It’s a joy to give gifts to others — and taking into account any health issues or food preferences can make gifts more meaningful.
Basic gifts of health
Big ticket items that can help someone suffering with pain issues typically address preparation, time issue and the many steps of cooking. Gifts can include food processors which perform chopping, pureeing, and mixing, and blenders — full-size and hand-held. These items come in a variety of price points usually based on home versus commercial grade, and the features they offer.
A slow cooker (the most recognized name is crock pot) can be a game changer for almost anyone. Once you assemble the ingredients, you literally load the pot, set the cooking process for fast (4 hours) or all-day slow cook, and you’re done. That means a lot less manipulation of food and the ability to walk away and let it cook. Crock-Pot is a well-recognized name in this category, but there are many brands.
Crock-Pot 7 quart; $24.99 (Target online or in store)
Pressure cookers are getting a lot of attention, too, with the Instant Pot the trending product in this category. This device is also a slow cooker, and additionally offers features including rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer. Pressure cooking allows you to cook certain foods really quickly.
InstaPot 8 quart; $111 (online Amazon)
T-fal 6.3 quart; $59 (online Amazon)
Helpful kitchen gadgets for arthritis
Who doesn’t love a bagel? But slicing one can be incredibly difficult for someone with arthritis or ongoing hand pain. Limitation of movement can be another hindrance when trying to cut thick items like a bagel.
The Larien Bagel Guillotine allows safe, quick easy bagel slicing; $24.95 (Amazon)
The Hoan Bagel Slicer; $14.95 (Amazon)
Another hot trend that’s perfect for someone who wants to eat healthy is a spiralizer. These gadgets let you make “pasta-like” vegetables that can swap out for traditional carb-heavy pasta. They can also be used to make incredibly beautiful salads with long “threads” of vegetables. Though there are hand held versions, a free-standing model with a turning wheel that manipulates the vegetable is best for someone with hand issues.
Wielding a garlic press can be nearly impossible for someone struggling with arthritic hands. Luckily you can now buy garlic gloves peeled, but then what?
Chef’n GarlicZoom Garlic Chopper allows you to load the chamber and go. You control the consistency of the garlic; $11.96 (Amazon)
A slicer and dicer can be an incredibly helpful tool, but many require that you grip the actual fruit or vegetable or grip a holder. The Home Shopping Network (HSN) offers the one where you press the produce pieces through the top and a built-in (changeable) grid chops or slices the pieces. You do need to have the hand strength necessary to press the top down.
Kitchen Master Multipurpose Slicer/Dicer with Peeler Tool; $29.95 (HSN online)
If you’re buying for someone who is vegan
If you like to personalize your gifts, then gifting to someone who is fully committed to eating vegan can be challenging. Consider a cookbook, some special vegetable seasonings, or create a basket of assorted seasonal fruits and natural, unprocessed nuts. Here are some gift ideas:
The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook: 100 Easy, Healthy Recipes That Are Ready When You Are by Toni Okamoto pairs perfectly with a slow cooker or is the perfect gift if they already have one. ($12.71 on Amazon)
Seasonings can help take a mundane dish and turn it into a zesty and delectable meal. Sabatino Tartufi truffle seasonings made Oprah’s best gift list this year. You can buy just one of the many seasoning offerings or a gift pack. These blends can take a vegetable dish or pasta to a whole new level.
Truffle Zest; $10.99
Truffles Seasoning Collection; $54.90
Consider creating a gift basket with packages of raw seeds, apples and nut butters. MaraNatha Foods has several vegan options including Banana Peanut, Organic Creamy Peanut, and Organic Crunchy. This low-sugar, low sodium nut butter offers 7 grams of protein per serving.
MaraNatha Foods Nut Butters; $14.58 for a two pack (Amazon)
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils and often used in vegan prep and cooking. Choose a favorite brand and then pair with an olive oil mister. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer in Brushed Aluminum is a sleek, well priced option. Note: Olive oil price is variable.
Misto Olive Oil Mister; $9.99 (Bed, Bath & Beyond online)
Think big handles and special angled handles for easier grasp, and tools that make working in the kitchen and standing in one spot easier. Bowls and pots that have a spout for pouring can be helpful too. Consider a cooling towel that can be worn around the neck to help cool during cooking.
The Dr. Cool cooling towel comes in dozens of colors and patterns. You simply wet it, wring it and wear it to cool down; $14.99
A rotary grater that can handle grating cheese, chocolate, nuts and more can be an invaluable tool to make grating easier.
Cucina Carina Stainless Rotary Grater grates a variety of different foods and comes with different drums that can grate coarse to fine. $18.99 (Amazon)
The American Diabetes Association offers wonderful gift recommendations. SET: Go Healthy Travel Plate with Lid and What Do I Eat Now? The meal plan guide comes along with the precise portion plate and lid; $19.95 (online)
Steaming vegetables and other foods is a healthy cooking method. Fresh and dried herbs can be added during the process to infuse flavor without extra calories. Traditional steaming uses a perforated basket in a pot, but there are now digital steamers that come in two- and three-tier versions.
Hamilton Beach (Two Tier) 5.5 Quart Digital Steamer; $29.92 (online at Walmart)
Elite Platinum 3 Tier Electric Food Steamer $39.99 (online at Target)
Drinking water and healthy beverages is important, but sometimes you want to jazz up the flavor of plain H2O. Infusion pitchers let you put fruit or vegetables like sliced cucumber into a chamber, allowing the essence to permeate and flavor the water.
World Market Glass Infusion Dispenser; $24.99 (online)
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Known as The HealthGal, expert contributor Amy Hendel is a popular medical and lifestyle reporter, nutrition and fitness expert, columnist, and brand ambassador, as well as a health coach. Trained as a physician assistant, she maintains a health coach private practice in New York and Los Angeles. Author of The Four Habits of Healthy Families, you can find her on Twitter @HealthGal1103 and on Facebook at TheHealthGal. Her personal mantra is “Fix it first with food, fitness, and lifestyle.”