Dietitians share their Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

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We are officially in the Christmas and holiday season! If you are in the middle of a diet and lifestyle renovation, the holiday season can throw in new (and unanticipated) challenges to your lifestyle.  If you are looking for gift ideas that inspire health and wellness, I have you covered! I asked dietitians from across the country (and my brilliant graphic designer) about their healthy holiday gift ideas. This is what I heard:


Gifts from the Kitchen

The Joy of Home Cooking: Here are a couple of healthy gifts I like to give to share the joy of home cooking:

  • A recipe along with the ingredients to make it. If it’s a baked good recipe, I package it all in a new baking pan. If it’s a soup, include a new soup ladle, new sharp paring knife, cutting board or garlic press, etc.
  • A collection of teas or nifty new nut and seed products.
  • A reusable pretty tin or serving bowl filled with holiday home-baking.
  • A salad bowl and salad servers along with nifty garnishes for salads like nut-seed mixes, a specialty salad dressing, fancy oil, fancy vinegar and ‘fancy’ bacon bits. People love new salad recipes. Inserting a little deck of 5 or so of your favourite salad recipes is a nice touch too.

~ Patricia Chuey, MSc, RD, FDC, foodie dietitian, Follow Patricia on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @PatriciaChuey

Gifts you can eat: My favourite Christmas gifts are edible. People don’t need more “stuff” but always need to eat! My fave gifts are Epicure spices or a Spicy Almonds recipe I make at home. I pack the nuts into Christmas-themed ziploc containers and give to friends & teachers. They’re always a hit!

~ Jennifer House MSc, RD First Step Nutrition

For the person who has everything: The gift of Experiences

Alberta Farm Tour: I prefer to give experiences, so I’d suggest the Sunday Brunch and Calgary Farmers’ Market Tour from Alberta Food Tours ($45 pp). You get to learn about food grown and produced in our backyard, enjoy delicious tastings, and, if you’re lucky, meet some of Calgary‘s local food “celebrities.” At the moment, they are offering a special, with 15% off using the code: CHRISTMAS2017 on any of their tours.

~ Cheryl Strachan, RD, MBA, Registered Dietitian, Sweet Spot Nutrition

Photocredit: Cheryl Strachan, Sweet Spot Nutrition. Used with Permission.


Gift cards/certificates: For the person who truly has everything, I like to give gift cards or gift certificates for healthy places like a grocery store they may not typically shop at, a favourite restaurant, a tour of a local fruit farm, or an activity like bowling or skating.

~ Patricia Chuey, MSc, RD, FDC, foodie dietitian  Follow Patricia on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @PatriciaChuey


Superstore’s online Click and Collect. Even as a professional couple with no children, this service has been a time-saving godsend! We add to our online order all week long as items are needed and then take mere minutes to drive, pay, and unpack. Our local store is wonderful at choosing only the freshest fruits and veggies for our cart. The online browsing has made it easy for us to try new foods and brands. Heck, we even experimented with all vegan choices for a couple of weeks! I’d happily give or receive Superstore gift cards this season!

~ Nikki Takahashi, Digital Media Designer, Fetching Finn Inc.,

Fitness passes: Last year, I bought my husband a 3-month pass for some local group fitness classes. He loved the change in routine and the chance to try something new. This past year, I tried a few dance-inspired fitness classes, including a Bollywood class! We wore jingle skirts while learning Bali-inspired hip hop moves to Bali-inspired music. I left the class feeling uplifted after having had so much fun (with a side-effect of some joy-filled physical movement!).

~ Kristyn Hall, Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist, Energize Nutrition,

Family passes: Rather than purchasing individual gifts for each member of the family, consider buying a pass for a family experience. Some of our family favorites? Injanation, Flying Squirrel, Winsport and Southland Leisure Center.

~ Kristyn Hall, Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist, Energize Nutrition,


Kitchen gadgets and goodies

Perhaps it goes with our loved work, but who doesn’t love to receive a new and functional kitchen gadget? Here are some ideas for the food lover in your life.

Lemon Squeezer: I received a lemon squeezer/press last year for Christmas and I didn’t know how great it would be until I started using it! I thought I already did fine squeezing lemons and limes by hand. This tool allows me to get double the amount of juice that I used to by squeezing them. It is a great tool for making quick salad dressings, flavoured water and refreshing mocktails and cocktails on summer nights! It’s also a bonus that the kids love to use it so it helps get them involved in the kitchen.

~ Melissa Conniff, RD, MBA, Calgary Family Nutrition,

Programmable pressure cooker: This past year, I have enjoyed my programmable pressure cooker. It is a highly functional kitchen gadget that saves time and reduces mess by having everything cook in one pot…pulled pork, vegetarian chili, soup, stew, rice and whole grains, and more. A slow-cooked taste and texture is achieved by the simple press of a button. Simply toss everything in the cooking pot, lock the lid, select the appropriate button and briefly wait while your ingredients are transformed into a delicious meal. If you are buying for someone who is short on time, this is a great gift idea!

