The benefit of buying “healthy gifts” (i.e, no electronics or chocolate here)


Today’s post comes from Jennifer McConnell-Nzunga. Jennifer is the Special Events Coordinator with the CON SNP National Executive and a PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria. You can find out more about her here

Earlier we talked about data ideas that wouldn’t leave you feeling deflated. Today, we’re talking about gift giving. Giving a gift can  make you happier, help you live longer, lower your blood pressure, and the closer the relationship is between you and the recipient the more you benefit (double bonus)! Heck, you even benefit psychologically if you give blood, or a kidney!… but that might be a little extreme.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon I think we can make the case that gift-giving can be really good for you. Unfortunately, Valentine’s gifts tend to not be so good for the recipient. When we think Valentine’s Day we think chocolate, chocolate, roses, and more heart-shaped chocolate. But I think you should show the one that you love that you care about their health and well-being too! So here is a list of some healthy gift ideas:

  1. A pass to an online gym / yoga studio / workout class / whatever! Be an early-adopter as this trend is already taking a slice out of traditional gym revenues! No smelly locker room, no intimidating fitness pros, and no commute; win-win-win!
  2. Meal prep delivery service! There are a variety of companies out there that will ship you a recipe and all the ingredients you need to cook a healthy meal. They send pre-measured ingredients which reduces food waste and cooking together can make for a fun, healthy, date night idea!
  3. Adult colouring books. I don’t mean that kind of adult, but colouring books with intricate patterns can be a great way to decompress and slow down after a stressful day often filled with screen-time.
  4. DIY sets to grow your own herb gardens, salsa gardens, hot sauce gardens, the options are nearly endless! Although the payoff on this one requires you to play the long game, it could be a couple months before you’re making delicious salsa or sprinkling fresh basil on your pizza so think long and carefully about this one 😉
  5. Safe volume earphones! I rarely see a person walking down the street these days without headphones of some nature, but show your special someone you care about their hearing with earphones designed not to cause hearing damage.


Now some of you may be thinking ‘these are great gift ideas but I don’t have a special someone this Valentine’s Day and this just rubbed it in. Thanks a lot…’ I say, don’t worry! By giving a gift to yourself you reduce the possibility of the economic waste of gift-giving commonly known as ‘Scroogenomics’ (The book is actually called Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays and argues that gift-giving is a waste of money because the recipient often doesn’t value the gift as much as the giver and therefore creates an economic loss). So if you buy yourself a gift for Valentine’s Day you are guaranteeing that the giver and recipient value it equally!

Voila! I hope I have given you some solid gift giving ideas that benefit the giver, the recipient, and those that want to treat themselves. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


I have a PhD in population health from the University of Ottawa looking at why children are sedentary, the difference between types of sedentary behaviour (as you’d expect screen time is much worse than reading a book!) and what we can do about it in Canada, and around the world. I completed my master’s at Queen’s University in kinesiology and epidemiology, and graduated from Acadia University with a double major in biology and kinesiology. I am also a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, a Clinical Exercise Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine and a Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine/National Physical Activity Society. I love to be active, especially when I get to be outside and especially when I get to explore a new city!

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