It’s looking a lot like Christmas with the end of year and the time for gift giving fast approaching. It is tricky trying to think of the best Christmas gift to buy, a small gift that shows there has been thought put in for; a work colleague, clients, friends, family or for the whole workplace.
As much as I enjoy a box or block of nice chocolate, there are other gifts, nourishing ideas that people will enjoy and their health will too. Here are my top 10 'foodie' Christmas gift ideas. The dietitian in me has influenced my choices of course, with number 10 my favourite. I may be just a little bias in suggesting this!
The list will be a time saver and stress reliever. No need to wander shops racking your brain on what to buy, the thinking has now been done for you. My guide will promote a healthy diet for you and others you care about this Christmas!
Christmas present shopping that is a little easier and a tad healthier, what more could you ask for at this time of year?
1. Balsamic vinegar
A quality bottle of balsamic vinegar is always a prize winner in our house. This is a great way to make the summer salads tasty to increase our vegetable and overall plant food intake. It is so easy to make a basic salad of greens taste great with a good dressing such as balsamic or other nice vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is also delicious with fresh summer strawberries and a sprinkle of sugar. A great addition to this gift if you are feeling generous would be to pair this with my number 2 suggestion below, extra virgin olive oil.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A bottle of good Australian extra virgin olive oil makes a perfect Christmas gift. For the non drinkers around it is exciting to receive a good vintage that is not wine! For those who do enjoy a glass of wine, what a nice change or addition, to be enjoying the antioxidants in oil along with your wine. A crusty bread, some fresh summer tomatoes and basil with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and maybe a glass of wine makes a great summer afternoon. A bottle of fresh first pressed oil purchased from a local grove makes a special gift for the family to use during the year.
3. Seasonal Fresh Fruit
A box of Australian grown cherries,mangoes, grapes, peaches or a combination of these divine summer fruits makes a tasty Christmas present. A gift to be shared with the family and starts the festive season an a fresh healthy note. Buying fruit locally grown is a nice way to support our local farmers too. A day out to a farm to pick the fresh fruit is a fun family and friend activity too. If you would like to give something extra you might have a favourite recipe you can pop in or a platter for serving. If you have a few gifts to give, buy a few boxes and mix the fruit up to share. Fresh fruit can make an instant start to a grazing platter or dessert spread. Since most Australians don't eat the suggested 2 servings of fruit per day you are making healthy choices easier to do .
4. Bamboo cutting boards.
Chopping boards become old with time. Knife cuts, stains and scratches make them prone to bacteria breeding. We all need a chopping board and bamboo has a natural antibacterial agent making these a durable, hygienic choice. You can even order them with personalised messages! I love the light, hard combination and the ease for cleaning and drying. They make a great cheeseboard or platter for grazing boards as well.
5. Fresh herbs
A practical gift is a pot of fresh herbs ready to pick for Christmas feasts to make them more special and a year long supply of many herbs. I know the waste when I buy a bunch from the store and only use a few leaves then bin or compost the rest- not great on the food waste front. Potted herbs are perfect to pick as you need. If you think they may already have the common herbs, parsley, mint, oregano and basil there are plenty more. Did you know there are 5 different types of basil from sweet basil, the most common form, to Thai, Greek, bush, cinnamon and lettuce basil varieties. A tub with all 5 would make a fantastic gift ready for all cuisines.
A few different pots will spice up your summer salads and meats along with giving a nutritional boost. Herbs, like most plant foods, are packed with antioxidants for general health and repair.
Reusable insulated lunchboxes, bento box style and beeswax reusable food wraps are more exciting than they sound. Having a hot salad sandwich at lunchtime is not fun. The right lunchbox can make all the difference at keeping things crisp and cool. Quality does count here. If you want to get your or someone else's diet healthier then this is the way to go. If you can keep your carrot sticks crisp and your hummus to dip them in fresh you are more likely to give them a go. Bonus; these gifts reduce rubbish as well and encourage us to bring lunch to school or work, a money saving option too.
7. Spice Mixes and Preserves
Spice mixes (e.g. Dukah), curry pastes, sauces or preserves, make things tastier and quicker in the kitchen. We don't all have time to mix up and grind spices from scratch and neither do you need to.There are some beautiful spice shops around. When you make it easier in the kitchen we are more likely to cook at home and research shows cooking at home has health benefits, such as eating less salt and helping with weight management.
How handy if someone was to give you a gift of a tasty blend of spices ready to use for your weekly curry? Or a preserve of pickled onions, chutney or fruit? These are even better if you have made it yourself.
It can be a great social activity to get together with some friends to make a batch of something together before Christmas. Think about the Mediterranean diet and getting together to make the years tomato sauce. You might start a new tradition whilst making your yearly Christmas gifts?
8. Food in Jars
Ornamental glass jars filled with fresh Australian nuts and/ or dried fruits are a tasty gift idea. The jars are perfect to reuse for packing your lunch salad in, store muesli in or use to make preserves or fermented vegetables. Keep your jars such as nut spread glass jars during the year ready to use at Christmas time. If using it for the increasing in popularity, salad in a jar idea, simply take the dressing separate and add in before eating. Shake it all up and voila! You could refill the jar with nuts to sit on your desk for a daily afternoon handful.
I have seen jars given with layers of dry ingredients ready to add yoghurt to and some fresh fruit for a ready to go Bircher muesli.
9. Gift Vouchers
A voucher to a cooking class or foodie tour is an experience to be remembered. You can even go along to a charity organisation such as ‘Oz Harvest’ who run cooking sessions as team building activities. I have been and had a ball! I learnt how to use the whole of vegetables and reduce my waste. A great one to give to a team or a couple to do together.
10. Eat Like An Athlete
The book of the year (by my vote 😊..no author bias here), ‘Eat Like An Athlete’ as everyone wants to perform at their best and use nourishing food to achieve it! This is a must read for those who do not want a life of dieting and want to enjoy eating and use nutrition as a tool to perform at their best. If athlete's can do it so can we! It is a gift for the whole family, easy reading, with sporting stories to share. Great for those looking for some summer reading, perfect to maximise your health while rejuvenating on holidays. You can always tuck an extra gift voucher inside the front cover? 😉
If you have more ideas, please add as comments below- see if we can get the list to 20!