When you think winter holidays, do you envision cookies, pies and high-fat treats? Bulging waistlines and scale-tipping weight gain? Maybe it’s time to rethink what brings joy and happiness to you, your friends and family. Last December, NIH News in Health suggested over a dozen healthy holiday gifts. Here are a few more budget-friendly possibilities to help keep your loved ones active and healthy.
Good food is one of life’s great pleasures, and it doesn’t have to be bad for you. Several kitchen gadgets—like juicers, slow cookers, rice cookers or vegetable steamers—can help you prepare nutritious low-fat foods. You can also encourage loved ones to prepare tasty, healthy dishes by giving them a low-cost cookbook from NIH (see the “Wise Choices” box). Popsicle molds in whimsical shapes can encourage healthful snacking for kids. Fill them with pureed fruit or 100% fruit juice.
Being physically active is one of the best things anyone can do to stay healthy. A pass to a local, state or national park system could be a fun way to encourage walking, biking, hiking, jogging or even kayaking. For the cyclists on your list, consider getting a tune-up with a local bike shop, protective eyewear to protect vision or other bicycle accessories.
Older people might enjoy the book Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. It helps you get motivated and describes exercises that enhance endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. It also suggests ways to modify activities so people with chronic conditions and disabilities can exercise safely. Request a free copy of this 120-page book by calling 1-800-222-2225, or order online.
On a tight budget? Give a gift of your time. Create coupons that promise to help others with shopping trips or cooking healthy meals. Teens can make coupons for grandparents that offer to help set up their computers, connect to the internet and make bookmarks for web sites that give reliable health information.
Two calendars from NIH can help you keep track of time and keep healthy habits. The colorful 12-month Noisy Planet calendar for 2010 reminds kids to protect their hearing. It’s 5.5 x 8.5 inches, removable and restickable. Order 1 free calendar per household at online, or call 1-800-241-1044; 1-800-241-1055 (TTY).
The 2010 Keep the Beat: Healthy Choices calendar supports a heart-healthy lifestyle (
$3 $2 with promotional code. See the “Wise Choices” box for details). Order online, or call 301-592-8573.
Another gift that promotes heart health is the Red Dress pin, designed to raise awareness that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women (
$2.50 $2 each for up to 24 pins with promotional code. See the “Wise Choices” box). Order online.
A 12-page booklet from NIH might encourage scientific curiosity in kids. The Rocket Boys of NIH tells the true story of a 9-year-old boy’s plans to build a small rocket ship with his friend in the late 1950s. Published in both English and Spanish, the free booklet can be ordered online.