Give health on Christmas day

By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD

CHRISTMAS is the season of giving. We give and receive all sorts of presents— from toys, gadgets, and apparel to yummy calorie-laden goodies. More than the Christmas presents, it is the thought behind the gift giving that bears more importance.

Here are some creatively healthy gift ideas for those who are looking for fresh ideas on what to give loved ones for Christmas, festive hamper style.

Merry Fresh Basket

Combine seasonal and non-seasonal fresh produce. Choose a variety of colors for fruits and vegetables for a more festive look. Throw in a few deep red apples and some green ones, too! Red, green, and yellow juicy bell peppers, dark green broccoli, plump squash, carrots, purple eggplants, your choices are way too many to make one big basket of fresh fruits and vegetables. A cookbook full of vegetarian dishes would likewise make a nice addition to your hamper.

Holiday Tea Set

You can choose between black, green, white, fruit, and oolong tea or you can give more than one variant. It would be even classier if your present includes both loose leaf and tea bags. To complete your tea set, add a jar of pure honey and some fresh lemons. If you are feeling a bit more generous, your holiday tea set can come with dainty teacups, saucers, and even a teapot!

Herb and Spice Collection

Create a basic collection of herbs and spices that includes the usual flavors added to everyday cooking: garlic, onion, black pepper, and ginger powders. To add some spice, include chili or cayenne pepper to your collection. If you wish to broaden your options, add savory flavors with curry powder, turmeric, and nutmeg. Let us not forget common herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, which act as taste lifters that decrease the need to rely on salt and sugar to enrich taste. A set of measuring spoons will give a bit of flair to your present, too.

Chili Cocoa Kit

Hot chocolate is always a good idea, especially on Christmas Eve. Give this comfort drink a kick with a hint of spiciness by adding cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt to bring out that chocolatey flavor. The kit must also include unsweetened cocoa and low-fat or skim milk. To make it easier for the recipient of the gift, print a copy of my dad’s Spicy Cocoa recipe to go with the kit.

The recipe goes like this:

1 cup water
1/8 cup non fat milk
1 tablet chocolate (my dad prefers Antonio Pueo Rollos Chocolate)
2 tablespoons Hershey’s or Ricoa unsweetened cocoa powde
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt
First, boil water in saucepan then dissolve chocolate tablet. Remove from heat, add unsweetened cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and mix well. Serve hot. This recipe makes two to three servings of 55 Calories each.

Whole Grain Goodness

Instead of the usual sugary carbs like chocolates and pastries, which we love to give over the holidays, put together complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber and nutrients. Choose from brown, red, or black rice, which comes in small packaging that will surely fit your baskets. Add some oats, corn kernels, quinoa, whole meal pasta, and the like. Decorate your hamper with some wooden utensils or whatever you feel like adding.

These are just a few ideas. Why don’t you challenge yourself to be more creatively healthy in giving out presents this year? Just always remember that your presents must not only promote healthy eating but should also suit the recipient’s preference and lifestyle to be well appreciated.