7 Perfect Gifts for the Healthy Foodie

If you are reading this, it’s a safe bet that you or someone close to you is a foodie, most likely a healthy foodie, and you’re on the hunt for some healthy gift ideas.

Remember way back when food was mostly consumed for sustenance and to stave off hunger? Me neither. Food is a major hobby now and foodies are its enthusiasts. And what a great time to be one! Still, it can be a little work finding quality foods that are tasty AND healthy at the same time, especially if you are looking for healthy food gift ideas.

From birthdays to holidays, finding gift ideas for healthy eaters can be daunting. At Manhattan Fruitier, we’ve made it our business over the last thirty years to offer healthy gifts to our customers. So, we know a thing or two — or seven — about perfect gifts for the healthy foodie.

#1. Organic Fresh Fruit Baskets
Organic Fresh Fruit Gift BasketIt goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – organic fresh fruit baskets are the gold standard for healthy gift ideas. Who wouldn’t be thrilled with a gorgeous fruit basket filled with pick-of-the-season, ripe organic fruits? Our organic fruit baskets are like edible floral bouquets, bursting with flavor, freshness and fragrance.

There is no other gift in my mind that is so universally appealing and appropriate than an organic fruit basket. What other gift could you send to a business colleague you don’t know very well or to your dearest Mom and delight them both?

#2. Vegan Gifts
Choosing Vegan gifts for healthy eaters is an excellent idea if you want to give a gift of food that promotes good health, is thoughtfully delicious, and is a safe bet if you aren’t sure if your healthy foodie steers clear of all animal and dairy products.

Strictly VeganBe careful though — sometimes foods we think are vegan actually aren’t. Honey isn’t. Most refined sugar isn’t either. Stay away from most packaged shelled peanuts and some soy-based cheeses, sauces and dressings (gelatin and anchovies being the culprits). And unless specified, skip the marshmallows and gummy bears too.

If you want to find vegan gifts for healthy eaters that won’t give you any pause, just applause, consider our Strictly Vegan gifts.  We’ve chosen each item in our vegan baskets for their quality, uncompromising adherence to vegan standards and ingredients that are so delicious you can gift them to any discerning foodie.

#3. Organic Teas
Tea is the new coffee for healthy foodies. A great healthy gift idea is a sampling of organic teas. White, Green, Black — they all have different health benefits and are a sustaining gift that can be enjoyed for weeks or months, depending on how avid a tea drinker your Healthy Foodie is.

At Manhattan Fruitier, we feature two types of tea, an Organic Oolong and an Organic Black Ceylon, both from Bellocq Tea Atelier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Bellocq Organic Oolong Green Tea Organic High Mountain Oolong is a prized tea, appreciated by tea connoisseurs like a superior wine. Each mountain region where it’s grown produces an Oolong tea with its own perfume and flavors, and like wine, a harvest that changes every year. Our Oolong is grown organically in the ancient soil of the Vietnamese mountains and is made from the larger leaves of the lower part of the Camellia bush.

All types of tea, except herbal tea, come from the dried leaves of the Camellia Sinensis bush. How oxidized the leaves are determines what type of tea — white tea being the least, black tea being the most.

High Mountain Oolong has a short fermentation period that creates a green tea with a verdant, floral aroma and a bold earthy taste with subtle honey notes.

Bellocq_Queens Guard Organic Tea The Queen’s Guard is a decidedly elegant tea for a healthy foodie. This Bellocq Tea blend was inspired by classic, dew-studded English gardens. It’s an ethereal blend of loose full-leaf organic Ceylon tea, organic rose petals and organic lavender. Ceylon tea is from Sri Lanka and is widely known for its high polyphenolic (micro-nutrients that contain important antioxidants) content.

#4. Pantry Items and Spices
Most healthy foodies do a fair amount of cooking at home. With so many once exotic ingredients now readily available at your local Whole Foods Market or specialty-food store, it’s easy to travel the world without leaving your kitchen.

