Christmas, at its best, is a season for giving, loving, and showing appreciation. It can also be a time where we over indulge, fall off our healthy habits, and just generally over-do it. Here are some of my favorite little gifts for friends and family that won’t break the bank OR the progress you’ve made with your health!

1) Tea and Mug – There are a TON of great herbal teas, especially for cold season. These make a lovely gift, taste great, and help you stay super hydrated all winter season. Choose a big, fun mug to make each cup of tea feel really special.

2) High Quality Dark Chocolate – Good quality dark cocoa contains both minerals and polyphenols, special compounds in some foods that have extra health benefits. For chocolate, these appear as antioxidants, helping to calm and control inflammation in the body. Choose a bar that has cocoa/cocoa mass/cocoa beans as the first ingredient, has 65% or more cocoa, isn’t dutch or alkaline processed (which removes a lot of the polyphenol benefits), and is low in sugar.

3) Crazy Kimchi – I know, this one might sound a bit out there. But if you have someone who enjoys sauerkraut or kimichi, find a really cool, unique one for them to try. Whole Foods carries a bunch of options, from curried cauliflower to a sample pack of assorted pickled veggies. This not only offers a veggie serving in a unique way, but also major probiotic benefits for a happy gut.

4) Red Wine – Wait, really?! Yep! Red wine, when sipped in moderation, offers antioxidant benefits, has been shown to support gut health, and contains variety of polyphenols. So, grab a nice bottle of red wine (low in sugar), and cheers by the fire with a friend!

5) Hot cocoa – This one is best homemade. Mix cocoa powder (make sure it’s not dutch or alkaline processed, as mentioned above!), a pinch of sea salt, sprinkling of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg in a small mason jar. You can either prove some nice, local, raw honey to go with it, or add in coconut sugar (equal in amount to the cocoa powder). Gift with a cute mug, or even a few mini espresso mugs for any little kiddos in the family. Add a little recipe card for preparation – 1 heaping Tbsp cocoa mix + 1 scant Tbsp honey + 8 oz hot milk of choice (if opting for the coconut sugar, recipe should be 2 Tbsp cocoa powder + 8 oz hot milk). Mix well and enjoy by the Christmas tree.

For more great gift ideas and tips to add a bit more health to your day, come on in to CoreLife!

Aubrey Phelps, MS RDN LDN