and taste, choose a bar that is about 70% cocoa solids.