Food for ThoughtDec/Jan 2015 Issue

Sure-Fire Gift Ideas

Guaranteed! Special-diet foodies will love these culinary delights.

gift box


Are there people on your gift list with special dietary needs? This page is for you. These gift ideas will help make special-diet living merry and bright. From hickory chips to bread makers, our jolly essentials will keep your loved ones feeling well fed, safe and even inspired. Not to mention, definitely impressed that you got them just what they wanted. So deck the halls and stuff those stockings!

For the Beginner

If a loved one is starting the gluten-free diet, you are in luck. Whether it’s measuring spoons, shiny pots and pans, a new toaster or an electric mixer, they need it. Use sites like and to look for products they’ll love.

For the Artisan

Stock their shelves with favorite specialty items, like vegan cheeses, salt-free spices, gluten-free flour mixes and nut-free sandwich spreads. Check specialty markets for free-from items that meet special diet needs. Arrange them in a decorative basket tied with a bright bow.

For the Bookworm

Give the gift of inspiration with a pile of new cookbooks and food magazine subscriptions. Even non-special-diet cookbooks can provide plenty of ideas and instruction that will increase confidence in the kitchen. So whether you reach for the classics (think Julia Child and Mark Bittman) or venture into trendier cuisines, these texts are certain to boost skill level and creativity.

For the Shopper

Don’t discount the power of a gift card. When it comes to eating a special diet, these pre-paid presents mean fresh ingredients from favorite grocery stores, home deliveries (, artisan products ( or meals to-go ( To make your gift a little more personal, include a favorite recipe or a date night for you and your loved one to enjoy the goods together.

For the Adventure Seeker

This year, give “going out to eat” a new meaning by gifting a culinary adventure. Present your loved one with a gift certificate for a cooking class, a farm tour, a butchery class or fishing lessons. Whatever the activity, make the adventure the best part of the meal.

For the Home Cook

The right gadgets and appliances make you feel there’s a personal sous chef in your kitchen. Hand blenders, rice cookers, bread makers, slow cookers and even pint ice cream makers cut down on the time and energy needed to make flavorful food. Easy to clean and easy to use, these gadgets make from-scratch as simple as ordering out.

For the Entertainer

You eat with your eyes as much as your mouth. For the enthusiastic host or hostess, there’s no better gift than colorful napkins, plates and serving ware. For a unique, one-of-a-kind gift, search on for tableware ideas or custom orders.

For the Mover and Shaker

Special diets don’t need to stop you in your tracks. Beautiful bento or tiffin boxes, mason jar mugs, spill-free storage containers, colorful little coolers and fabric lunch bags help your loved ones take their homemade food to school, to work, to the football game and even on an airplane.

For the Aspiring Chef

Take cooking to the next level with hickory chips (for the grill), dehydrators, doughnut pans, mandolins, indoor herb gardens, baking scales and other chef-worthy tools. These items make any DIY project doable and will help your loved one makeover favorite recipes and even create new classics.

For the Kids

Give little foodies everything they need to take charge of the kitchen and their dietary needs. Aprons, kid-safe cutlery and even a colorful stepping stool will enable them to take part in the prep work. Brightly hued allergy labels and tattoos ( ensure they’ll eat well and safely beyond the home. And sites like offer them the creative license to write a cookbook of their very own.

Jessica Goldman Foung writes the blog She lives in California.

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