Be a thoughtful giver with food items

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Need a last-minute gift idea that is thoughtful but easy to put together? Gifts from the kitchen provide a way to give from the heart. Being fancy or elaborate isn’t important — being thoughtful is.

“Just as in selecting nonfood gifts, it’s important to consider the needs, interests and abilities of the receiver when planning and preparing holiday gifts of food,” said Lynda Johnson, R.D., nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Johnson shares some points to consider:

  • Avoid adding nuts or coconut to recipes for very young children or the elderly. In some instances, these ingredients could create a choking hazard. Also, young children may be allergic to nuts.
  • If you know your recipient has diabetes or is working hard to maintain a healthy weight, don’t tempt them with high-calorie treats. Opt for soup mixes or low-fat, whole-grain fruit breads.
  • There is often an abundance of foods during the holidays, so think about a gift for the weeks ahead. Coordinate a festive basket complete with the recipe and ingredients needed to prepare a special meal. Use a theme like Mexican, Italian or German.
  • For your friends or family members who have limited cooking skills, give a Meal of the Month certificate. Pledge to prepare them a meal once per month. This would be a special gift for those who live alone or someone who finds cooking a challenge. Plan to share the gift of your time and enjoy the meal with them as well.

For the full list of points to consider, as well as instructions for Hearty Confetti Bean Soup gift mix, check out the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut354.htm

Additional gift mix ideas and recipes, like Sweet and Spicy gift mix or Cranberry Scone gift mix, can be found at http://missourifamilies.org/nutrition/recipes/

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