Finding a holiday gift for the health aficionado in your life can be challenging. If you give them a typical holiday gift basket of goodies, they will probably not see past the nutrition labels of that calorie bomb, and a gift certificate to a place like Whole Foods doesn’t exactly scream effort. Below are some alternatives I’ve tried that could make for a healthier and more thoughtful gift this year.
What it is: Shroom TECH™ Sport from Onnit is an energy supplement that provides cellular energy as opposed to stimulant-based energy like you get from coffee or pre-workout drinks. That also means no jitters or crashes later on. It’s made up of natural ingredients that help your body utilize oxygen better, which will definitely help in the gym.
Why it’s a good gift: This is the only thing I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot of supplements) that doesn’t make me feel like Superman for 30 minutes and then have me turn into a narcoleptic Clark Kent for the rest of my workout. It’s a more level experience that lasts much longer. It even works for a low intensity activity like golf, where I’ll have as much energy on the last few holes as I do on the first tee. If your friend does any form of exercise that involves an increased heart rate, they will like this. If they don’t, Onnit has a money-back guarantee policy.
Warrior Bar What it is: A great alternative for beef jerky lovers and people who want a tasty snack without a bunch of additives. The Warrior Bar is meat bar made of prairie-fed buffalo, cranberries and pepper blend. It has about half the amount of sodium that an equivalent serving (2 oz.) of Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky has. It also tastes a lot better, but then again, taste is individual.
Why it’s a good gift: Anyone who enjoys healthy snacks and tastier options than dry protein bars will enjoy this. It’s great to bring along on a hike or a road trip, or stash some in your office drawers. The one negative thing is the price. You get 12 bars for $50, so a little over $4 per bar. Definitely not cheap, but it’s a great product and if you’re used to buying organic produce or grass-fed beef you already know it unfortunately usually cost more to eat well.
NatureBox What it is: NatureBox is a food subscription company that delivers amazingly tasty and healthy snacks to your home. There are more than 100 different snacks to choose from when customizing your box, so there will definitely be something there for everyone. The snacks contain no hydrogenated oils or artificial colors or sweeteners and contain 200 calories or less per 30g serving.
Why it’s a good gift: The snacks are insanely delicious and you can eat them (almost) guilt-free. The Jalapeno Cashews and Chili Munch Mix are personal favorites. Since you get to choose your snacks and each box comes with five different bags of goodies, you get to try a lot of different things — a pretty good deal for $20. I’m usually not a fan of subscription models when it comes to food and supplements, but this is an exception. This is a solid gift to give someone and will probably balance out all the unhealthy foods we tend to eat during the holidays.
What it is: The Shakti mat is an acupressure mat that has proven to increase blood circulation, reduce back pain and stimulate relaxation. It has 6,000 spikes spread out on small plastic disks that will put pressure on many of the 100 pressure points on your back as you lay down on it. It’s not very comfortable the first few times, but after a while your back gets used to the spikes and you can feel the effects.
Why it’s a good gift: It really works. You will feel more relaxed and it does alleviate back pain. I was very skeptic before trying it out many years ago, but now it’s my go-to whenever I have any type of soreness in my back. If you’re willing to suffer through the first few minutes of discomfort you will start feeling your back warm up from the increased blood circulation and your body relaxes. If you know someone who’s into yoga and meditation or battles with moderate back pain occasionally, this is a great gift (assuming they don’t have a low pain threshold). You can find the best deals on Amazon for $15 to $35 for a mat, or buy them directly from their website.
DoctorInsole™ What it is: DoctorInsole™ makes insoles that are very similar to what you’d get from your doctor, but they’re much cheaper and more comfortable. They’re also durable and won’t tear in a few weeks, unlike some other products on the market. They come in different models based on if you plan on wearing them in workout shoes or your regular shoes.
Why it’s a good gift: Unless you suffer from chronic foot pain or have a very specific condition, these insoles will probably do wonders for your feet. I haven’t had plantar fasciitis a single time since I first started wearing them five months ago, and that’s priceless. If you have a friend who likes to run a lot but have stopped due to foot pain, these insoles will probably get them back out on the running trails. They cost $80, but you can easily get 15% off by just following them on social media.
Swopper What it is: Swopper is an ergonomic chair, or stool, that makes you sit up straight and maintain a good posture. You can also move in any direction on it (up, down, forward, back and to the sides). The point of that is to keep you moving around even while sitting for long periods of time. It’s supposed to improve your circulation and activate your muscles more than a regular chair.
Why it’s a good gift: This is probably the most fun chair/stool I’ve ever sat on. Someone who sits all day would get a kick out of this, assuming they’re mindful of their posture and is in the market for an ergonomic chair. The chairs are very expensive, however, so you need to have a big budget to be able to afford putting this under their Christmas tree.