Homemade holiday treats have the unfortunate reputation of being unhealthy. This year, instead of making cookies your go-to homemade gift, consider giving the gift of good nutrition. Need some ideas? Here are 7 healthy, homemade gifts for everyone from your nosy but nice neighbors to your overworked mail carriers.
1. Herb or Spice-Infused Olive Oil
With just a few ingredients you can recreate a homemade version of those fancy flavored oils found at specialty food shops. Customize this gift by adding your own herbs, spices or aromatics and turn any good cooking oil worthy of bread dipping, sautéing or drizzling over salads, pasta, and seafood. Include serving suggestions on a gift tag for the lucky recipients.
2. Homemade Granola
You can’t go wrong with good ol’ homemade granola in our book. A big batch will fill several small (and inexpensive) mason jars which can be decorated with ribbon, and even a small recipe card with serving suggestions (such as sprinkled on top of Greek yogurt) for your lucky recipients. Feel free to choose any recipe that tickles your tastebuds but we love this coconut-quinoa-hazelnut combo around the holidays.
3. DIY Vanilla Extract
Any cook would love to receive a jar of homemade vanilla extract, and as far as DIY gifts go this one is about as simple as it gets. All it takes is two ingredients–vanilla beans and alcohol–plus some time for the alcohol to extract the flavor from the beans. Infusing times range from one to three months depending on the amount of vanilla beans used and strength of flavor desired but don’t let that deter you. Simply include a “Best After” date on the tag and tell your recipients it’ll be worth the wait!
4. Instant Oatmeal Mix
Give the gift of a quick and nutritious breakfast with a healthier, homemade instant oatmeal mix. This easy DIY gift is great for pretty much everyone from your children’s school teachers to dorm-dwelling college students. This version contains a fraction of the amount of sugar that packaged varieties typically contain. Put your own twist on this recipe with your favorite combination of dried fruit, nuts and spices and include cooking directions on a festive gift tag.
5. Chocolate-Dipped Mixed Nuts
A little bit of dark chocolate goes a long way, especially when paired with nuts that contain healthy fats, protein and fiber. Once you master the art of the half-dip, put your own personal spin on these delicious treats by sprinkling with a hint of sea salt or a dash of cinnamon. Once cooled, wrap in small cellophane bags and tie them up with a bow!
6. Homemade Fancy Mustard
Homemade mustard requires just a handful of ingredients and makes a wonderful hostess gift around the holidays. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients and glass jars, this spicy spread takes less than 10 minutes of hands-on time. Just be sure to soak those seeds ahead of time. After 2 to 3 days in a little bit of apple cider vinegar they’ll be blender-ready.
7. DIY Spice Mixes
From a basic pumpkin pie spice to meat-worhty seasoning blends, homemade spice mixes can be a quick yet personal gift for home cooks, as well as holiday party hosts and hostesses. If you need some ideas, here are 17 delicious combinations and some festive dip mixes to get you started!