Here are a few possibilities for health-and safety-promoting gifts that won’t break your budget. Most of these ideas are from $10 to $20.
Food thermometer: These internal temperature-measuring devices are easy to use and don’t take up a lot of drawer space. Only five per cent of cooks regularly use a thermometer, although many people use their thermometer during holiday dinners. However, food safety experts encourage the everyday use of thermometers because colour is not an accurate indicator of doneness.
Pedometer: These step-counting devices are powerful motivators as people set goals to increase their physical activity. According to a recent Stanford University study, participants who set a goal walked 2,000 steps (one mile) more than before they set a goal. If you want to enhance your gift to a friend with an MP3 player, buy your friend or family member a gift card for “tunes” to download and listen to while he or she walks.
Healthy meal/snack kit or a “meal IOU”: Try creating your own healthy snack/meal baskets. For example, tuck a jar of chunky salsa, baked chips, bottled 100 per cent juice and some disposable cups and napkins in a reusable plastic bowl or basket. How about a soup, bread and fruit basket? As another option, treat your friends to the promise of a home-cooked, healthy meal on a mutually agreeable date.
Storm survival kit: Winter weather sometimes is unpredictable and can result in emergency situations. Assemble an emergency kit for travellers. If your friend or family member already has one, discreetly check his or her supplies and assemble a kit with items the person needs. Be sure that winter survival kits include a windshield scraper; battery-powered radio; batteries; flashlight; snack foods such as nuts, dried fruit, jerky and trail mix; waterproof matches; and a can to melt snow for water.
– Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.