The holidays are almost here — the last thing on your mind might be your health. However, safeguarding your mental and physical well-being makes every celebration more enjoyable. You need to find ways to stay healthy during the holidays, including getting enough exercise.
Why not kill the proverbial pair of birds with a singular rock by combining gift-giving and wellness? It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to delight friends or family or slake a “from me to me” thirst. Here are 11 healthy investments you can make this holiday season for yourself or someone you love.
1. An Instant Pot
You will find that cooking healthy is very important all year. It is even more true during the holidays, when most of us are more lackadaisical about our eating habits.
You had a long day at the office, followed by your kids’ soccer practice, and you’re famished. It’s time to hit the fast-food drive-thru, right? Not if you have an instant pot.
These nifty devices harness the power of pressure cooking to do anything from keeping roasts moist to steaming rice that Bobby Flay would praise. All you have to do is toss in the ingredients, set a few buttons and serve up a gourmet meal in no time. You’ll save considerable money and calories — plus, these devices impact your carbon footprint less than running the oven.
2. A Pizza Stone
Wait a second — weren’t you reading an article on healthy investments? Who said that pizza couldn’t be healthy? You can put all kinds of nutritious veggies and lean proteins on top.
Are you among the many aficionados of the cauliflower-crust craze? If so, say goodbye to burnt edges — a stone heats the crust evenly so that you don’t end up with a blackened perimeter. Plus, you can experiment with various flours, not only the nutrient-deprived white version.
3. A Grill
Another way to elevate your dietary game is to get into grilling — yes, even in the winter. Think of it this way: you won’t need to swat flies or wipe sweat out of your eyes.
Grilling drains the excess fat away from foods as they cook, unlike pan-frying, which leaves them simmering in their juices. If you live somewhere brutal where 3-feet of snow is the norm, you can find countertop versions that use an inclined plane to whisk away excess oils.
4. A Veggie Slicer/Dicer
You know that you should eat more vegetables — they’re low in calories and high in nutrition. Different colored varieties present a host of phytonutrients that boost your health and well-being in multiple ways. However, it’s a hassle chopping onions, peppers and radishes by hand.
A veggie slicer takes the pain out of food prep and makes you look like Martha Stewart when you serve up perfectly ribboned zucchini. You’ll find you eat more salads during the week when you have everything you need chopped and portioned in individual stay-fresh containers.
5. A Teakettle With Infuser
According to a study in the European Journal of Protective Cardiology, drinking tea at least three times weekly correlates to a longer and healthier life. It slashes cardiovascular risk and mortality from all causes.
You or a lucky gift recipient can create custom herbal blends with a model that includes a diffuser. Plus, you can invest in looseleaf varieties that cut down on waste by eliminating bags.
6. A Fitness Watch
How are your blood pressure and resting heart rate? Today’s smartwatches can check your vital signs with a tap of the screen. Some even serve as a portable EKG if you have heart issues.
Fortunately, you can get one to suit nearly every budget and lifestyle. If you have deep pockets, why not pick up one for the entire family? You can have daily contests to see who can count the most steps.
7. An App Subscription
There’s an app for nearly everything, and fitness is no exception. From HIIT to Zumba to yoga, you can find a ton of apps to get your workout groove on in the privacy of home.
Please don’t stop at your physical health. If you don’t have the time or the money to lie on a therapist’s couch, you can find apps to improve your mental health. Some provide daily journaling prompts or guided meditations, while others virtually connect you with a licensed counselor.
8. A Bicycle
Are you looking to get in better shape and reduce your carbon footprint? You know, it’s okay to ask for a bicycle under the tree even if your 8th holiday season has long since passed.
If you live in a hilly location, look for an electric hybrid that can help you power up steep slopes. That way, you can use your new ride to commute to work during the summer months without getting all sweaty.
9. A New Pair of Tennies
If you don’t protect your feet when you exercise, you could end up with knee or back pain. You need shock absorption for activities like running and HIIT.
Give the gift of new sneakers to yourself or someone you love. If possible, book an appointment to get a professional fitting so that you have the arch support or extra width you need for maximum comfort.
10. A Windowsill Herb Garden
Herbs do your body good. Scientists are investigating oregano oil as a treatment for MRSA because it doesn’t spur antibiotic resistance like current remedies.
You can bring the goodness of fresh herbs to your or a loved one’s cooking with a windowsill herb garden. Plus, tending it counts as a mindfulness activity, which is beneficial for your mental health.
11. A Sunrise Alarm Clock
Does someone you love have seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? If so, trying to get out of bed in the dark may prove impossible.
A sunrise alarm clock imitates the real deal by gently illuminating the room like daybreak. They’ll feel fresh and alert — at least until they try to make their way to the car via starlight.
Invest in Your Mental and Physical Health This Holiday Season With These Ideas
You probably have to spend money on the holidays, even if you would rather play Ebenezer Scrooge. Why not invest in the mental and physical health of those you love — or yourself?