Wondering what to get your friends and family this year for the holidays? Perhaps instead of chocolate, clothes or jewelry, turn instead to some items that may be useful, convenient and most importantly, conducive to maintaining good health.

Cooking And Food

For those cooks and chefs out there, and people who love eating, there are plenty of well-designed options for gifts to add to a kitchen. And it doesn’t have to necessarily mean you’re encouraging them to eat more. The holidays can be a time of abundant eating, but they can also be a time for cooking new types of calorie-cognizant treats — and health recipe books are filled with creative ideas. There’s the Spices of Life by Nina Simonds, for example, or The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins that can inspire your friends to branch out to healthier foods. Some nutrition and health experts say that the Mediterranean diet can have many benefits, from extending longevity to preventing dementia. The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Cookbook can also provide some solid information as to bring fresh market produce into your kitchen.

With the Brookstone Aqua Zinger Water Maker, you can create water naturally flavored with fruits — to avoid that itch to grab a soda or sugary juice instead. It has a leak-proof cap as well, which makes it easy to bring on-the-go and can hold either hot or cold liquids. It makes staying hydrated that much more appealing and fresh-tasting.

Your friends can also always use a smoothie blender, because homemade smoothies are healthy and delicious. They can be an excellent source of nutrients from blended fruits or vegetables, often maintaining their own natural level of sweetness from bananas, blueberries, or strawberries without any needed sugar. Smoothies are a good way to start the day off healthily and are a source of replenishment and hydration after a workout.

Juicers are another idea that can motivate cooks to add less salt on food and instead sprinkle some lemon or lime juice on their meals to boost flavor. It’s another great addition to a glass of water, to help curb the desire for flavored drinks. The Healthy Steps Juicer Pro, Fresh Citrus Juicer is a small and handy juicer that is also easy to clean and not too expensive.

And though Tupperware may seem like a silly gift, it's an incredibly useful container to save food and money. Instead of eating all those holiday extras all in one sitting, encourage your friends and family to save the leftovers for later by making it easy with Tupperware containers. They come in all different shapes and sizes, are conveniently storable, and some can even be placed in the microwave.

Getting – And Staying – Fit

In Consumer Reports' list of healthy gifts, Doug Podolsky recommends several health-monitoring electronics, that can help people reach a desired fitness level as well as maintain it. Heart-rate monitors, for example, are a good gift that can help exercisers reach their target heart rate while maintaining a safe zone. Consumer Report suggests looking into the Polar H7 Heart Rate Sensor as well as the Omron HR-100C.

If keeping track of blood pressure is a priority for a friend, get them a blood pressure monitor. It will help them to keep an eye on their blood pressure if they have hypertension. For people with diabetes, blood glucose meters are another option — they are small and fast, and exist to help the some 26 million Americans who struggle with diabetes. Consumer Reports recommends the Accu-Chek Aviva and the Up & Up Blood Glucose meter.

For many people, the holidays signal weight gain not only because of the cornucopias of Christmas treats that fill markets and stores, but also because the cold weather is a demoralizer: not many want to brave the snow and wind to get their workout in. To remedy this, buy your friends under armour — a thin, light outfit to wear under regular clothes to contain your body heat. It will make going outside much easier, and you'll even work up a sweat if you're running outside in the snow.