The festive season is a time for giving. Yet many of the edible gifts we give may be recipes for disease further along. Why not present a loved one with something tasty and that benefits their health?
Healthy food tips
Whether you create or purchase a food gift, here are a few things to consider.
First, replace refined ingredients with whole foods that have sweetening or textural functions. For example, swap sugar for medjool dates or prunes, avocado for margarine and white for wholemeal flour.
Second, add nuts and/or seeds, especially if making sweets. These high antioxidant foods dampen the glucose raising effect of carbohydrates they are prepared with.
Finally, wrap or package your edible gift in a cute container and tag it with a personal message such as “made with love.” You can get inspirational ideas on social media platforms such as Pinterest.
12 delicious ideas for giving
- Arabic gift box with fresh dates or dried figs stuffed with nuts
- A jar of home-made pesto (try my Sicilian almond and sage pesto*)
- Gourmet herb and spice blends (eg, Australian native spices), Baharat (Lebanese 7 spice) or Chermoula (Morrocan) spice mix
- Chocolate brownies with walnuts* packed in a funky old-fashioned tin
- A wooden crate of cherries or other prime fruit in season
- A healthy homemade Christmas cake*
- Dark chocolate (85 per cent) with interesting flavours (eg, cardamom)
- Herbal tea blends or your own dried organic leaves from the garden (eg, lemon verbena, gift wrapped in small cloth bags)
- Smooth caramel date sauce* poured into nice, re-usable mason jars
- A freshly baked tray of apple, sour cherry and walnut strudel* (gift the tray too)
- Your favourite homemade breakfast muesli blend with exotic dried fruit
- Sweet treat nut squares* individually wrapped with parchment paper and string.
* From Food as Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health, by Sue Radd, awarded “Best Health and Nutrition Book” by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. See www.foodasmedicine.cooking.
Cardamom scented prune log
A treat or gift you can make for a friend, ideal to accompany a cup of tea. Prunes are rich in antioxidants and viscous dietary fibre to help lower an elevated cholesterol.
Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 0 mins | Serves: 36
- 4 tbsp shredded coconut
- 200 g pistachio nuts
- 500 g pitted prunes
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- Cut four sheets of foil/cling wrap (approx. 30 cm x 30 cm). Place on bench and sprinkle a tablespoon of coconut towards one end of each sheet.
- Place pistachios into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add prunes and cardamom to the processor and blend until a thick and sticky mixture forms and comes together like dough.
- Transfer the prune mixture to the bowl with chopped nuts and stir until well combined.
- Divide mixture into four even-sized balls (about 170 g each). Then, taking each ball in turn, roll between your hands into a log approximately 18 cm long and place onto a prepared sheet and roll over the coconut to coat. Wrap logs tightly and secure ends.
- Refrigerate logs for at least 2 hours, then unwrap and cut into 1-cm pieces. Makes approximately 72 pieces (36 serves). Place pieces into a container and line each layer with baking paper. Store in the fridge for up to six months.
- Swap cardamom for cinnamon or chai spices.
- Freeze pieces for a more chewy texture.
- Chop pieces and add to porridge.
PER 2 PIECES: energy 281 kJ (67 cal); protein 1 g; fat 3 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 5 g; fibre 2 g; calcium 13 mg; iron 0.4 mg; sodium 2 mg.