Holiday Gift Ideas

Disclosure: some of the links below contain affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Gift Ideas

Need ideas for holiday gifts? I’ve got you! Rather than splitting up my list into the typical his/hers (is anyone else tired of the suggestion of whiskey stones for men?), I divided up gifts into four categories: Eat, Move, Play, and Chill. Each category has both DIY and purchase options at multiple price points. $ denotes under $25, $$ denotes $25-50 and $$$ denotes gifts over $50. Enjoy!

Eat

Make Candy ($) – Chocolate bark is my go-to sweet to gift for the holidays because it is so easy to customize. Add nuts, coconut flakes, seeds, candied ginger, candied citrus, dried fruit, sea salt, or even rose petals to suit your tastes.

Make Granola, Spiced Nuts, or Flavored Popcorn ($) – Granola is an easy to make in batches, making it a great gift for co-workers or neighbors who stop by. Spiced nuts are simple and can be made with ingredients you likely already have at home. Flavored popcorn is a wonderful snack to have at holiday gatherings and you can bag small batches as party favors.

Give the Gift of Dinner ($-$$) – This is a great gift for anyone that is super busy. Offer to come over to cook their favorite dinner (and do the dishes). Nothing beats a home-cooked meal!

Cookbook – There is a cookbook for almost every food imaginable, making it easy to find the perfect gift. Take advantage this holiday season and customize it to your loved one’s favorite food by including ingredients for a recipe you think they will love. Some of my favorites to give are Plenty ($), The Flavor Bible ($), and Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker ($).

Lunch Box – Remember that feeling of getting a new lunch box at the start of the school year? Re-capture that feeling for both kids and adults. I love Baloray’s sleek designs ($) and this rose gold tiffin ($$) for adults. PlanetBox makes fantastic stainless steel bento boxes for kids that have fun magnets to decorate and customize them ($$-$$$).

Instant Pot ($$$)– If you have seen my posts on Facebook, you know how much I love this appliance. I use it at least once a week to make rice, stews, steamed vegetables, roasts, and even meatballs. It comes in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart options. I prefer the 6-quart because I can fit a whole chicken into it, but the 3- or 8-quart may be better suited to your needs.

CSA Share ($$-$$$) – A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, share is a great way to give the gift of locally grown food all year round. Use Local Harvest to find a farm that delivers in your loved one’s neighborhood.

Olive Oil ($-$$$) – Bottles of olive oil have replaced bottles of wine as my go-to hostess gift. Many price points are available, and flavorful olive oil is even available at the grocery store, California Olive Ranch being my favorite. For a unique gift, Nudo Adopt has a program that allows you to adopt a tree in Italy and receive tins of olive oil from your grove throughout the year. You can even visit your tree, which would make a fantastic gift indeed!

Move

Make a yoga mat cleaner ($) – Your favorite yogi will appreciate the thoughtfulness of this gift!

Gym Bag – I am forever on the lookout for the perfect gym bag, and I think I found it. Kenox ($$) has a medium-sized bag that includes a separate compartment for shoes. Perfect for keeping the rest of your gear clean.

Gift certificate to your local running store ($-$$$) – Find a running store that does custom fittings for shoes. Getting a proper fit is a great investment; it helps prevent injuries and lengthens the lifetime of your shoes. Local running stores are great ways to connect to the running community and can connect your runner with running groups and races.

Reserve a Campground ($-$$) – You can get the best campground in the park by reserving in advance. Make plans for warmer months or find a great spot for winter camping.

Play

Board Games – This is a fun gift to give at family gatherings. Everyone will gather around to play after all the presents are opened. My favorites are classics like Uno and Yahtzee along with quirky games like Exploding Kittens ($) and Squarrels ($).

Go to a Trampoline Gym ($$) – Trampoline gyms have been popping up all over the country, and they are a blast. Many have programs for toddlers through adults, making this a great gift for the whole family.

Tickets to a Concert or Show ($-$$$) – Find tickets for their favorite artist or play and give an experience they will always remember.

Sign Up for a Class – Search your local community center for classes they may enjoy. Photography, yoga, martial arts, and dance classes are popular. If you can’t find classes nearby, try looking online. Teachable has a variety of options.

Chill

Make a Sleepytime Tea Blend ($) – Gift a jar of this tea blend with a mug and bottle of raw honey for a lovely nighttime ritual. Combine 2 tablespoons lemon balm, 1 tablespoon chamomile, 1 tablespoon nettle leaf, 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, and ½ teaspoon dried lavender and store in an airtight container. To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of tea blend. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, strain, and enjoy.

Make a Lavender Bed Spray ($) – I spray this on my pillow every night, and the lavender scent helps me fall asleep in such a peaceful way. To make, combine 10 drops of lavender oil and 2 tablespoons of witch hazel. Shake to combine, then add 6 tablespoons of water. Funnel into a 4 ounce spray bottle.

Pajamas – Soft pajamas are one of my favorite things, and they make a great gift as many do not buy luxurious pajamas for themselves. ALAS ($$-$$$) and Sorella Organics ($$$) are two sustainable brands that make unbelievably soft pajamas from organic cotton.

Gift Certificate to a Spa or Salon ($-$$$) – This is a timeless gift for a reason. Facials and massages are lovely! Customize this to the recipient by finding out if they have a favorite spa, hairdresser, barber, or nail salon.

For even more ideas check out my Amazon wishlist. What is on your wish list this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

Health at Every Size (HAES) Webinar

Curious about the Health at Every Size approach? I'm hosting a webinar on Wednesday Jun 14 at 7pm EST to explain what this paradigm means, how it is different than the typical health advice, and research that supports a HAES approach. Can't make it on June 14? The webinar will be recorded and sent to everyone who registers. Sign up here!

