I like to think of healthy living as a 3-legged stool that incorporates diet, physical activity and mindset. If one of these legs is ignored or not attended to on a regular basis, you won’t feel steady and your health may suffer.
For this holiday season, I asked staff from our Northwestern Center for Lifestyle Medicine (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Holly Herrington and Health Psychologist Dr. Anjali Pandit) to share some of their favorite healthy living gift ideas that they recommend for anyone wanting to give the gift of health to themselves or someone they love.
As you’ll see, the following gift ideas all help support the healthy living 3-legged stool idea.
1 – Diet/ Healthy Eating Gifts
Healthy eating expert Holly suggests the following kitchen tools, health related items and gift cards to make healthy eating easier and more fun:
- Brightly colored measuring cups or spoons, personalized cutting boards, digital kitchen food scales or food storage containers that can hold up in the freezer or microwave, olive oil mister, a veggie steamer, garlic press, a portable blender to make it easier to make smoothie or protein shakes on-the-go.
- New water bottle with motivational quotes or an electronic reader to remind you to take a drink each hour or one that keeps hot/cold water insulated longer.
- Gift cards for meal delivery services like Freshly, Hello Fresh or a personal chef to help yourself or your gift recipient maintain healthy eating or alleviate stress around meal planning and grocery shopping.
Note – 2 of my new favorite healthy eating tools we enjoy regularly in our kitchen are a salad bowl and chopper for making restaurant-quality chopped salads and a scan pan for searing fish, seafood or chicken in minutes.
2 – Physical Activity/ Exercise Gifts
When counseling for weight management, Holly also helps her patients maintain an active lifestyle. Here are some of Holly’s top recommendations for exercise-related gifts:
- Gift cards for exercise apps, gym memberships and personal trainers. Since these can be pricey, consider giving a gift card that can be applied toward the full cost.
- Help someone stick to healthy habit goals by tracking their steps with an activity and sleep tracker such as FitBit, jawbone or another tracker. Don’t let the small size or lower price tags fool you: these small activity trackers work hard to monitor steps, exercise, calories burned, and hours slept, and also sync with the multiple phone apps to track calories consumed.
- A stylish gym bag can help keep the workout game strong between the office and the gym
- Resistance bands are great for those who may struggle with hand strength or are intimidated by weights.
- Home exercise equipment like an exercise bike or treadmill, though pricey, can be a great investment in your health and with some research, you may find gently used ones.
3 – Mindset/ Coping Gifts
Health psychologist expert Anjali, suggests investing in the following stress management and self-care wellness tools for the year ahead:
- Consider buying a beautiful journal, that inspires you to pick it up. Keeping a daily journal of what you’re grateful for has been shown to boost mood and writing down your goals has been shown to lead to accomplishing goals.
- Invest in a mindfulness app or purchase a subscription for a loved one. Taking even a few minutes a day for relaxation can really help with stress management. There are some great apps on the market to guide you such as Headspace, Calm or 10% Happier.
- De-stressing is a priority for everyone and many people find reading or listening to music as an accessible way to escape and relax. Indulge yourself or a loved one in a paid subscription to a music service like Spotify or Pandora or a book subscription, like Kindle Unlimited or Book of the Month.
- Without consistent quality sleep, we are less likely to make other health decisions during the day. If you or a loved one haven’t replaced your bedding in a while, consider investing in a new mattress or a comfortable, cozy set of new sheets or blankets to improve the quantity and quality of sleep.
- Therapy can be an investment in your mental health, can help with improving self-esteem, relationships and increase productivity. The covid-19 pandemic has led to more therapists offering telehealth visits. To find a therapist in your area, check with your health insurance carrier for a list of in-network providers or take a look at psychologytoday.com.
I want to thank Holly and Anjali for sharing these helpful healthy living gift ideas.
Here’s to enjoying your health this holiday season and beyond!
Robert Kushner, MD