Eat, Drink and Be Healthy

Jennifer LaRue Huget: Gift ideas for healthful eating

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nobody wants to unwrap a book about dieting, right?

But there are lots of lovely presents to give a person who's looking to eat more healthfully during the coming year. Here are a few.

Beaba Babycook. If I had a baby in my life, I'd be all over this European baby-food maker, which turns fresh, healthful vegetables, fruits, meats and other ingredients into pure, preservative- and additive-free meals for wee ones. Yum. $149.95 at

"Cake Wrecks." Here's a way to enjoy cake without eating a bite. Jen Yates's book documenting professional bakery cakes gone horribly wrong will have you laughing so hard you'll forget to eat. Plus, laughing for 10 or 15 minutes burns between 10 and 40 calories, research shows. $11.70 at

Cooking Light subscription. This is my favorite source of inspiration for preparing food that's gorgeous and delicious. You'll never feel deprived eating food made from these recipes, and every issue contains valuable information about nutrition, fitness and taking care of yourself. The magazine's new design makes it extra inviting and readable, too. $15 for 12 issues at

Nine-inch plates. Alex Bogusky notes in his book "The 9-Inch 'Diet' " that switching from your standard 12-inch dinner plates to the formerly standard nine-inch size can save calories throughout the year and help you better gauge healthful portions. When shopping (at such retailers as Target and eBay), be aware that this smaller dish is often called a salad plate. Set of four Provence salad plates, $34 at

Old-time gum sampler. As I wrote recently, chewing gum can help you lose weight and keep it off. But most varieties in the grocery store have artificial sweeteners, which many of us don't care for. Toss some old-fashioned sugar-sweetened gum in everyone's stocking instead. $14.95 for 15 five-stick packs (five each of three flavors) at

Journal and pen. Keeping a food journal is one of the most-recommended means of keeping your food consumption in check and identifying unhealthful eating patterns -- so you can fix them! You're more likely to stick with journaling if you like the way your blank book looks and feels in your hands. Barnes & Noble has a varied supply, and they're cheap. Toss in one of the new, bleed-free Sharpies for more writing pleasure. Journals from $5 at Sharpie is $2.49 at

"Mindfulness for Beginners"

audio CD. Jon Kabat-Zinn has helped Americans grasp the concept of mindfulness: being fully aware in every waking moment. This can help you eat much more healthfully as you pay close attention to what you eat and when you eat it. $13.57 at

OXO Good Grips ginger peeler. Adding spices such as ginger to your diet boosts flavor without adding calories. As a bonus, ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help ward off nausea. But it's never been much fun to peel until this gadget came along. $7 at

Mindless Cues spoon rest. Cornell University professor Brian Wansink's research shows that serving food at the table boosts overeating, while folks who fill their plates at the stove eat less. A spoon rest reminding you to serve in the kitchen might help. $14 at

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