If you're still looking for that little something to gift a parent you love (or even yourself) to feed kids well and promote a healthy lifestyle during the holidays and beyond, look no further. The 12 items below are likely to fit the bill. They are registered dietitian-approved, and they're just the kind of gifts that—you guessed—keep on giving! Enjoy!
A favorite new gadget that Sharon Palmer, RD loves is a mandolin vegetable slicer. She says, "I use an OXO® Handheld Flat Slicer and love it. It doesn't take up much room in the kitchen, it's under $15, and you can easily slice vegetables, and even create ribbon salads with it. It's also great for when you want a large amount of vegetables thinly sliced for something like stir-fry, but you don't feel like getting out the food processor and cleaning it again."
Wok this way
Dana Magee, RD loves the T-fal Nonstick Jumbo Wok to make stir frys. According to Magee, "You may think this is a one-trick product, but by varying ingredients, sauces and protein-rich foods in your stir-fry you could easily use the wok once a week! Stir-frys are a great meal staple to use up any produce in your fridge that is remaining from meals throughout the week or are nearing the end of their shelf life. You can easily use the wok to stir fry use chicken, lean beef, tofu, or shrimp. Other uses include making scrambled eggs and omelets or sautéed pasta dishes."
Go for a spin
According to McGee, "When you get a salad spinner like the Zyliss Smart Touch Salad Spinner (my favorite), you'll wonder how you ever lived without a salad spinner! A salad spinner gives you the ease of rinsing lettuce and drying it efficiently. No more soggy salads! Drying lettuce can be a lot of work and may be deterring you from creating a host of leafy green salads that can be used for simple pairings with lunch or dinner or stand-alone entrees with some lean protein foods. I like to wash a head of lettuce in the beginning of the week and store in a gallon sized Ziploc® bag in the fridge for easy access (eg to add to salads). Other uses for the salad spinner include drying kale or fresh basil leaves, or using the spinner as a colander to rinse grapes to name a few!"
Do a freeze dance
Registered dietitian nutritionist Kate Myerson recommends re-purposing ice cube trays to freeze a batch of rice, quinoa, beans, or lentils. "When you need to throw a quick meal together, grab a few cubes and add to any meal. You can even microwave individual portions as a quick side so everyone gets what they want," she says. Myerson's trays of choice are the No-Spill Ice Cube Trays by OXO® that have tops for freezing and storing multiple batches.
Get the dish
Registered dietitian nutritionist Catherine Hains loves Fresh Baby My Plate Dinnerware Sets for kids. Each colorful plate contains 4 divided sections that are appropriately sized for fruit, vegetables, protein foods and grains. According to Haines, "The plates make learning how to eat nutritiously educational and fun! And they're not just for toddlers...even my 11-year-old likes them."
Julie Swift, MPH, RDN, CDE loves the Thermos Foogo Phases Leak Proof Stainless Steel Straw Bottle (10-ounce). She says, "This straw cup is great because it keeps beverages cold for about 8 hours. It also won't leak while closed, which is a big plus."
Read 'em (without weeping)
To help parents raise healthy eaters and help their kids develop a healthy relationship with food, registered dietitian Michaela Ballmann recommends an all-time RD-favorite book, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook by Ellyn Satter. As noted in the book's description, "Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family demonstrates Satter's dictum that "your positive feelings about food and eating will do more for your health than adhering to a set of rules about what to eat and what not to eat." Amen to that!
Registered dietitian Melinda Hemmelgarn highly recommends Sylvia's Spinach by Katherine Pryor. According to Hemmelgarn, "Sylvia's Spinach is about a little girl who doesn't like to eat spinach until (of course) she plants her own in a school garden. The book made me both laugh and cry, and this is a book for kids! And the illustrations really make the story come to life." Hemmelgarm also recommends several books by registered dietitian Connie Evers including Nutrition Fun with Broc & Roll. "It's great for parents and teachers alike," she says. (I personally love all of Evers' work and recommend checking out her fantastic website, Nutrition for Kids.)
Feel the pressure
Last year, registered dietitian Hope Warshaw received a Fagor Pressure Cooker as a holiday gift to help her realize her healthy eating goal of both eating/feeding more beans and using all dry beans as our source of beans. She stays inspired and motivated to use it (as does another dietitian, Tammy Sakanashi) by using a book by Jill Nussinow called The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Book. According to Sakanashi, "This book introduced me to pressure cooking...and I love it! Our family has been eating so many more legumes now that I can make them so quickly. I've even mastered using the pressure cooker on our electric stove. I especially love the white bean soup recipe—and have already made it twice!"
Use a kit to get fit
I'd be remiss to not mention at least one item for your holiday gift list to keep your family fit! FitKit is a great fitness find for families. This all-in-one fitness solution is portable and easily fits into your overnight bag or suitcase for your family's weekend getaway or extended vacation. Each FitKit includes exercise bands, a jump rope and a pedometer—all the tools needed for a complete full-body workout parents and their older kids (aged 5 and up) can enjoy. The website also provides a 250+ exercise library for strength, cardio and flexibility.
Choose a Baby Food Maker
Full disclosure: I received a FitKit from its co-creator, Amie Hoff, several months ago with no promise of a review or mention. I received no other products or goods or financial compensation for mentioning any of the products in this post. Happy holidays!