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Healthy Gifts to Give

Though a box of chocolates or batch of cookies might be welcome presents for many a giftee, I prefer to offer my loved ones a respite from sugary treats. All of the following ideas are food-focused, yet healthy. What good-for-you gift ideas are you planning on this year?

Quick and Easy Store-Bought Gifts
Special oils and vinegars: Everyone has olive oil and balsamic in their pantries, but less often do people splurge on avocado oil or walnut oil — or Champagne vinegar. These can make a flavorful addition to salads and other dishes.

A lemon press and zester: Does your giftee love lemons? A microplane zester is a must-have in any kitchen, and metal lemon presses make juicing lemons easy.

Tea lover’s kit: Fill a basket with a selection of loose teas, plus a tea infuser, teapot and cups.

Coffee lover’s kit: Coffee fiends will appreciate coffee accoutrements. Update your friends’ French press or give them a Chemex along with a pound of their favorite beans. For a bigger splurge, consider getting them a Burr grinder or an espresso machine.

Wooden salad bowl and salad tongs: When you have a nice salad bowl, it makes it that much more appealing to add it to the dinner table.

Knives: Good knives are expensive and can make an awesome gift for the home cook.

Dutch oven: You can braise, stew and bake in these versatile pots. Enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch ovens also come in beautiful colors, so they’re great for gifting.

Healthy Gifts from Your Kitchen
Holiday Mulling Spices:
Hot mulled cider is lovely in the winter, and this mix is just what you need to make it.

Homemade Pancake Mix: This recipe makes four batches of pancakes. You can divide it into 1-cup Mason jars and attach a label with the extra directions. Although I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe, I have successfully subbed whole-wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour in lots of recipes; for a healthier pancake, I’d try swapping half or all of the flour for whole-wheat pastry flour in this recipe.

Preserved Lemons: These add a complex flavor to Moroccan dishes. Add some suggestions in a little card.

Spiced Almonds: Almonds are a healthy snack, and the addition of a touch of brown sugar and spices makes these an amazing treat.

Homemade jam: Impress your friends with these Stovetop Preserves. Rosemary gives an elegant touch to strawberry preserves, and it takes only 30 minutes to make a batch! Package in pretty jam jars. If you want to step it up, gift jam with a loaf of homemade bread.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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