Diet Detective’s Healthy Holiday Gifts for 2009

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective’s for 2009

We searched the country to find interesting, healthful gifts for you to give your family, friends and co-workers to help them live a healthier, happier life ­and here they are:

Healthy and Motivational Books
One of the best and most practical cookbooks out there is Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories by Lisa Lillien (St. Martin’s, 2009), available on for $9.98. Lisa also just came out with Hungry Girl Chew the Right Thing: Supreme Makeovers for 50 Foods You Crave (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009), which is a recipe card set available on for $11.55. Are you old school? The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2010 (Family Health Publications, 2009) pocket calorie guide by Allan Borushek is a nice gift for those who are interested in knowing the calorie content of what they eat. Available for $8.99 at

Have a friend or family member with a newborn? How about Feeding Baby Green (Jossey-Bass, 2009) by noted pediatrician Alan Greene, M.D., on sale at for $11.53. Dr. Greene (author of Raising Baby Green and the famed Web site has included everything a parent needs to know about creating healthy, nutritious meals for their babies and toddlers. Great Races, Incredible Places: 100+ Fantastic Runs Around the World (Bantam, 2009) by Kimi Puntillo is a neat book for the runner/traveler in your group. Puntillo has run almost everywhere that matters, including the Great Wall Marathon, and the book tells you about all the interesting places in the world that you can run and see. It’s $10.88 on Amazon. And if you have a bicycle enthusiast, there’s Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities by Jeff Mapes (Oregon State University, 2009). Mapes writes compellingly about how the growing urban bike culture of people using bicycles to shop and commute to work is altering many American cities. Available for $13.57 on

Have a few foodies to buy for? Check out The Harvest Eating Cookbook: More than 200 Recipes for Cooking with Seasonal Local Ingredients (Running Press, 2009) by Keith Snow. It’s a beautiful book with fantastic recipes that encourages readers to cook with fresh, seasonal foods and whole, natural ingredients. Available on for $19.77.

Slimming Clothing
Miraclebody Jeans by the makers of Miraclesuit can slim you down just by putting them on. The jeans are made with twice as much Spandex as the average jean and have a canvas strip that actually holds in your tummy for a very slimming look. The contoured waist assures that there will be no “muffin” tops. The price is $110, and they’re available at .

Foodies Baby Rib Spaghetti Tanks: Healthy living never looked so good. Wearing clothing with healthful fruits and vegetables and cute or funny sayings helps keep you motivated. Plus, you’ll be setting an example and showing off your healthful lifestyle. And they’re really adorable. One features a peace sign made out of berries with the words “Have-A-Peace.” Other favorites include an image of an upside-down banana with the words “Downward Dog” below it, a celery stalk that says “Stalker,” and beets that say “Heart Beet.” Recent research published in the Journal of Health Promotion shows that using visual cues ­such as FoodTees ­can help you make better health choices. In addition to the tanks, sweatshirts, as well as long- and short-sleeve tees, are available for women, men, children, toddlers and babies (onesies). (Product is affiliated with Available from starting at $22.

Alphabet Plates: “Loves Broccoli” is an adorable customizable plate that will help motivate your children to eat healthfully. Let’s say your child’s name is Jessica; you can order a personalized plate or placemat that says “Jessica Loves Broccoli” or “Jessica Loves Watermelon.” The 10-inch melamine plates are BPA-free and made in the USA. The company also offers loads of other non-health related items. Prices start at $22 at

Think the iPod is a bit too complicated? Looking for something with great sound that you can buy and listen to right out of the box? The tiny Sansa Clip+ by SanDisk is a wonderful, simple way to listen to music while working out. The Sansa Clip+ has a microSD Memory Expansion Slot card, which allows you to play slotRadio cards without downloading anything. The best for a workout? The Health & Fitness card with 1,000 songs has playlists for roadwork, power, cardio, cooldown, warm-up and even yoga. It also has an FM tuner with 40 presets and 15 hours of battery life. The 4-gigabyte version is $49.99 and is available from and Best Buy. The Health and Fitness slotRadio card is $39.99 and available at

Yoga Stick-e Mat: The mat is reversible with black on one side and blue on the other and has a center line to help with proper body alignment when posing. It comes with a 3-in-1 shoulder/carrying strap that can also be used during your yoga practice to help with stretching and poses. The mat can be washed and air-dried using the very same strap. Altogether it’s a pretty cool mat. Available from for $49.99.

Walkers, Hikers and Outdoor Folks
Yaktrax Walkers are a fantastic gift for any type of walker or hiker. They’re simple-to-use, lightweight traction devices that you can slip right over any flat boot or shoe whenever there is snow or ice on the ground. That’s right — no more excuses. When you walk in Yaktrax Walkers every step you take places hundreds of biting edges in direct contact with the ice beneath your feet. High-strength horizontal coils provide forward and backward stability. The vertical coil pattern provides side-to-side stability, and Yaktrax can be worn in temperatures as low as -41 degrees Fahrenheit. The Walker is $20; the Pro, which has even more traction and can be used for running, is $30 at

IceTrekkers have rubber slings to hold them on your shoes and a diamond bead design that provides hundreds of biting edges for multidirectional traction.

Trailheads Goodbye Girl Ponytail Hats makes really cute hats and headbands, and — get this — the hat has a hole for your ponytail. How cool is that? It’s made of Polartec Thermal Pro fleece and is DWR (Durable Water Repellent) so it sheds rain and snow and dries quickly. It comes in 14 colors and is priced at $26. The headband is $20.

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