10 Best and Worst Holiday Food Gifts

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Ask The Guyatitian

As appeared in the WebMD Real Nutrition blog post on 12/19/2011

The clock is ticking and you still need to come up with some nifty presents for those hard-to-buy-for-folks on your gift list. Well, how about the gift of food? Nothing says “Happy Holidays, and I hope you enjoy a tighter fitting pair of jeans” like a five-pound box of chocolates. Whoa…maybe you’d better think twice before doing in your loved ones with the gift that keeps on giving!

Holiday food giving can show how much you care by satisfying one of our most basic needs – to eat really yummy food. Though your gut instinct may be to capitalize on that and buy your loved one the most decadent, over-the-top treats imaginable, stop and think about the message or potential damage your gift may cause. Though not intentional, you may be tempting those who are short on willpower and can’t really afford the extra calories.

Carolyn Brown also touched on this subject earlier this month with her great post on Healthy Holiday Gifts That Won’t Land You in the Doghouse. I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends to weigh in on what they felt were some of the best and worst holiday food gifts out there. I’d love to hear your recommendations on what to steer clear of and which food gifts you think have the recipient’s health at heart!

10 Best Food Gifts

  • Fruit basket or an edible arrangement
  • Fruit of the month club. Delivered right to their door every month of the year
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership. This is a great way for your loved ones to increase their veggie intake while trying different produce items right where they live.
  • Cookbook holder. Nothing worse that mucking up the pages with sticky fingers.
  • Crock Pot. Okay, not a typical last-minute gift, but you can buy a smaller starter one for under $20. They’re a great solution for time-starved healthy wannabees!
  • Bean soup mixes. They’re oh-so-healthy and taste great on a cold winter night. Besides, they are cheap and make a great starter item for that new crock pot.
  • Aero Garden. Great and simple way to grow healthy fresh herbs right in your kitchen.
  • Flavored olive oils. Great heart healthy fat that can be drizzled on a salad or used for dipping crusty whole grain bread in.
  • Tea of the month club. Great way to boost their fluid intake while dragging along some awesome health protecting polyphenols to help ward off heart disease and cancer.
  • Homemade granola. There’s something about receiving something made from scratch that shows you really care. But instead of cookies, give that special someone a sweet bowl of crunchy goodness to start their day which also puts a serious hurt on cholesterol.

10 Worst Food Gifts

  • Cheesecake party wheel. 8 slices of cheesecake weighing in over 400 calories each.      You do the math!
  • Anything bigger than a small box of candy. Why is more considered better?
  • Fruitcake.  Though I love them, I might be the only one.
  • Steaks to a vegetarian (or someone trying to eat less meat).
  • Wheatgrass Juice – unless you don’t like the person.
  • Nuts.  allergies are the concern here.
  • Alcohol. One can’t always know if someone in the house may have a drinking problem.
  • Gift certificate to an all-you-can-eat buffet. NO ONE needs multiple trips to the food trough.
  • Food about to expire. It may sound like a bargain at first but giving food that’s past its prime reflects poorly on you!
  • Diabetic anything! Who wants to be reminded that they have a health challenge by receiving a disease-specific food gift? Besides, diabetic candies and cookies are not calorie free and over eating them can make diabetes worse!

Share Your Thoughts. Have you ever given or received a terrible holiday food gift? How about a great one? Sound off in the comments below or in our Diet and Food and Cooking communities.
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