Healthy snacks for every panty

When considering healthy gift ideas, a really good one is healthy food gifts for the home pantry. Maybe an extra-virgin olive oil from a small producer in Italy; or a sampling of unusual cooking ingredients for savory dishes like artisanal soy and fish sauces, or preserved lemons from Tunisia.

A great and sustainable pantry gift for healthy foodies is a sampling of heirloom grains and legumes from visionary American farms like Anson Mills and Rancho Gordo. These growers have rescued organic heirloom varieties from the brink of extinction.

Salts and spices from different regions of the world are always a welcome gift for healthy eaters too.

#5. Juicers and Blenders

Fresh fruit for homemade juicesJuices and smoothies have never been more popular than they are right now. Whether your healthy foodie is starting a cleanse or just needs to switch up a boring breakfast routine, a juicer or a blender is an excellent gift that, yes, keeps on giving for months and years to come. Gifting a blender is a more versatile choice for your healthy foodie since that would also give them an option to make soups and sauces too.

Most of the love lately goes to Vitamix blenders, but I’m partial to the Brevil Boss blender. It has just as much horsepower and velocity for pulverizing raw beets and greens, but is much prettier on your countertop.

#6. Dried Fruit and Nuts

Healthy dried fruit and nut giftsA list of healthy gift ideas wouldn’t be complete without adding great quality dried fruit and nuts to the mix. Dried fruit, especially non-sulfured, natural, and organic dried fruit is a fantastic, universally appealing gift for a healthy foodie.

A sampling of dried fruits as a gift for healthy eaters is like giving a fruit basket they can eat for more than just a few days, as dried fruits and nuts have a very long shelf-life and require no refrigeration.

Even though they are highly caloric, studies have shown eating a handful of nuts can play a role in weight maintenance and longevity. The wooden box of dried fruits and nuts pictured above is a classic beauty.

#7. Healthy Comfort Foods
Sometimes they feel like a health nut, sometimes they don’t. Either way, a gift like our best-selling Pop-Up Party basket satisfies both the yin and yang of a Healthy Foodie’s hunger pangs.

Healthy Pop Up Party

When looking for healthy gift ideas, this one is all upside and packed with traditional party foods that bring an uncommon twist of happy and healthy to an impromptu gathering of friends or a Netflix night, sofa for one, please.

Snacks like a microwave popcorn made from ancient heirloom, non-GMO corn kernels and real butter(!), a huge bag of organic jumbo barrel peanuts in the shell, tortilla chips made from falafel paired with a salsa of fresh tomatillos and serrano chiles. Rounded out with roasted chickpeas and caramel corn in six unique flavors. Did we have you at microwave popcorn?

We hope these 7 healthy gift ideas for the foodies in your life will inspire you to always keep health in mind when a gifting occasion comes along. By inspiring people to stay healthy, you’ll most likely be inspired to stay healthy too!

10 Best Gifts for Yoga Lovers

When the next gift occasion arises, take advantage of yoga’s ever-increasing popularity for a fresh take on traditional gift giving. In addition to the millions of yoga devotees already practicing in the U.S., another eighty million people (34% of the population!)  will give yoga their first try this year. So, why not consider a yoga-themed gift?

Chances are high that one of your friends, family members, or co-workers are enjoying the benefits of the mat. Maybe you know someone with a committed daily practice, or have a friend that’s musing with an intention to start.

Of course, finding the perfect gift for yoga lovers can be challenging, but you already have a leg up – or a down-dog split – knowing their interest. So, you’re on the right track but still stumped on what you should get the yoga lover in your life?  You’ve got this. Take a deep, controlled breath and get inspired by our choices for the top ten best gifts for yoga lovers.

#1. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils and Room Diffusers
Essential oils are a simple, wonderful gift to enhance a yoga or meditation practice by helping yogis connect with an intention. Often essential oils can help capture the spirit of certain qualities. For instance, Lemon is associated with mental clarity and attention. Peppermint, a joyful exuberance and energy. Lavender, relaxation and peaceful communication. They can also make a room smell pretty!

