7 simple homemade healthy gift ideas made from the heart!
Finding thoughtful Christmas gifts can take up a lot of time and stress. Christmas is a time to celebrate, relax with friends and family and indulge in a few treats. But there are usually enough treats going around without adding more indulgence into the mix with presents. Instead of buying chocolates or alcohol, why not give loved ones the gift of health and wellness? Our Lite n’ Easy Dietitians and Wellbeing Advisors share their top healthy gift ideas this Christmas.
This granola tastes like Christmas – my favourite time of the year! It’s sweet, crunchy and totally Santa-approved.
Make it in batches and divide up for gifts or enjoy all to yourself with yoghurt and sweet summer fruits like mango, berries and stone fruit.
Another great thing about homemade granola is that you can pick and choose what you want to put into it. Don’t like dried fruit? No problem, it’s totally fine to leave it out! You can also chop and change the nuts and seeds depending on what you like and what you have at home.
Recipe adapted from: https://www.bodygoodfood.com.au/full-blog/2016/12/14/gingerbread-granola
Makes approx. 25 serves (1/3 cup = 1 serve)
- 3 cups oats/quinoa flakes (for GF)
- 1 cup buckwheat
- 1 cup puffed quinoa
- 1/3 cup pistachios
- 1 cup pecans
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ cup cranberries
- 1/3 cup goji berries
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C.
Mix oats, buckwheat, puffed quinoa, pistachio’s, pumpkin seeds, pecans, coconut, salt, ginger and mixed spice in a large bowl. Heat the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla until just melted then pour the over the dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring half way.
Leave to cool and then stir in the cranberries and goji berries.
Over the Christmas period we can find ourselves a bit overloaded with sweet stuff, so I like to give a savoury option where I can. A chutney or relish is a great option here – you can take advantage of all the beautiful fruit that’s in season at this time of year, it’s cost effective and surprisingly easy to make. A chutney can be a great addition to any festive season cheeseboard, or add a bit of interest to a sandwich. My personal favourite is spicy plum chutney, which is a recipe my mum has perfected over the years. Plums are naturally full of pectin, which means your chutney will set with very little effort, and this versatile condiment works great in a stir fry, which is perfect for anyone looking to kick start their health in the New Year.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 onions
- 1kg plums
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 400g brown sugar
- 1 orange
- Vinegar (apple cider, white wine or malt is fine)
- Drizzle oil in a large pan over a low heat. Peel and slice the onion, then cook gently, or until softened and golden brown. Meanwhile, chop the plums, leaving the skin on but removing the stone.
- Add the bay leaves and spices to the pan, cook for 1 minute then stir in the plums and sugar. Zest the orange, and stir into the pot.
- Juice the orange, then pour into a measuring jug. Top it up 450mL with vinegar. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly until most of the water has evaporated and the chutney is reduced and thick, stirring now and then as it cooks.
- Spoon the chutney into sterilised jars and seal straight away. Leave to cool and store in a cupboard for a few weeks before eating.
There is something about a good beat that gets your toes tapping, your head bopping and your body moving. Impossible to ignore, the right song can uplift and inspire.
We all know how important it is to move your body every day. We also know that some days this feels harder to do than others. For days when you need a little help, let music move you.
Creating a playlist of music that motivates can be just what is needed to get you up and moving. Whether it leads you to a small shuffle, a dance around your lounge room or an all-out run, you’ll feel better for it and your body (and ears) will thank you.
Personalised for yourself or for someone you care about, curating a playlist of songs that inspire, tell a story, evoke memories or bring joy is a unique gift to share this holiday season.
Some tips on how to curate the perfect playlist:
- Figure out your theme
- Find a song that sets the mood
- Pick meaningful songs
- Get music from a variety of genres
The potential benefits of tea have been widely purported, and although it does contain antioxidants, its main power may be providing a much deserved break from the frantic festivities during this busy time of year. It can also help digestion between our deliciously large lunch and less thought out leftover dinner on Christmas day.
This homemade tea recipe is a great way to show your loved ones you care- throw the ingredients together, pop them in a festive jar, and write a little note to accompany it!
