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Published on December 05, 2011

Healthy Holiday Giving on a Budget

December 5, 2011 

When you think about the 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. Here are a few 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. Put together a healthy soup mix in a nice mason jar.  You can also encourage loved ones to prepare tasty, healthy dishes by giving them a heart-healthy cookbook.  Popsicle molds in whimsical shapes can encourage healthful snacking for kids. Be sure to recommend that they be filled with pureed fruit or 100% fruit juice. 

Another idea is to give a subscription to a healthy living magazine. Whether cooking, fitness or general health, a monthly dose of good advice can help people stay on track all year round.

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 Guidefrom 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. You can request a free copy of this 120-page book by calling 1-800-222-2225.

If money is really tight, consider giving 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.  You can also make a coupon for a run, bike ride or a workout together—or even just to meet for a walk. Get creative and give a gift you know they’ll love, and that will love them back.

Source: National Institutes of Health (accessed October 25, 2010)

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