It’s the season for giving, and there’s no gift that keeps on giving like one that’s made with love and care. These healthy edible gifts will nourish with superfood ingredients, like Macadamia nuts, dark chocolate, goji berries and anti-inflammatory spices, while still feeling like a decadent treat. Whether you’re looking to gift a Paleo foodie friend, the vegan hostess with the mostest, or a co-worker who’s on a vanilla kick, we have something for every Secret Santa and white elephant on your list. Just make sure you know who’s nutty or spice!
13 Heartwarming Handmade Gift Ideas
1. Healthier Homemade Limoncello
When life gives you lemons…make limoncello! This classic Italian drink is perfect for infusing some holiday cheer in the dark days of winter. To prepare this yuletide drink, steep lemon peel in grain alcohol for at least 20 days before sweetening it with low-glycemic agave nectar and zero-calorie Stevia extract. Traditionally, limoncello is a post-dinner aperitif to help with digestion and served chilled.
Recipe: Jessica / Desserts with Benefits
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2. Healthy Almond and Cinnamon Christmas Star Cookies
Attending a cookie swap? Bake a batch of these festive star cookies, made with ground almonds, vanilla powder, coconut sugar and cinnamon. The vegan-friendly treats also feature maple syrup to keep them moist and give them heartwarming flavor. Chia seeds substitute eggs to help bind the dry ingredients. We can’t think of a healthier handmade gift idea to wish for!
Recipe: Lynn Hoefer / Heavlynn Healthy
3. Paleo Cookie Mix in a Jar
If Santa decided to go Paleo one day, he would approve of this gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix. A blend of almond meal and coconut flour boosts the cookies with healthy fats, protein and fiber, while infusing it with a sweet, nutty flavor. When it comes time to bake, all your gift recipient needs to do is add coconut oil and water. Prepare several batches a few days in advance of gifting and decorate the jars with ribbons and stickers. Enlist the help of your elves (aka your little ones). They’ll love to get on Santa’s “good” list!
Recipe: Megan Gilmore / Detoxinista
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4. Superfood Chocolate Bark
Charlie Brown on Christmas once said, “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we bet this dark chocolate bark will cure all holiday blues. Packed with goji berries, orange zest and mulberries, the tantalizing flavors will turn every Scrooge into a glowing Rudolph the Reindeer.
Recipe: McKel Hill / Nutrition Stripped
5. Spice Mix Gift Jars
Spice mixes are expensive, so when you can save a friend major bucks and give them flavorful meals for life, it can only mean good karma. This Oh She Glows recipe calls for smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, dried basil, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Store the spice mix in mini tea jars, tied with a bow. ‘Tis the seasoning!
Recipe: Angela Liddon / Oh She Glows
6. Homemade Vanilla Extract
As the flavor base of many dishes, from desserts to overnight oats, a little vanilla goes a long way. And this small gift will, too. Simply cut vanilla beans in half and place them in each jar. Funnel in vodka, bourbon or your choice of alcohol and let the mixture sit for at least two weeks. Be sure to shake the jars occasionally. On the day of your party, hand these mini favors out to guests.
Recipe: Natasha Kravchuk / Natasha’s Kitchen
7. Baked Whole-Wheat Jelly Donuts
Latkes aren’t the only foods you can bring to a Hanukkah feast, though we love a potato pancake or two. These whole-wheat jelly donuts are a healthier take on sufganiyot (Jewish donuts), which are deep-fried in oil. Instead of frying them, this recipe blogger lightly brushes the donuts with coconut oil and then bakes them in the oven for eight to ten minutes. Fill the donuts with a little jelly and finish off with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Recipe: Neta / Neta Cooks
RELATED: 8 Healthier Hanukkah Recipes
8. Cranberry Holiday Jam
Cranberries and pears are totally our jam, especially during the holidays. Seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest, this fruity spread is great with whole-grain muffins, oatmeal and just about anything a morning Grinch desires.
Recipe: Daniel J. van Ackere / Foolproof Preserving
9. Spiced Holiday Nuts
Making spiced nuts at home is way easier and faster than making a shopping trip to a crowded mall to buy boxes of chocolate. In this simple recipe, you place nuts in a slow cooker with the spices and other ingredients. Let the nuts cook for about two hours, or until they’re dry and the moistures from the spicy-and-sweet mixture are absorbed.
Recipe: Kelly Smith / The Nourishing Home
10. Peppermint Bark Popcorn with Toasted Coconut
If you’re looking for healthy party finger foods, popcorn makes a delicious whole-grain snack. The combination of toasted coconut, sea salt, dark chocolate and crushed candy cane will satisfy salty and sweet cravings with one handful. Prepare a big batch and wrap it in some parchment paper in a festive tin.
Recipe: Lisa Lin / Healthy Nibbles and Bits
11. Healthy Cookie Dough in a Mason Jar
This healthy dessert is made for the nutrition-conscious eater with a sweet tooth and a weakness for cookie dough. The good news is you just need five ingredients to prepare the mix: oat flour, salt, cinnamon, pecans and dark chocolate chips. In a note attached to the jar, remind your recipient to mix the dry ingredients with a banana, peanut butter and honey.
Recipe: Jules Shepard / gf Jules
RELATED: 12 Healthier Holiday Cocktail Recipes
12. Holiday Chai Cranberry Nut Loaf Cake
When you combine the delicious spices of chai tea with dried cranberries and nuts, you get this heartwarming loaf. The comforting aroma of the spices is sure to ease the stress of the party planning for a busy hostess. Wrap it in parchment paper and tie it with a festive ribbon and poinsettia for a jolly touch.
Recipe: Ella Leche / Pure Ella
13. Flavored Salts
You don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate this set of three flavored salts, which can also be individual stocking stuffers. Red wine sea salt pairs well with steak and veggies, while the rosemary lemon sea salt tastes great with baked chicken and fish. For someone who likes to kick the flavor up a bit, consider the Sriracha lime salt.
Recipe: Meredith Steele / Steele House Kitchen
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Originally published on November 24, 2017. Updated on December 13, 2021
All images via Shutterstock