Wellness for the Family: Budget-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

American consumers are expected to spend an average of $850 on holiday gifts this year. From selecting the perfect gift and sticking to your budget, holiday gift-giving can be stressful. However, Bcbs Giftscreating a personalized gift made by hand is a great way to show someone you care. “Consider Mason Jars to fill holiday gift crafts – a 12-pack of 8 oz jars can be found for under $10 at most supermarkets,” said Blue Cross Blue Sheild dietitian, Shanthi Appelo. “You can decorate using gift wrap, ribbons, and a personalized card”.

Here are Shanthi’s inexpensive and healthy gift ideas for the holidays. For more health and wellness tips, click here.

Whipped Feta and Yogurt Spread

This recipe is for the foodie in your life. Brought along with pita crackers, it makes the perfect hostess gift. Whipping in Greek yogurt gives this recipe a protein boost while also adding calcium and probiotics. Though this recipe has the classic garlic and chive flavors, rosemary or honey can be substituted for more holiday flavors. 


  • 8 oz feta
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (this recipe used 2 percent fat, but 1 percent or fat free can also be used)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp separated for topping)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 10 chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine feta, Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor (or bowl if using immersion blender).
  2. Stir in chives.
  3. Place in jar and top with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Nutrition information

Serving size: ¼ cup

Calories 113 | Fat 9 g| Carbohydrates 2 g (Fiber 0 g) (Sugar 2 g) | Protein 6 g

Holiday Granola

This lower-sugar granola tastes like a healthier version of a gingersnap cookie. Top it on Greek yogurt or on a salad with sliced apples or pears.


  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup almonds, slivered
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Ground cloves, a pinch
  • Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips to make it a treat


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients and slowly incorporate with dry ingredients.
  4. Place mixture on lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips

Nutrition information

Calories 105 | Fat 8 g| Carbohydrates 7 g (Fiber 1 g) (Sugar 5 g) | Protein 1 g

Holiday Cookies with Reduced Fat and Sugar

This cookie recipe substitutes canola oil for butter and uses fiber-packed oat flour, making it more heart healthy than traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes. By using mini chocolate chips and less sugar, it further turns down the sweetness and calories.


  • 1 ¼ cup oat flour made from ~2 cups old-fashioned oats (or store-bought)
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp 1 percent milk or another milk of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place oats in food processor and blend for ~1 minute or until smooth flour. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of oat flour for the recipe.
  3. In separate bowls, combine all dry ingredients and wet ingredients minus the milk. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into dry and mix. Slowly drizzle in milk as necessary to make cookie batter easily shapeable. Do not over-mix.
  4. Place quarter-sized diameter balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. When removed from oven, let rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. The cookies will continue to cook there. 

Nutrition information

Serving size: 2 cookies, makes about 20 cookies

Calories 133 | Fat 5 g| Carbohydrates 20 g (Fiber 2 g) (Sugar 11 g) | Protein 2 g

Categories: Recipes, the four, Wellness for the Family