Nine Simple Food Gifts For The Holidays


Nine Simple Food Gifts For The Holidays

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash


Food is a simple gift to give during the holiday season.  It’s easy to get, easy to give, and very, very, easy to enjoy.  

Here are seven simple holiday food gifts that are sure to put a smile on your recepient’s face this holiday season.

1)  Fruit Basket or box of fruit. Harry & David is a great option. One of their most popular gifts this time of year are fresh pears. They’re delicious and can be served in multiple ways. You can even suggest poaching them and topping them off with a bit of cinnamon for a dessert!   

 2)  Indoor Herb Garden. Great idea for families and people who love to cook! Kids will enjoy the gardening project, and it’s convenient to have your herbs fresh in the kitchen. 

3)  Flavored Oils. Heart healthy flavored olive oil is a treat that cooks might not buy for themselves, but would enjoy having in their kitchen.

4)  Coffee and Tea. Specialty coffees and teas with a nice mug are a great Christmas gift that won’t sabotage a person’s healthy eating plan. If you’re not sure about the caffeine, go for an herbal tea that is naturally caffeine free.

5)  Spices or Rubs.  If you know the person on your list likes to cook, interesting spices and/or rubs are a great gift.  Whenever someone gifts us spices or homemade rubs it inspires me to try new recipes.

6)  Gift Cards. Restaurant or coffee shop gift cards are excellent Christmas gifts to send someone. You can be sure it will get used and your recipient will be able to choose what they like most.  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t appreciate being treated to a meal and/or a beverage.

7)  Chocolates.  Chocolate will usually put a smile on the face of the receiver.  However, if you’d like to add a healthy twist to your gift, dark chocolate is the answer.  Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.  Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.  Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.

8)  Wine, Craft Beer, or Spirits.  I realize that alcohol is not food.  However, the grown ups on your list that like to enjoy a cocktail or two, are sure to appreciate a nice bottle of their favorite adult beverage.

9)  Fruit and Veggie Subscription.  Give someone the gift that keeps on giving and treat them to a subscription to their local fruit and vegetable box delivery.  Companies like Farm Fresh To You, Grub Market, and Imperfect Produce all offer this service and have different options to choose from.

Holiday shopping doesn’t need to be stressful.  Keep it simple by giving the gift of food.  🙂

Have a gift idea you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!



How To Have Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season


Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

Photo is of our dog Hoppy and courtesy of Happy Tails in Montara.  It was taken after Hoppy’s grooming appointment! 


The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  However, with parties to attend, gifts to buy, and a longer than normal to do list, the real meaning of this season can sometimes get lost.

Fortunately, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating the holiday season.  You get to decide how much you want to commit to.  Just like your fitness program, how you decide to spend the holiday season is totally up to you.

Here are seven helpful tips to help you enjoy a fun, meaningful, and stress-free holiday season.

1. Plan Ahead.

One of the best ways to avoid stress during the holidays is to  plan ahead. Take a moment to”mind dump” and list everything that is on your plate, such as gift shopping, Christmas parties and recipes to make. When you’re done, schedule important dates on your calendar  to make sure you remember your special events. Mental notes are a great place to start, however getting them all down on paper will give you a chance to prioritize what’s most important to you.

2. Don’t try to go at it alone.

Ask for help.  Allow each member of the family or your friends to pitch in. Need help cooking? Maybe your partner can help you out. If you don’t like wrapping presents, find someone in your family who sees it as therapeutic instead of overwhelming.  I’m more of a savory cook than a baker, so making sweets is out of my comfort zone.  However, my Uncle Paul loves to bake pies so we let him take care of dessert.

3. It’s OK to Say ‘No.’

Over-committing and over-scheduling can happen more often during the holiday season. It can be hard to say ‘no,’ because you don’t want to miss out on all of the fun or may feel obligated to say yes. However, over scheduling can lead to anxiety and stress. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ People will understand that this is a busy time of the year and you can’t do it all.

4. Prioritize Time To take care of yourself.

Just because the holiday season is all about giving, it doesn’t mean you should let your own needs fall to the side. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do the things that help you to recharge.  For me, the daily hike with our dogs is exercise and therapy so I make sure that I set aside time each day to take them out.

