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Healthy Balance

18 Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas, Plus a Giveaway!

The holiday shopping season is here. Are you looking for some healthier gift ideas this year? We talked to Cindy Parnell, MEd, RCEP, an exercise physiologist at UVA, and Gretchen Verrilli, a Heart Center exercise physiology intern, to get their ideas for you before you hit the stores.

Make the holidays healthier with these gift ideas.Healthy Food Ideas

You don’t have to give cookies and cakes:

  • Healthy gourmet foods (salmon, olive oil, herbs and spices)
  • Healthy cookbooks
  • Healthy gift baskets (ones with things like fruits and heart-healthy nuts)
  • Homemade healthy baked goods

Exercise and Outdoors

These gifts encourage healthy habits:

  • Yoga items (mats, DVDs or classes)
  • Exercise books
  • Personal training sessions
  • Workout bags and clothes
  • Gym memberships


Fun ways to get moving:

  • Give a season pass to a zoo or a museum to encourage walking.


Stress relief is good for the mind and the body:

  • Foot spas
  • Massage items

Stocking Stuffers

Small gifts are good for gift exchanges with coworkers and friends or to stick into stockings:

  • Pedometers
  • Health and fitness magazine subscriptions
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Reusable lunch bags to encourage packing healthy lunches

Shopping and Walking

When you do go shopping, don’t spend a lot of time searching for a close-up parking space. Park farther away and enjoy the extra walking. (You may not have a choice on this one if it’s a busy day!)

Shopping Spree Giveaway!

Note: This contest is closed.

We’re giving away a $100 Visa gift card! Enter and your next shopping trip could be a little easier!

How Do You Win?

Leave a comment below and let us know your tip for healthy holiday shopping. You can also share healthy eating and exercise tips or any other healthy tips for our readers. Each person who comments will be entered to win the $100 gift card!

Contest Rules

No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase or payment of any kind will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited. To enter, leave a comment and your email address on this blog post by 12 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, November 21, 2012. One entry per person. Open to legal U.S. residents 18 years or older who live in the cities of Charlottesville, Waynesboro or Staunton or the counties of Albemarle, Nelson, Greene, Fluvanna, Augusta, Orange or Louisa. One (1) prize will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries. Odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. Winners will be notified via email. Winner is responsible for complying with any applicable federal or state laws pertaining to taxes, Medicaid and Medicare. Winner agrees to have his or her name shared via this website and other UVA Health System websites.

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