Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas


If you are looking for a gift for a friend or that special someone, here are some fun and healthy ideas for family members, friends, and anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle. Giving the gift of health can be as little as under $10 for a pair of workout socks or as big as a trampoline for the kids or a spa weekend in an elegant resort.

If you are purchasing a gift for a fitness fanatic or someone just getting started, choose from simple things like fitness trackers, all types of workout gear to sports equipment such as a bike, punching bag or even a new active program for the Wii or X-box that the whole family can enjoy. People who are just starting to exercise would benefit from personal training sessions, a gym membership or a new exercise DVD.

For those who need a little pampering and time to wind down, a massage, facial or manicure-pedicure gift certificate would be a great stocking stuffer. Aromatherapy gifts are also an easy find with wonderfully aromatic essential oils, soaps, shower gels, lotions and bath products. Beautifully designed inspirational books are a great idea for those souls who like to read.

If you want to give real food, it is quick and easy to order fresh fruit and nut baskets. I usually order these for friends and family who live out of town. Other healthy food ideas include infused vinegars, gourmet mustards, specialty coffee and teas, or herb and spice rubs. Many are made locally and beautifully packaged.

If you want to give something non-perishable, think about food and beverage ware such as mugs, thermoses or water bottles – go for stainless steel, glass or BPA free plastic. Check out some of the stainless steel or bento lunch boxes for kids and adults. Kitchen tools are another fun item to give – look for interesting inexpensive gadgets like a lemon zester or vegetable spiralizer. Glass storage containers (not plastic), crockpots, blenders and knives are tools cooks will love. Or find a special cookbook with gorgeous pictures – there is something for everyone from Vegan to Paleo, easy cookbooks such as Crockpot, One Pot Meals, 30-Minute Meals as well as the ethnic such as Healthy Soul Food, Asian, Latina and much more!

For the do it yourselfers, dried beans, infused vinegars, mustards, and spice rubs are easy to make and can be beautifully presented in glass containers with a bow.

For more information on adopting healthier lifestyle changes, contact Kitty Finklea, lifestyle coach, registered dietitian and personal trainer at McLeod Health and Fitness Center, 843-777-3000.

Turkish Spice Mix

From EatingWell: November/December 2015

Make a big batch of this Turkish spice mix to have on hand when you need to whip up a quick vegetable dip or flavorful, easy salad dressing. Or try it as a rub for grilled or roasted meat or vegetables. The spice mix is also a perfect hostess gift along with a recipe card for turning it into a dip or vinaigrette (see below). For the freshest, most economical spices, head to a store that has a large, well-stocked bulk spice department.

1 cup dry mix | Active Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 10 minutes


• 6 tablespoons paprika

• 3 tablespoons dried mint

• 2 tablespoons cinnamon

• 2 tablespoons garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon coarsely ground cumin seed

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• 2 teaspoons black pepper

• 1 teaspoon ground cloves


Combine paprika, mint, cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cloves in a small bowl. Stir well to recombine after storing.

Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight for up to 3 months.

To make a creamy dip with the spice mix: Combine 2 Tbsp. dry mix with ¾ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup sour cream (or mayonnaise) and 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Makes: about 1 cup dip for 8 servings (2 Tbsp. each = about 60 calories)

Kitty Tips: You can use fat free mayo or sour cream and leave out the olive oil to cut fat and calories.

To make a vinaigrette with the spice mix: Combine 2 Tbsp. dry mix with 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup red-wine, white-wine or cider vinegar and 2 Tbsp. water in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Makes: about 1 cup dressing for 8 servings (2 Tbsp. each = about 130 calories)

Kitty Tips: 1. Cut the oil to 1/3 cup and add 2 Tbsp water to cut the calories and fat. 2. Leave out the salt if you are on a low sodium plan.