5.  Set a Budget.

While you probably won’t see those holiday credit card statements until January, you may still feel the stress while checking out at the register.  Spending more money than your budget allows can make you feel less like Santa and more like the Grinch.  Remember that it’s the thought that counts.  Most people care more that you remembered them than they do about receiving a pricey gift.  A heartfelt note or handmade gift can leave a lasting impression on someone’s heart.


6. Focus on What’s Important.

One of the biggest causes of stress over the holidays is the desire to create the “picture perfect” setting. Remember that it is OK if things don’t go according to the plan. Don’t worry about the burnt cookies or that little disagreement between two of your relatives. Let go of expectations and focus on  the reason for the season.

7.  Be flexible.

It’s important to plan, however I recommend allowing yourself the flexibility to be spontaneous and savor precious moments.  The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed so give yourself permission to take advantage of last minute outings, ideas, or visits that can lead to forever memories.

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings!

Shared with love,



How To Enjoy Your Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

Christmas fitness woman wearing santa hat

The holiday season is officially here!  I personally love this time of year and my desire for you is that you would enjoy everything the season has to offer without the notorious weight gain that the media and diet industry warns you about constantly.

You may have even heard or read recent media reports that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is seven to ten pounds.  Holy cow!  That number seemed high to me so I did a little digging and fortunately, it’s turning out to be a myth. The truth is the average person gains about one to two pounds during the holiday season.

With that being said, I’m guessing you’d rather not gain ANY weight this holiday season so I’ve put together a list of simple ways you can enjoy yourself without adding on the extra pounds that can come along with it.

  1. Set realistic goals.  If you are currently losing weight, congratulations!  During the holidays I recommend you give yourself a break and set a very vital yet realistic goal. Maintain your weight. If you maintain your weight, you’ll already be ahead once January rolls around.
  2. Exercise.  Now is not the time to stop exercising. As tempting as it is to skip exercise to take care of something else on your to do list, you want to burn calories so you can enjoy the special treats without the unwanted pounds.
  3. Plan ahead. Schedule all your commitments for the season on your calendar. This will help you plan your exercise time.  You may decide to exercise at home rather than drive to the gym. Try a mini-trampoline or an exercise video.  Or, take your workout outside and go for a hike or a walk.  Being outdoors is a major stress-reliever.  On days that are tightly scheduled, commit to a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise to keep your momentum and your metabolism boosted. Something is always better than nothing.
  4. Do some offline shopping. You can get in your exercise while supporting your local businesses and salespeople. Win-win.
  5. Pay attention to portion sizes. Take larger portions of the fruits and veggies and smaller than normal portions of the richer fare like scalloped potatoes, prime rib, desserts, etc. Watch the dressings on the salad — put it on yourself and be conservative. Go for the dressings that will drip to the bottom of the bowl. Consider trade-offs such as if you have a glass of champagne, you may want to have just a bite of dessert.
  6. Wear form-fitting clothes. This is a great way to keep weight from piling on. You will know if your weight is out of whack if those jeans feel a bit snug. This will help you take action before things get out of control.
  7. Lighten up traditional recipes. Got to have your pumpkin pie? That’s okay! Choose lighter recipes than the more traditional fare. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines; however, there are many recipes on the web that have been modified to reduce calories and taste delicious.
  8. Avoid showing up to a party hungry.  This is huge!  Keep fruit, nuts, energy bars, shakes, whatever is your go to snack, with you.  Or, if you’re at home, eat a small meal before you head out to the party. When you are overly hungry, you can mindlessly overeat.  The tiny quiches look way more appealing than the fruit and veggie platters when you haven’t eaten for hours. Start with a glass of water and then check out the food platters.  If you are dehydrated the body will use hunger to signal thirst.  When you are properly hydrated you will feel more satisfied and full after eating.
  9. There are only a few days that are actual holidays–eat normally the rest of the days. When you treat every day like it’s Thanksgiving Day with the excuse “it’s the holidays,” you are at risk of packing on the pounds.
  10. Use a Fitness Tracker.  Most smartphones come with health apps that allow you to track your steps.  Things like household chores and walking at the mall all count as exercise.  The more physical you get, the more calories you burn.  Keeping track of your activity levels can help motivate you to squeeze in extra steps throughout your day.

Most importantly, have fun!  Stress can contribute to weight gain so be gentle on yourself.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and super blessed holiday season!

With Love,

Have a comment or question?  Please leave it below.  I love to hear from you!

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