HAESwebinar
HAES® supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being rather than weight control
— Association for Size Diversity and Health

April Roundup

Miss any posts on social media from last month? I've consolidated them all here! Lots of focus on seasonal veggies, like asparagus, ramps, and fiddleheads, along with articles and videos on foot and ankle mobility for Foot Health Awareness Month

Things I Wrote

How Important is Hydration to Your Health? I wrote this article for Zhou Nutrition focusing on one of the basics of nutrition: hydration. Right now, you may feel inundated with articles supporting the latest diet trend or fad food. While we are always learning new things in this field, it is so important to not leave the basics behind. 

Recipes

One Pot Meals

Paleo Moroccan Chicken Stew This stew makes great leftovers that you can take for lunch the next day

Spring Tuscan Quinoa Bake (vegetarian-friendly) Easy, colorful, and flavorful, this dish is a crowdpleaser

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus Simple, bright, and full of flavor

Vegan and Vegetarian

Vegan Parmesan Farro Risotto with Garlicky Greens Farro is a lot more forgiving than traditional Arborio rice, making this dish an easy weeknight option

Shaved Asparagus Frittata (contains dairy and eggs) Easy enough for a weeknight meal, fancy enough for company

Spring Celebration Salad (contains dairy) The butter vinaigrette is a game-changer; I've added it to veggies and salad at least once a week

Spring Onion Soup (contains dairy) My favorite soup I tried this month

Fiddlehead Frittata (contains dairy and eggs) Can't find fiddleheads? Swap asparagus or green beans

Tahini Chocolate Banana Soft Serve Tahini is a great substitute for nut butters if you are allergic to nuts

Holiday

Matzo Ball Soup Simple and comforting, I like to make this soup on rainy spring days. 

Roasted Potato, Sunchoke, and Asparagus Salad with Ramps Easter brunch is one of the meals that signifies spring to me, and I love including seasonal veggies only found this time of year, like ramps. 

Yoga and Workout Videos

Stabilizing Foot and Ankle Exercises These exercises take up limited space so you can do them anywhere. Try while you're cooking or brushing your teeth

How to Fix Foot Pain and Improve Ankle Mobility I can't recommend this video enough, especially to runners and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet (nurses, waiters, construction workers, I'm looking at you!)

Yoga for Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis This video is also a great post-run cool-down

Articles

21 Low-impact Workouts that are More Effective Than You Think All my favorites made the list. How about yours?

Three Foot Stretches to Help You Walk Without Pain You should be able to walk without pain. Try these stretches and see a healthcare professional if pain continues

Six Stretches to Relieve Your Morning Foot Pain I include several of these in my yoga classes. Most you can do while watching tv

Candy-free Easter Basket Ideas Helpful ideas for Easter or any gift-giving holiday

Feet are our Foundation: Five ways to strengthen them The earlier videos and articles stretched your feet. This one focuses on strengthening them

Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy: What's safe and what's not Herbs can be incredibly powerful but need to be used appropriately. Send this one to a mom- or dad-to-be!

What did you cook and read last month? Let me know in the comments!

Banana Chia Pudding

Looking for a sweet treat? This banana chia pudding will hit the spot! Chia seeds pack a boost of energy, along with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. I am always looking for ways to include them in my diet because they are so nutritious and versatile. When added to water, they create a gel, making for a velvety pudding texture when added to coconut or almond milk. I like to eat this pudding as a light snack before a workout. It also works well as a light breakfast or after dinner treat.

What's your favorite way to use chia seeds?

Late-Summer Quinoa Salad

I love salads this time of year. Not the wimpy all lettuce salads with one sad tomato. Hearty salads with all the toppings! This salad is great as a side but is satisfying enough to be a meal on its own. Enjoy!

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Makes 2 meal-sized servings or 4 side servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz cab chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions: 

  1. Place the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, juice the lemon into a large bowl. Add olive oil and whisk together to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Chop the cucumber into 1/4 inch thick slices, then chop the slices into quarters. 
  4. Allow the quinoa to cool. Then add to the large bowl, along with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Toss to cover thoroughly in dressing. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Change it up!

  • Add grilled chicken breast, ground turkey, or grilled sirloin to beef it up
  • Swap the quinoa for leftover rice or minced cauliflower
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons minced cilantro or basil to the dressing
  • Add 1 minced clove of garlic to the dressing
  • Add a thinly sliced red onion for a spicy crunch
  • Add ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese. Yum!

Taking Care of Myself: Why I am suspending 21DSD coaching

In January, I went back to grad school after nearly 8 months off. Almost two months later, my plate is full. I love what I am learning, and I have made so many wonderful connections and reconnections with my classmates and professors. I do feel that if I add anything else into my life right now, my plate will go from wonderfully full to alarmingly overflowing. So I am suspending 21-Day Sugar Detox coaching for the time being. I will be doing (just not coaching) the 21DSD starting on 2/25, and I invite you to join me over on this Facebook group.

Looking to the future

Over the last year of coaching, I have become more intrigued by the post-21DSD process. What lessons do we learn from nutritional resets, like the 21-Day Sugar Detox? How do we implement those lessons back into our everyday lives? After all, most of life consists outside of the boundaries of a three-week challenge. As a practitioner, I feel it is important to address mindful eating in all aspects of life, not just during a nutritional reset. Going forward, I will be expanding my offerings accordingly. Currently, I offer corporate nutrition presentations and private grocery store tours in the Chicago-area. In the near future, I will be offering private nutrition coaching. Later this year, I will once again offer group coaching in an expanded format that will encompass mindful eating in all aspects of life.

Are you interested in another nutritional service that is not listed here? Please contact me. I am here to serve you!