~ Kristyn Hall, MSc, RD, Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist, Energize Nutrition, 

Meal kits: Everyone and their dog bought themselves an Instant Pot (programmable pressure cooker) during the Black Friday sales. Help them put it to good use by giving them some “meal kits”.  I’m loving these ones from Little Blue Plates and I’m sure similar mason jar mixes can be easily converted for the Instant Pot. It’s a perfect way to share some warmth and comfort with your loved ones.

~ Vincci Tsui, RD & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor (@VincciRD on FB/Twitter/IG)


SodaStream: As an entrepreneur working from home, the SodaStream has to be my gadget of choice. A self-proclaimed diet soda and coffee addict, the SodaStream is a fun alternative that (I hope) is a little healthier. They aren’t making money from me off of the bottled, artificial flavour add-ons, though. A squeeze of fresh lemon in the “fancied-up” tap water is all I need for little mid-day zing!

~ Nikki Takahashi, Digital Media Designer, Fetching Finn Inc.,


Salad Sac: I would love to receive a Salad Sac to keep my greens crispy fresh a little longer, or  reusable produce bags. Every little bit helps to save the environment.

~ Jennifer Black, RD, Cancer Care Dietitian


Aluminum sheet pans: I don’t really have a ‘healthy holiday gift idea’ that would maybe be typical of a dietitian (surprise, surprise) – in my mind holidays like Christmas are my 20%.  I try to eat as well as I can the rest of the year so I can enjoy the culinary delights of the season (in moderation of course!).  My healthy holiday gift ideas are cooking and food related.  This year I am giving small aluminum sheet pans that are great for so many tasks around the kitchen (toasting nuts, roasting or heating small portions etc.).

~ April Matsuno, M.Sc., RD, Wellness Kitchen Consultant, South Health Campus

Diffuser: This would be a splurge but I honestly have my diffuser going all the time in my kitchen and bedroom. My current favourite is lemongrass.

~ Jennifer Black, RD, Cancer Care Dietitian


Mortar and pestle & a rasp: My favourite pieces of kitchen equipment besides my 10” chef’s knife are my granite mortar and pestle and my rasp from Lee Valley.  The mortar and pestle are heavy and deep so your spices don’t jump out all over the counter.  It’s great for making guacamole too!  The rasp is great for parmesan cheese and citrus zest.

~ April Matsuno, M.Sc., RD, Wellness Kitchen Consultant, South Health Campus

Gift of new ideas

Some people love to receive non-fiction books – I am one of those people. This past year, I have read quite a few non-fiction, health-related books. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This book explores the power of our habits and offers a new perspective on how to discover and modify your habits.
  • The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff. What I loved about this book is that it gave readers some new questions and thoughts to consider when making lifestyle changes for weight management along with tasty yet simple recipes.

  • Health at Every Size: the Surprising Truth about your Weight by Linda Bacon. This book highlights some critical information about weight and diets that our diet-obsessed culture needs you to know. It also outlines a new way of thinking about weight, lifestyle and health.
  • 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food by Susan Albers. This book introduced a framework of ways to sooth yourself without using food: mindfulness meditation techniques, changing thoughts and eating, soothing sensations to calm and relax your body, mindful distraction and seeking soothing support.

  • The Complete IBS Health and Diet Guide by Dr Maitreyi Raman, Angela Sirounis and Jennifer Shrubsole. Within our guts resides the majority of our immune system. This book explores strategies to keep your gut healthy and strong among people living with IBS.

~ Kristyn Hall, MSc, RD, Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist, Energize Nutrition,


Cooking Magazine: I love Fine Cooking Magazine – it is very educational and it teaches techniques, not single recipes.  My new discovery for cookbooks is the Whitewater Cooks series.  The recipes range from comfort food to vegan recipes.  I love the photos and the flavour combinations are delicious!

~ April Matsuno, M.Sc., RD, Wellness Kitchen Consultant, South Health Campus


New cookbooks: Personally, I love cookbooks and love receiving new books for inspiration. Two of my new favourite cookbooks include: The School Year Survival Cookbook by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh. This book focuses on healthy breakfasts, quick lunches beyond sandwiches and quick but tasty supper meals. Even if you do not have children, these recipes are versatile for busy professionals.

My other favorite from this year is Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts & Beans by Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom. Recipes feature plant-proteins introduced alongside animal proteins, which is a great start to including more plant-based proteins into your every day eating.

~ Kristyn Hall, MSc, RD, Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist, Energize Nutrition,

Gifts from the heart

The best “gift” of all in my mind is a very thoughtful card. We like to make cards and reflect on our favourite things about the person. Sometimes we cut out pictures from magazines of things or words that remind us of how awesome they are. It’s a calorie-free gift that does wonders for mental well-being. 🙂

~ Patricia Chuey, MSc, RD, FDC, foodie dietitian  Follow Patricia on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @PatriciaChuey.

So there you have it. Gift ideas focusing on health, self-care and kindness, while also supporting yourself (or your friend) as they work to maintain their health-supportive lifestyle. I’d love to hear from you – what gift ideas that inspire health and wellness do you have? Contact me. Enjoy!


Related posts:

Holiday Gift Ideas that Inspire Health (2016).

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian Calgary, AB.

1 Comment

  1. Great suggestions! Thanks for compiling this list, Kristyn!

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