Why not give a gift to promote health going into the new year?

Published 9:07 am Saturday, January 3, 2009

Going into the new year, why not give a gift which promotes health to your family,  friends and co-workers?  Many people have a desire to eat healthier, exercise more and reduce stress in their lives so these types of gifts are often appreciated. Another box of candy, or bottle of perfume or after shave may collect dust as it is left on the shelf or  given to someone else for that last-minute holiday party.

The following are some healthful gift ideas for going into the new year.

1. A Ninendo Wii will be great fun for the whole family and is great exercise.

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2. A gift certificate for a massage is wonderful for the person who needs to relax more and is therapeutic for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia.

3. A magazine subscription to Cooking Lite, Eating Well, Lite and Tasty or Diabetic Cooking magazines will be appreciated by someone who enjoys cooking and trying new recipes. Books relating to health, exercise and nutrition are great gift ideas also.

4. For the person who needs to increase their physical activity level, give a gift membership to the YMCA or an exercise class at the YMCA such as Swimnastics. Gift memberships to  Curves, or other fitness centers can help motivate that person to become more active.

5. Make a healthy gift basket to give. The college student will appreciate a basket filled with varieties of nuts such as almonds and walnuts, dried fruits, herbal teas, hot cocoa or cappuccino mixes. Another gift basket may include a favorite homemade or commercial jam, jelly or preserves. Include a small spreading knife, a package of bagels or Amana  bread and a favorite jam or muffin recipe. Wrap in a festive holiday dish towel and tie with a big bow. Pack a different holiday basket with antioxidant rich foods such as red wine or sparking grape juice, olive oil, dark chocolate, a bag of ground flax seed, almonds and green tea.

6. Treadmills, bicycles, and rollerblades are exciting family gift ideas and don’t forget the pedometer!

Becky Goodell is a licensed and registered dietitian at Albert Lea Medical Center — part of Mayo Health System.