10 Healthy Holiday Gifts

Post by Paula Jahn, Co-owner and Registered Dietitian

What better way to send a message of love to friends and family than to give a gift of health?  The following gifts touch on many dimensions of wellness, including physical, social and emotional health. These gift ideas are likely to make a sustained impact on lifestyle, keeping the receiver well for years to come. Many of the gifts below also help support local businesses, which improves the health of our community. Everybody wins!


Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle: Drink more water, get outside, relax!

1) Glass water bottle, such as Lifefactory. No need to worry about hormone-disrupting BPAs and other compounds in plastic bottles…or the waste they produce. Glass or stainless steel bottles are the way to go. I prefer glass since it doesn’t lend a metallic taste to the water. Lifefactory bottles are sheathed in silicone to protect against chips and cracks. You can find them at New Seasons, Powell’s or online.


A step up from using a mason jar.

2) Gift card to Nourish Northwest. It can be used for cooking classes, fitness classes or nutrition counseling. Let the receiver choose his or her own path to wellness.


3) Pacific Northwest hiking book. Encourage exploration of our own neighborhood wilderness! I like Hiking the Columbia River Gorge (Falcon Guides) and One Night Wilderness, Portland (Wilderness Press). Both are available at Powell’s Books.

Tunnel Falls along Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia Gorge.

4) Aromatherapy bath oils. Relaxation is an important aspect of wellness.


5) Massage. Massages are wonderful. No explanation needed.


6) Fitness equipment: Customized yoga mat, TRX trainer or a fitness tracker.

TRX straps can be hung from a door, a wall, or a tree.


One of the best ways to improve health is to cook more. Choose gifts that get them in the kitchen:

7) Pressure cooker with cookbook. Anyone who has taken a cooking class at Nourish knows about my obsession with pressure cookers. It allows you to make beans from dried, risotto, stewed meats and other notoriously lengthy preparations in less than half the time. A good cookbook to get started is Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass.


8) Homemade spice mix with a recipe. For example:

  • Indian spice blend with a recipe for navratan korma.
  • Italian spice blend with a recipe for bean soup.
  • Oatmeal topper blend that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, chopped nuts and dried fruit.


Purchase spices in bulk.

Put in a decorative jar, this gift is simple, inexpensive and unique.


9) Cookbooks. Some of my favorites are The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld, Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson, Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish and Farmer’s Market Cookbook: Seasonal Dishes Made from Nature’s Freshest Ingredients by Richard Ruben.


10) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription. CSAs are a great way to support local farms, try new fruits and vegetables and eat seasonally. There are many to choose from near Portland. Check out this website for more information on how to select a CSA.


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