Two or three different essential oils with an ultrasonic room diffuser are great gifts for yoga lovers. Just a few drops of an essential oil combined with water in it’s base can instantly create a soothing or stimulating atmosphere. Yogi’s choice.

I’m particularly fond of the exceptionally high-quality DoTerra brand of pure, cold-pressed essential oils, and for a tasteful, modern ultrasonic diffuser that would unobtrusively work with a decor, Muji’s is the best.

#2. Water Bottle
Gifting a water bottle for a yoga lover is a no-brainer, but it can be a struggle to find one that’s kind to the earth, has style for days, and is light enough for the gym bag. We picked this one for our line of yoga gifts because it satisfies all three of those requirements. Designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA, our water bottle is actually made of glass, but don’t worry, it’s protected by a zippered silicone sleeve. BPA and phthalates-free to boot. How refreshing!

Yoga Water Bottle

#3. Yoga Travel Mat
Gifting a yoga mat to a yoga lover can be tricky. With different types of mats suited for different yoga practices, where do you start?  A thicker mat is a great choice for a yogi who enjoys a more restorative practice. Look for a mat that will have a stickier grip for those who enjoy a higher energy vinyasa or bikram class to help them avoid slipping and sliding out of their poses.

So, you know they love yoga, but what if you aren’t sure which kind? Trust that most yogis already have a mat they like. What they probably don’t have and where you can help them the most is by giving them a Yoga Travel Mat.

Oftentimes, a vacation can wreak havoc with even the most dedicated yoga practitioner. Even standard-size mats can be awkward, heavy and prohibitive to carry. A travel mat can easily fold or roll into a carry-on bag or backpack to bring their practice with them wherever they go. My personal favorite is the Manduka eko superlite.

One of the most valuable lessons yoga students first learn is the importance of “just showing up”. It’s a lot easier when the mat can come with you!

#4. Headband
Stylish and sweaty doesn’t have to be an oxymoron if you work it right. A great, affordable gift for a yoga lover is a headband that can absorb the side effects of a vigorous yoga workout, while keeping their hair suitable for any before or after class errands. Ponytails and barrettes are great, but a headband can keep distractions like pesky flyaway hairs and perspiration out of their eyes so they can focus on the important stuff, like breath and alignment.

Choose a wide headband that can serve a dual purpose. A headband like this can be easily pulled down over the eyes for a blissed-out savasana.

#5. Organic Fruits and Snacks
The revered yoga master, B.K.S. Iyengar, who is credited with bringing the ancient practice of yoga to the West said “Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

Making the right food choices plays an incredibly important role in any yoga student’s well-rounded practice. Nourishing the body with wholesome foods lays a foundation for nourishing the mind.

Organic Bounty

Help the yogi take their practice from the mat to the dining table with healthy snacks to nourish the body.

We believe one of the best gifts for yoga lovers is one that extends their practice from the mat to the dining table. Our Organic Bounty gift basket does just that. Filled with certified-organic fruits, both fresh and dried, and organic nuts, cheese, crackers and jam, it’s a universally appealing gift for yoga lovers of any age or gender, beginners or advanced.



 
#6. Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays
How lovely to craft a yoga gift yourself and have it be a gift they actually need! Every yoga lover can benefit from a yoga mat cleaner and making one is not as hard as you’d think! Here is a super-simple 3-ingredient recipe (distilled water, witch hazel, and essential oils) you can make in minutes that will keep yoga lover’s mats fresh and clean for many vinyasa classes to come. Rather than one big bottle, this recipe makes a trio of 2 oz. spray bottles, each with a different scent, for easy, everyday travels back and forth to yoga class.
Simple Steps and Ingredients for a Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Spray:

– Fill each 2oz. spray bottle (found at any beauty supply store or Amazon) three-quarters of the way full with Distilled Water.

– Shake three drops of either tea tree, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil (all known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties) into each spray bottle.

– Fill the bottles the rest of the way up to the top with witch hazel, close tight and give them a gentle shake. Give them a quick spray. Do they have enough scent? Go ahead and add another drop until it’s to your liking.

