Give Healthful Memberships

These gifts keep on giving all year

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Kimberly Higgins

You can support the good health of the health buffs on your list with a yearlong membership. These kinds of gifts will definitely get used — unlike yet another tchotchke or sweater — and you can help your recipients reach their health and wellness goals.

Kimberly V. Higgins, registered dietitian in private practice in Manlius, said that finding the time to prepare healthful meals represents a big barrier to many of her clients’ efforts to eat right.

“Consider things like meal subscriptions or cooking lessons,” she said. “I can see those as being very desirable as people who are so time-crunched. So many people are taxed by the concept of meal prep, shopping and execution. If you can make those steps easier, they’re all for it.”

Selecting a variety of produce items for regular delivery can especially help busy families or older adults who struggle to do weekly grocery shopping for perishable items. It also keeps fresh produce in the kitchen: a big plus for people who want to eat right.

“A lot of people are finding that produce is squeezed out of their grocery list because of price concerns,” Higgins said. “They’re choosing different things or buying less of it. They don’t buy a pomegranate or mango. Produce is expensive. A nicely curated mix of seasonal fruits is often appreciated.”

Fruit-of-the-Month or similar memberships can help. Higgins also suggested membership with a meal kit service. These companies deliver the prepared, measured elements to make a meal, but the recipient does the mixing and cooking. In addition to saving time, meal prep packages also help people learn how to cook for themselves, which can aid in weight loss and improving produce intake. Most meal kit companies include options such as Mediterranean, keto, vegetarian, low-fat or other health-conscious meals to accommodate any preferred eating plan.

Fitness subscriptions can also help people who want to stay healthy. However, consider a short-term membership especially if it’s to a specific type of gym or class and not a yearlong membership. A general gym that has many types of classes and personal trainers present may be a better bet.

“Most gyms sell a short-term membership with time with a trainer,” said Randy Sabourin, certified personal trainer and owner of Metro Fitness in Syracuse. “Sometimes, with a gym membership, you’re buying access but what they should start with is an introductory membership. If they can’t make the introductory period work, it’s a big waste of money to be stuck in a contract they won’t use.”

A gift certificate for active lessons, such as gymnastics, boxing, dancing or martial arts could help keep someone of any age moving more. Practices such as yoga and tai chi have been linked with stress reduction and tend to be gentle on the joints. Many fitness minded people like trying new activities and a gift certificate for a class may be just the motivation to branch out.

For people who like home workouts, subscribing to a fitness program such as Beach Body or Peloton can encourage regular workouts, which help fitness minded people connect from anywhere.

Good health also relies upon rest and relaxation, but most people take little time for self-care. Consider giving a gift certificate for massage therapy or spa to provide relaxation.