The Diet Detective: Healthy Holiday Gifts

Gift : Healthy experience-oriented activities
Why: Giving an experience-oriented gift such as cooking or yoga classes is a great way to help someone get in shape and have fun.
Description: You name it--healthful cooking classes, yoga instruction, personal training sessions, tennis lessons, boxing instruction, golf lessons or surfing or rock-climbing lessons with pros to name a few.
Health bonus: All those calories burned from the activities or saved by the healthful cooking.
Price: Varies. (Cooking classes are about $55.)
What we liked least: Nothing that pushes the person to use the gift.
Where to buy: Go online and put a few key words such as your ZIP code, the activity and "lessons" into Yahoo.com or Google.com. Or try Signature Days (www.signaturedays.com), which offers more than 3,200 experiences nationwide.
 
Gift: Suunto Core and Suunto Lumi (designed for women) watches
Why: These watches are stylish and offer some great assets for any outdoor enthusiast.
Description: These amazingly "cool" watches have a compass, barometer, storm alarm, altimeter, sunrise and sunset times, alarm, stopwatch and a really fantastic design.
Health bonus: Hiking, walking, running, biking or swimming are all activities these watches help make more interesting.
What we liked least: Difficult to program.
Price: Suunto Core, from $250, Suunto Lumi, from $300.
Where to buy: www.rei.com 
 
Gift: FoodTees healthy living shirts, aprons and grocery totes
Why: Wearing shirts, carrying totes and using aprons printed with fruits and vegetables along with cute and funny sayings gets you excited about living and eating healthy. And they're adorable.
Description: Long- and short-sleeve shirts, aprons and totes that let people express themselves through healthful food slogans (No Sugar Added, Locally Grown, Live Green, Stalker, Spicy, Bite Me, etc.). Available for adults, children, toddlers and even babies.
What we liked least: Only sold online, but shipping is free and there's no tax.
Health bonus: A portion of the profits is donated to promote healthful school lunches.
Price: $15-$29.
Where to buy: www.FoodTee.com

Gift: "Play With Your Food" game
Why: If your children think eating healthfully is fun, they will eat more healthful foods.
Description: Kids spin a dial and eat a food from wherever the spinner lands--the game board is actually the plate.
What we liked least: The game should also come with plastic "healthful" foods so kids could play during non-mealtimes. It's made with melamine plastic and cannot be used in a microwave.
Health bonus: Kids will associate fun with eating more healthful foods.
Price: $14.99.
Where to buy: www.daydreamtoy.com
 
Gift: Black & Decker Infrawave Speed Cooking Countertop Oven
Why: Cooking healthful food can be very time-consuming, and this oven is amazing.
Description: Using infrared light, the oven produces chef-quality taste at microwave oven-like speed. It bakes, broils, roasts, toasts, sears, browns and reheats up to 50 percent faster than traditional ovens.
What we liked least: A bit pricy.
Health bonus: Eating out can be entertaining; however, restaurant food is generally higher in calories and lower in nutrients than home-prepared foods.
Price: $149.95 for model FC150R.
Where to buy: www.Amazon.com, www.buyinfrawave.com
 
Gift: Home Blood Pressure Testing Omron's HEM-790IT
Why: With a touch of a button, you can monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure affects more than 72 million Americans and can lead to life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Description: The monitor comes with a comfortable cuff and is easy to use.
Health bonus: The monitor detects morning hypertension (increased risk factor for stroke) and irregular heartbeat.
What we liked least: A bit pricy, and a few of the "extra" features are not "user-friendly."
Price: $89.99.
Where to buy: www.Amazon.com
 
Gift: TasteBook (www.tastebook.com)
Why: This is a sensational gift for anyone who cooks and eats healthfully. We tested it and were very impressed. Perfect for anyone who's not sure which recipes are healthful or how to get recipes that include their favorite ingredients.
Description: You pick recipes from your own collection or from the more than 25,000 on Epicurious.com to create a personalized custom cookbook. TasteBook also offers "premixed" recipe books created by pros. You use a simple drag-and-drop to create a 100-recipe cookbook. You can create the book for the recipient or you can give a gift card and allow the recipient to create his or her own book.
What we liked least: The site is still in beta mode, so it's a bit buggy.
Health bonus: Having easy, healthful, tested recipes with the ingredients you love means you're more likely to start cooking.
Price: $34.95.
Where to buy: www.tastebook.com
 
Gift: Gaiam Everything Fits Retro Gym Bag and Akha Yoga Mat Backpack
Why: If you know a yoga enthusiast, these stylish, useful gifts are designed to get them excited about their next (or first) class.
Description: The multicolored yoga mat backpack has a drawstring opening. The gym bag has a roomy interior with a zippered pocket, a key tether and a vented outside compartment for shoes or a towel.
What we liked least: The gym bag's shoulder straps are not adjustable.
Health bonus: The backpack meets the Fair Trade Group requirements, and the gym bag is made from 100 percent recycled polyester.
Price: $60 for the gym bag; $39 for the backpack.
Whiere to buy: www.gaiam.com
 
Gift: Yoga Journal's Great Instructors 3-DVD Set
Why: Yoga really does live up to its hype, and what better way to say you care about someone than by giving an instructional DVD featuring some of the country's leading experts?
Description: 90-minute DVDs with Baron Baptiste, Seane Corn and Shiva Rea.
What we liked least: Yoga is not easy to do while following a DVD.
Health bonus: Yoga incorporates strengthening, breathing, stretching and balance.
Price: $49.99.
Where to buy: www.yogajournal.com 


Charles Stuart Platkin is an Active Expert, nutrition and public health advocate, author of the best seller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), Breaking the FAT Pattern (Plume, 2006) and Lighten Up (Penguin USA/Razorbill, 2006) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for The Diet Detective newsletter free at www.dietdetective.com.

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