Healthy gift ideas

Get into the spirit of Christmas with creative, healthy gifts.

Green gift
Transfer baking soda to a decorative jar or shaker jar and print off recipe cards giving instructions on how to use this helpful cleaning agent in the kitchen. Baking soda makes a great drain cleaner or scouring powder.

Healthy recipe pack
Grab an issue of Healthy Food Guide, select a recipe and mark the page, then buy key recipe ingredients to make a practical gift for a budding chef.

Homemade muesli
Homemade muesli is easy to make and gifted in a jar makes the perfect gift for campers. Or fill jars with nuts and seeds.

Jars of goodness
Divvy up a batch of homemade pasta sauce, chutney or preserves in jars, seal, then decorate to make a delicious gift.

Crafty gifts
Go to your local craft market or Christmas fête and find a gorgeous, hand-knitted tea cosy. Or make jug covers from old doilies: affix weighted beads on the edge of a doily (so they hang by a thread) to place on top of open-topped glass jugs to keep dust and bugs out.

Herb pots
Transfer wee herb plants to attractive mini terracotta pots and include attractive, labelled plant markers.

That’s entertainment
When it comes to party snacks, it can be a mission to find the right-sized dishes to serve dips such as hummus, or the tools to spread the dip. Match a decorative dish and a mini-knife with a fat blade to give to those perennial party hosts.

Recipe folder
A plastic-sleeved, bound folder is a great way to store random recipes (from magazines, newspapers, friends). Decorate the folder and start the collection by including your favourite recipe or three, to encourage your gift recipient to add their own as they go.

Make a rub
It’s barbecue season and a great way to add flavour to meat and seafood is to have a ready-mix of spices on hand. Buy bulk ingredients and create mini-jars of rub (see Christmas meat rub for a recipe idea).

The perfect practical seasonal gift – since summer is rife with flies – is a food cover. Use it on baked goods waiting to cool or simply to keep insects off while food is on the dining or picnic table.

Charity gifts
Support a local charity or nationwide campaign by buying the item that contributes to the cause, eg. a tea towel raising funds for Starship Children’s Health in Auckland.

Cool it
Flavoured ice cubes or homemade ice-blocks are perfect summer fare. Gift decorative moulds and attach your favourite recipe for an icy treat or give ideas for tasty ice-cubes: freeze a slice of strawberry, orange, lemon or lime in the cubes.

Envirosax for grocery shopping, re-usable lunch containers, a cake tin, a wine bottle carrier – ways to make food and drink portable or easy to store are always practical gift ideas.

Gluten-free goodness
Do you know someone who is gluten intolerant or who has recently been diagnosed as having coeliac disease? Our 101 gluten-free recipes collections ($12.95) are the perfect gifts for tasty food that everyone can enjoy (click here to order a copy). Make up some gluten-free baking mix to get them started.

Clever containers
There is a range of life-like containers available to store the remaining halves of tomatoes, onions and lemons. Or gift a banana carrier in the shape of, you guessed it, a banana.

Tools of the trade
Package together a garden or kitchen gift pack. Tie a trowel, gloves and fork together and add a packet of seeds to the mix. Or for a cooking pack? A bowl, wooden spoon and tea towel with either a favourite recipe or essential ingredient.

Have a cuppa
A teapot with a selection of delectable teas or a mini-cafetière with some quality coffee grounds will be welcomed by anyone with a desk job.

Reusable coffee cup
Know a coffee fiend? Gift them a recyclable, reusable and unbreakable coffee cup: no more disposable cups and carton carriers.

Mix it up
Adopt a cuisine theme and gift ingredients, tools and recipes to make useful kitchen staples or dishes from around the world:
  –  a sushi-making kit
  –  an enchilada pack
  –  ‘how to make dressing’ kit.

Gift a tomato plant, lemon or lime tree so your gift continues giving throughout the year. A great idea for companion planting – grow tomato and basil together in a hanging basket.

Sandwich cover-up
Some schools have adopted a no plastic wrap policy, so a reusable sandwich wrap is a brilliant idea.

Pizza stone and cutter
A gift for those embracing their inner Italian chef!

Homemade yoghurt
Buy a yoghurt-making kit to gift a loved one a continuous fresh supply of yoghurt.

Guy a goat…
… or cooking stove with a charity gift at Christmas to those around the world who are less fortunate. Change the world one gift at a time. Go to

Subscribe to health
Give a Healthy Food Guide one-year subscription so the recipient can start and continue the year in a healthy vein.

Barbecue gift pack
Give a selection of barbecue tools, meat rubs and marinades for a summer full of delicious meals hot off the barbie.

First published: Dec 2010

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