by Anne Finch, Accredited Practising Dietitian for LiveLighter

Food gifts are always popular! They're a great way to show appreciation, without giving people unnecessary (and perhaps unwanted) "stuff". We love the idea of giving something homemade, and these ideas are tasty, affordable and look very cute in little jars (ribbons and handmade cards optional!). 

Hot tip: Keep your food jars, and collect from family, friends and your community. You can also source them from second-hand stores or buy them new from supermarkets, variety stores, discount shops or homewares stores.

Baked vegie crisps

Jars of healthy treats

There's loads of healthy treats that you can whip up in no time:

Toasted muesli

Toasted muesli

For every 3 cups of oats, mix through 1 cup of nuts and seeds, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat up a large frypan or wok and toss the muesli in there, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until everything is nice and golden and toasted. Once the muesli is cool, mix through a cup of dried fruit and some bran flakes. Store in an airtight container.

Spiced nuts

Spiced nuts

There are a couple of ways you can go with these. The easiest is to get a big pan or wok, dry fry your spices until they smell amazing, and then add your nuts and seeds to the wok and stir for 5-10 minutes. Easy!

For something a little more involved, get a big bowl and whisk up an egg white until it's nice and foamy, then add 3 tablespoons of sugar, and your spices. Add the nuts and seeds and mix well to coat. Spread them out on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes on 150°C. Take them out, break them up and turn the oven down to 125°C and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely here, you don’t want them to burn!

Once the nuts are done, let them cool completely, then pop in an airtight container. They should be good for a couple of weeks.

Some of our favourite combos are Chinese five spice peanuts, curry powder cashews and smoked paprika almonds. Go wild and add some dried fruit, popcorn and pretzel sticks just before serving and you’ve got yourself a grown up trail mix.


Homemade dukkah

Dukkah is a Middle Eastern dish that blends together nuts, seeds and spices. It is traditionally served with bread and olive oil, with the bread first dipped in the olive oil and then into the dukkah. There are lots of different recipes out there, here are a few you could try!

Potted herbs

Potted herbs

A gift that keeps giving long after a bunch of flowers would have wilted! You can get potted herbs at hardware stores, garden stores and even at the supermarket! You can also give plant cuttings from your own yard. Basil and mint are hardy and happy to spend their life in a pot on the windowsill. Other herbs like coriander and dill might need to be planted into the ground and are a bit higher maintenance. They all look and smell lovely!

Spice mix

Spice mixes

Mix up your favourite spices in a jar or refillable grinder if you’re going with whole spices. Some of our favourite blends

4 parts smoky paprika
2 parts cumin
2 parts coriander
1 part dried oregano

4 parts cumin
2 parts coriander
2 parts paprika
1 part cinnamon

4 parts coriander
2 parts cumin
1 part turmeric
1 part garam masala

Soup mix

Meal ingredient jars

This one is perfect for dishes like risotto, cous cous, soup and muesli, or even baked goods like muffins and slices.

Find a recipe that includes mostly dry ingredients, see some our ideas below. Add all the dry ingredients to a glass jar. Write any additional ingredients and the recipe instructions on a small piece of card, and attach it to the jar with some ribbon, raffia or string.

Recipe ideas:

Infused oil

Infused oils and vinegars

Infused oils and vinegars are super easy and make lovely gifts! This recipe is a good place to start, it’s got plenty of step by step photos to help you along the way.

(Heads up that garlic infused oil does carry a risk of botulism, a very serious health risk. That combo might be best left to the experts.)

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