Give the Gift of Health

What surrounds you, but can’t be seen? Influences all your choices, but can’t be cornered? Is modifiable by you, but only with conscious effort? Culture.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices.” Our family, friend groups, work organizations, churches, and neighborhoods all have micro-cultures that influence our choices, and we each contribute to that culture with our choices.

How would you describe attitudes about health and healthful practices in the cultures you’re a part of? Does your association with these cultures inspire you to eat more nourishing foods, be more physically active, and practice principles of good mental health?

The holidays are a wonderful time to contribute to a culture of health with the gifts you choose to give those you love and appreciate. Here are some health-enhancing ideas to consider gifting during the season of giving and tradition-making:

  • Kitchen appliances:
    • Blender or food processor. A great choice to make healthy soups, smoothies, and sauces easier.
    • Wheat grinder: To make eating whole grains more convenient.
    • Placemats, napkins, china. Place settings help people eat more mindfully and be more present at meal time. People pay more attention, make more nutritious choices, eat more slowly, and engage more socially with others present–all of which enhance our wellbeing.
    • Instapot or crockpot: Help others simplify the cooking process with these useful hands-off cooking appliances.
  • Food baskets with whole fresh foods like fruit (fresh, dried, home canned), raw or toasted nuts, popcorn or kits for homemade popcorn, homemade or store bought whole-grain pancake, muffin, and bread mixes.
  • A subscription to healthy food services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, which deliver all the ingredients and recipes for healthy meals at home, or Dream Dinners in Orem, where you can make meals for the month ahead of time, or a subscription to a food specialty box for items like spices or more rare food items.
  • Healthy apps—A variety of applications are available to help count calories and keep track of physical activity (MyFitnessPal), eat more mindfully, journal and express gratitude, take a meditation break to de-stress, find healthy recipes, and create shopping lists.
  • Race entry fees for yourself, your family or a friend. This would make a great holiday tradition to do with those you love. There are several to choose from this year:
    • Turkey Trot Triathlon & 5k. Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8:30 am at the Orem Fitness Center. (
    • Pilgrim 5k. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 am at Ashton Garden’s Visitors Center Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT. (
    • Thankful 13 (Half, 5K and Kid’s Run). Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 am at Lehi, UT MATC. (
    • Utah Santa Run 5K. December 3 at the Riverwoods in Provo, UT. (
  • A race day gift box filled with sports drinks, high carbohydrate snacks for mid-race refueling, iTunes gift card, good headphones, water bottle carriers for racers, new athletic clothing or shoes.
  • Music credit to fuel a run and smart phone or mp3 player accessories.
  • Athletic clothing or gift certificate to sporting store.
  • Gym pass or fitness class pass or dance class for adults.
  • Home gym equipment like a yoga mat, free weights, resistance bands, pull up bar, or kettlebells.
  • Spa equipment or gift card for a spa day.
  • Self-Help Books:
    • Intuitive Eating By Evelyn Tribole MS, RD & Elyse Resch MS, RD, FADA
    • The Plant Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer RD
    • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
    • America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School by America’s Test Kitchen
  • A magazine subscription like Cooking Light.
  • Cookbooks
    • The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina
    • America’s Test Kitchen, and all their varied editions
    • Simple Green Smoothies: 100+ Recipes by by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner
  • Give to charity on their behalf. Great health related organizations include:


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Written by Erica Hansen MS, RD, CD

Erica Hansen is a registered dietitian who owns the nutrition consulting company, Foods That Fit. She specializes in working with individuals and organizations to make their health and lifestyle goals fit into real life. She believes that getting back to the basics—preparing good, wholesome foods at home—is the first step to improving health.