Healthy Holiday Gift Guide
Are you making your list and checking it twice? If your holiday shopping list includes family or friends who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, enjoy exercise and fitness or love the latest high-tech gadget, there are a lot of clever, health-oriented gift ideas for you to consider. And if you fall into one of those categories yourself, maybe you can use this gift guide to drop some hints to your family and friends! Here are some of our favorite gift ideas for those who are interested in focusing on health, wellness and fitness.
For people who enjoy cooking, a new kitchen gadget or tool is often the perfect gift. Many food-oriented gifts can also serve a healthy purpose.
Blenders: Blenders are hardly a new item, but there are now a greater variety of sizes and price points on the market than ever before. For someone who may be interested in blending healthy smoothies or shakes to start their day or for a post-workout meal, consider a small blender/smoothie-maker that yields an individual-size smoothie in no time at all.
“Not only is making a smoothie or shake at home much cheaper than buying one on your way to work, you can also ensure that your smoothie isn’t loaded with sugar or fat,” explains Dr. Scott Ewing, a cardiologist.
Think about what types of produce you’ll be blending and buy one that is up to job. For example, if someone likes a smoothie made from hard produce, such as apples or carrots, make sure the blender is rated well for pureeing that type of food.
Kitchen scales: for an inexpensive, yet useful gift, consider a kitchen scale. Not only is this helpful to the cook who has to figure out how much of an ingredient to put in a recipe, it’s especially beneficial for those interested in cutting back how much food they are preparing and eating. If someone is trying to get their meat portions down to the recommended four ounces per serving, a kitchen scale is a foolproof way of getting there.
Air Fryers: Deep-fried food may taste good, but it can be rough on your waistline and cholesterol levels. Air fryers are designed to create crunchy food as though it has been fried, but they don’t use the frying oil that can be so unhealthy. In fact, air fryers don’t really fry food at all. They circulate heat around the food, similar to a convection oven. This helps to crisp the food without frying it.
Healthy Cookbooks: “A cook never minds getting a new cookbook,” says Dr. Timothy Jones, an obstetrician and gynecologist. “There are plenty of cookbooks for sale that emphasize healthier eating and have creative recipes that taste good and are good for you.”
Fitness Trackers & Smart Watches
Smart watches and activity trackers have become all the rage over the last few years. These smart devices can do a lot – they keep track of the steps you’ve walked, how fast you have run, how many flights of stairs you climbed, your heart rate and how much sleep you’re getting.
“We should all get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, 5-7 days per week,” says Dr. Katherine Kane, a vascular surgeon. “Many activity trackers and smart watches will keep track of your steps and other movements, so you can see if you are meeting that 30-minute goal.”
If you’re thinking of buying a fitness tracker for someone on your shopping list, consider what they will use it for. If it’s someone who has a moderate exercise routine, a device that tracks steps will probably be sufficient.
But some trackers and smart watches will do much more. If you are shopping for an avid runner, swimmer or triathlete, consider a training tracker that does it all. Many include a GPS function, enabling the user to can easily track the route and distance walked, run or biked.
Some trackers contain a gyroscope that can tell if you’re sitting or standing – with periodic reminders to stand or move about. They can also determine if you are running, swimming or on a bike.
Others will also monitor your heart rate, so you can track it throughout the day and know if you’re hitting your target heart rate during workouts. Even others can track your perspiration and breathing.
“Virtually all fitness trackers and smart watches will sync data with an app on your smartphone, which makes it easy to check how many steps you have taken or what your heart rate got up to on the last run,” says Dr. Ronald Blair, a pediatrician. “These apps can also sync with smart bathroom scales, so that your body weight is automatically transmitted into the app. However, our professional medical advice is that you don’t buy anyone a bathroom scale as a gift!”
Other Fitness Gifts
There are plenty of other good gift ideas for the fitness-oriented person on your list, at a variety of price points.
“If you have someone who goes to the gym or runs regularly, you can never go wrong with new exercise shorts, running shoes or other workout attire,” says Dr. Caren Reaves, an obstetrician and gynecologist. “I know I always appreciate getting new gear for my workout routine.”
For those who like to listen to music while they exercise, consider upgrading their headphones. Many people enjoy having wireless headphones or ear buds that connect with their phone via Bluetooth – this frees them from having a wire extending to their phone and makes movement during exercise easier.
And if they need some new material to listen to while running or hitting the weights, you could always buy them a subscription to a digital music service or some audio books.
For those who travel frequently, you might buy them some low-tech exercise equipment they can take on the road. “Resistance bands make a great gift for someone who travels a lot – they’re compact, lightweight and easily fit into a suitcase,” says Dr. Emil Tajzoy, an obstetrician and gynecologist. “Resistance bands help facilitate an easy strength training workout in a hotel room. Jump ropes and yoga mats are also good gifts for the road warrior.”
Expand Their Fitness Horizons
A good fitness-oriented gift doesn’t necessarily have to come in a box. If you have someone on your list who is looking for a new exercise routine or workout challenge, consider buying them a membership for a Pilates studio, a dance studio or a gym. If you’re not sure they’ll stick with it, look for short-term or trial membership options.
Finding a new activity does not have to involve a pricey membership, however. Community colleges, including Tarrant County College and the Dallas County Community College District, offer inexpensive, non-credit fitness classes, available to any resident of the county. These include cycling, kickboxing, yoga, swimming and a variety of sports. If you have someone on your list who is interested in a new challenge, one of these classes may be the perfect gift for them or for both of you to take together.
And for someone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, consider a Texas State Parks Pass, available for $70 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This pass grants entry for one year to the pass holder and anyone else in their vehicle to any one of Texas’ 90 state parks, including several convenient North Texas locations. The Parks Pass provides limitless opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activity.
Don’t Forget the Stocking Stuffers!
“If your family’s tradition includes stuffing stockings, cut back on the candy canes this year and throw in some useful items such as hand sanitizer, a personal first aid kit and sunscreen,” suggests Dr. Isha Mannering, a pediatrician.
Good luck with your shopping and gift-giving!
From all of us at Privia Medical Group North Texas, have a safe and happy holiday season!
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