– Last step, the fun part. Find some adhesive labels and get creative with a signature design and brand for each bottle.

#7. Yoga Bolster
Every yoga enthusiast has a mat at home for their practice, but most yogis only take advantage of a bolster when they are at a yoga studio. One of our top gifts for yoga lovers is a bolster for home use.  A bolster is an important tool or prop used in a wide range of restorative yoga poses that can have the added bonus of being used as a meditation cushion.

Meditation and yoga are so closely intertwined that people who practice one are really also practicing the other in one form or another. Both practices explore the mind/body connection and having the proper tools within reach makes achieving a daily dedication to one’s practice so much more attainable. When choosing the perfect bolster as a gift for yoga lovers, choose a rectangular bolster with exceptional firmness and support with an upholstery-grade fabric covering. This bolster is my favorite.

#8. Yoga Blocks
In addition to bolsters, another yoga prop most people only access at their local studio is yoga blocks. These are an integral part of any yoga practice, no matter what experience level. Lightweight cork or recycled-foam yoga blocks are a great gift for yoga lovers who appreciate the tools that get them closer to good alignment, balance and stretch!

Yogis and non-yogis alike would all benefit from a Supported Fish Pose for a few minutes a day. This pose, supported by yoga blocks, expands the chest and throat, which is a great counteraction to the inevitable afternoon slump.

#9. Yoga Gift Baskets
Our absolute favorite gift for yoga lovers has to be our collection of Yoga Baskets. A woven bamboo basket combines organic fresh apples, organic maple glazed mixed nuts, and organic banana and mango slices, and, of course, essential yoga accessories. In addition to a thick, cotton strap for reaching those deeper stretches, and a silky eye pillow for a restful savasana, we’ve added our unique and so very chic water bottle designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA to the healthy mix. So good!

Yoga Gift Basket

#10. Gift Certificate to their favorite Yoga Studio or Retreat
When you are thinking about a gift for a yoga lover, perhaps the most appreciated gift you can give them is a gift certificate to a local yoga studio of their choice.

While a lot of practicing yogis are already enrolled in a monthly membership to a yoga studio or gym that has yoga classes, most yoga studios have special workshops or events that are not included in a rolling membership and are outside of this monthly payment. That’s where a gift certificate can really come in handy.

I have a monthly membership to a yoga studio in Brooklyn that covers unlimited classes, but my mother just treated me to a gift certificate at the same studio which I used for a four-part tai chi workshop. Thanks Mom!

Whatever gifts you end up choosing for the yoga lover in your life, know that picking a gift that is closely connected to a practice that brings health and happiness to their life will make you feel great too!

Lunar New Year Filled with Roosters and Dragons – both Edible and Legendary

Chinese New Year Gift Basket from Manhattan Fruitier

Lunar New Year Gift Basket from Manhattan Fruitier

This Chinese New Year, the year of the Fire Rooster, begins on January 28. During the two-week celebration of the New Year, family and friends gather for feasting and to honor household and heavenly deities. It is one of the grandest, most celebratory annual events throughout the world.

Originating in the ancient Shang Dynasty (17 to 11 BC), this lively holiday was a way to ward off the legendary monster “Nian,” who loved to feast on little children and farm animals. Along with his appetite, Nian had some peculiar hang ups. He detested the color red and abhorred loud noise. So people decorated their houses in brilliant reds and set off fire crackers in the streets to send Nian away for another year.

Even though China adopted the Western calendar and January 1st as an official New Year date, the Lunar New Year is still of the utmost cultural and historical importance. Chinese continue to celebrate the traditions and customs of Lunar New Year, albeit now with a shorter new name – the Spring Festival.

During the Spring Festival, mandarin oranges, tangerines, pomelos and all types of citrus are gifted as tokens of good fortune, happiness and abundance. These fruits are displayed on kitchen tables throughout the two week celebration as a harbinger of a healthy, hopeful and prosperous New Year to come. Another highly-prized celebratory fruit during the Spring Festival is the Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya. Wildly popular for its brilliant fuschia-pink coloring – some believe the color of luck – Dragon Fruit is often placed on altars for the Lunar New Year.

Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya

Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya

Dragon fruit, or pitahaya, is actually a vine-like cactus that originated in the Americas but became almost exclusively popular in East and Southeast Asia over many years. It’s a fruit both moody and mysterious. The pitahaya’s aromatic flowers bloom one night only, on the full moon, and can only grow by nocturnal pollinators that bring this magical fruit to fruition.

The white flesh of the Dragon Fruit is soft like a ripe peach and is easily eaten with a spoon once you cut the fruit in half. It has tiny black seeds that are easy to eat. The flesh is slightly sweet with a touch of lemon flavor. Delicious as well as exotically colored, it will ward off the monster Nian until at least 2018.

New York City Chinatown Parade

New York City Chinatown Parade

This 2017 Lunar New Year Spring Festival begins on January 28th . If you happen to be in New York City, check out the New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, kicking off at Chinatown’s Sara Roosevelt Park.  Usher out the New Year celebrations on February 5th with a bang and clang two weeks later at the dazzling Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown.

Happy Lunar New Year to you all!

Color Your World!

Tutti Frutti

In a tech-filled world of tablets, gadgets, phones and drones, what adult among us hasn’t wanted to step back to our childhood, at least for an afternoon, back to the blissed-out zen of breaking in a new coloring book with colored pencils or crayons? Well, sometimes you can go back.

Grown-ups are actually coloring again, and it’s really o.k! Adult coloring books have found their way to the top of best-seller book lists in the U.S. and Europe and, what’s even more amazing, they are bringing joy, creativity, and relaxation to the masses – when we all need it the most.

Coloring Party

We are big on coloring at Manhattan Fruitier. Our own Lauren Westbrook learned first-hand the joy of coloring as an adult when given The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford as a gift by a childhood friend. One rainy afternoon at her friend’s lakeside cottage they sat, side-by-side, each coloring a page, just as they did when they were girls. They found the activity just as satisfying years later, but what seemed different was the sense of tranquility it brought as well as the undeniable desire to play with unexpected colors and shading. She highly recommends coloring as a creative outlet for all, especially gratifying for the non-artistically inclined adult.

We are excited to carry the work of two illustrators who have designed the most beautiful tools for this growing phenomenon. Johanna Basford, whose books are responsible for this new wave of fun – and Louise Fili, award-winning graphic designer, author, lecturer, illustrator, and friend of Manhattan Fruitier who has designed gorgeous colored pencils for filling in and outside the lines.

 Johanna BasfordJohanna Basford

Johanna Basford is an illustrator and ‘ink evangelist’. Growing up on her parent’s fish farm in native rural Scotland, her intricate work stems from the flora and fauna that surrounded childhood life. She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, specializing in silk screen prints and drawings. Johanna Basford’s success has become familiarly known to us with commissions by Starbucks, DKNY, and Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” Author Series, to name a few.  She describes her detailed drawings as, “every piece starting as a simple pencil sketch…organically evolving…and slowly creeping over the paper.” Her work for adult colorists is distinctive and with her books an imaginative adventure awaits.

Louise FiliLouise Fili

Louise Fili, renowned graphic designer, has used elegant and original typefaces and an Italophile aesthetic to transform many a corporate logo, including the logo of our own Manhattan Fruitier. Her work is found in permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale.  We offer her splendido set of twelve “Tutti Frutti” colored pencils, inspired by classic Italian packaging and stationery. These double-sided pencils with complimentary hues of brilliant color will inspire your written words and drawings. Buon divertimento!

This gift from our Spark Collection, combines Johanna Basford’s newest coloring book, “Enchanted Forest”  with the superb quality and elegant style of the “Tutti Frutti” pencil set designed by the incomparable Louise Fili. Guaranteed to bring smiles and evoke childhood memories while it unleashes the tranquility and creativity for grown-ups who are young at heart.