Recipe adapted from: https://www.healthyfood.com/healthy-recipes/christmas-tea
Serves: (makes 1 jar)
Time to make: 5 mins
Total cost: $3.96 / $3.96 per serve
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 100g loose-leaf green tea
- 5 cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries (optional)
- Prepare a clean and dry, see-through jar.
- Break cinnamon stick in small pieces then place in jar with the rest of the ingredients. Close the lid tightly and shake until mixed well.
- Wait at least 24 hours for tea to absorb the aroma of the spices.
If the jar you use has been cleaned but still smells strongly of what was in it before (eg. pickles), to get rid of the smell, pour in 1/2 cup baking soda and close the lid. Wait 24 hours then throw away baking soda, rewash the jar and dry it well before using.
This tea will keep well for up to 6 months.
These sweet and spicy roasted nuts are incredibly easy to make. With a little extra love in the oven, roasted nuts become instantly more special and holiday-worthy! The beauty of this recipe is that it is so versatile, you can easily change the nuts and seasoning to suit your preferences. Once the nuts are completely cool, place them in a jar, wrap it with ribbon, and you’ve got a wonderful holiday gift for neighbours, friends, and family!
Recipe adapted from: https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-party-nuts-recipe/
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups pecans or walnut halves
- 1 ½ cup pepitas
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (reduce or omit if sensitive to spice)
- Spiced Cinnamon – add ½ tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Rosemary – add 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper so the maple syrup doesn’t get stuck to the pan.
- Pour the almonds, pecans and pepitas onto the pan and set it aside.
- In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, salt, vanilla, and cayenne (if you using or any other added seasonings). Gently whisk until blended.
- Pour the mixture over the nuts on the prepared baking sheet. Stir well, until all of the nuts are lightly coated. Spread the mixture in a single layer across the pan (the maple syrup will pool on the bottom of the pan).
- Bake, stirring after the first 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter, until almost no maple syrup remains on the baking paper and the nuts are golden. Note: the maple syrup coating will be a little sticky right out of the oven, but will harden as the nuts cool.
- Remove the pan from the oven and stir the nuts one more time, spreading them into an even layer across the pan.
- Let the nut mixture cool completely on the pan. These will keep for up to 2 months in a sealed container at room temperature.
Exercising and spending quality time with friends are two sure fire ways of improving your health and well-being. So, why not this Christmas offer to be amazing fitness companion! Whether it’s a regular jaunt around the neighbourhood, a weekly spin class buddy or a social volleyball superstar, throw your hat into the ring for a regular catch-up which will be good for you and your friend in more ways than one.
Nuts and seeds are loaded with nutritional goodness. They are high in ‘good fats’ (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) and low in saturated fats. High in protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Research has shown that making nuts a regular part of a healthy diet can managing our weight and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes. Although there is limited research on seeds, they are thought to have a similar health benefit because of the like nutrition profile to seeds.
This nuts & seeds butter recipe is very simple to put together in a blender, all you need is some nuts and seeds and a pinch of salt. You can add it to your smoothie, porridge and acai bowl, or simply spread it over a piece of toast. It keeps in a jar for months. Wrap it with a Christmas themed wrapping paper and it makes the perfect handmade healthy Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
Recipe adapted from: https://www.bakerita.com/super-seed-nut-butter/
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Optional: cinnamon and/or vanilla extract to taste
- Combine the pecans, cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds in your food processor or high-powered blender. Process for about 3-6 minutes, scraping down as necessary. Your time might be shorter if you’re using a high-powered blender – it will take a little bit longer in the food processor and require more scraping down.
- When the nuts have broken down into a smooth, creamy butter, add the chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon and/or vanilla extract, if you’re using. Process to incorporate, and taste. Adjust add-ins as desired. If it’s not blending up as smoothly or thinly as you want, add a little bit of olive oil here.
- Transfer to a glass jar and store for 2-3 months.
How can Lite n’ Easy help?
Lite n’ Easy offers a variety of healthy meal plans on our chef-inspired seasonal menu, backed by expert dietitians. Enjoy the convenience of delicious, healthy meals delivered to your door.