Low cost or no cost gift giving ideas with a healthy twist

Take the stress out of gift giving by spending less money and also promote healthy living by making different choices this year.

Holiday gift.

Gift giving adds up fast, both financially and emotionally, during the holiday season. The stress of finding just the right thing may be easier than you think and you can keep your loved ones health in mind at the same time.

Michigan State University Extension suggests these healthy ideas to be used for any age group and they promote physical activity and healthy eating along the way.

  • Health related magazine – Give a recipe magazine or one related to overall health. There are magazines for children, women or men as well as magazines specific to physical activity.
  • Healthy recipe and ingredients – Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that everyone always asks you to make? Copy the recipe and purchase the ingredients and you have a great gift.
  • Meals for someone home bound – Prepare a meal for someone who has just had a baby or surgery, to an elderly person no longer able to get out or anyone else you feel is in need. As you cook for yourself or your family, simply take out one serving. These meals could also be frozen and used as needed by the person receiving them.
  • Coupon to host a sledding party – Sledding is a great way to promote physical activity during winter months. After sledding, serve healthy snacks like cheese sticks and apples with low-fat hot chocolate.    
  • Physical activity items – Purchase exercise equipment either new or used that can be found at second-hand stores. If kids are on your list, look for soccer balls, bats, skates, scooters, snowshoes, sleds, exercise bands or helmets to keep kids thinking of physical activity all year long.
  • Gift certificate to swim at a local hotel – Swimming is appropriate for any age group and could be used for those older adults who have everything. Many hotels have designated public swimming hours with daily or monthly passes available.
  • Gardening supplies – Gardening supplies might not be as easily found in large stores this time of year, but local hardware and farm supply stores will have a rake, shovel, hand tools, gloves or knee pads, many items to make a gardener happy and ready to plan for next year’s garden.
  • Coupons to walk with a friend – Have you been meaning to join friends on a daily walk? This gift benefits the giver and the receiver. Keep yourself and your friends motivated to take that healthy walk each day, create a coupon in the shape of your favorite walking shoes. On your way out the door grab a can of soup for each hand and work those arm muscles while walking.
  • Gift certificate for roller-skate rental - When is the last time you went roller-skating? Roller rinks are still available and are a great way to spend time participating in physical activity as a family. 

These gifts don’t take a lot of time, are low or no cost and send a strong message of caring because they promote health and well-being to those you care about, great reasons to choose from this list when finishing up your holiday gift giving.

Not sure you’re crafty enough to create all these great gift certificate ideas? Pinterest can help! Simply fill in the information and print the certificates at home. For family nutrition information, Choose My Plate online has a wealth of information to stay healthy all year long. To find out more about physical activity and healthy eating for the whole family try the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  

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