A close up of nuts on a plate

Tasteful Giving: Homemade Gift Ideas

Healthy DIY snacks that make heart-warming gifts.

I know it’s old fashioned to make a gift, but it’s my favorite way to show love and appreciation over the holidays. Whether I am elf-ing for my neighbors, girlfriends or family, I find joy in giving some of my favorite healthy snacks. (Tip: Make extra for yourself – these delicious treats will help keep you on track during the holidays.)

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Maple Spiced Almonds

Modified from Clean Food

1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
3-4 dashes of cayenne pepper
3 cups whole almonds (pecans and walnuts work too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread out on a single layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake until nuts start to brown, around 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Break nuts apart and store in airtight container.

Spiced Cocktail Nuts

Modified from Giada’s Feel Good Food

1 large egg white
1 cup roasted and salted almonds
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/4 cup sugar – I subbed coconut sugar
1 tbsp madras curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Position rack in oven at center and preheat to 250 degrees. Spray baking sheet liberally with vegetable oil or use parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add the nuts until coated. In a small bowl, combine sugar, and all other spices. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and toss until coated. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on the prepped baking sheet. Bake until golden and fragrant, around 45 minutes. Set aside to cool for about an hour. Break nuts into bite size pieces to serve.

Chocolate Covered Almonds

2 1/2 cups (13 ounces) unblanched whole almonds
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pound bittersweet (or semi sweet) chocolate, chopped
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Line two baking pans with parchment paper; set aside. In a large pot, combine granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, toasted almonds, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar becomes golden and granular and almonds are completely coated and separated, around 10 minutes.

After nuts are coated, strain off excess sugar solution and place back into pot. As nuts cool, stir them to separate them from one another. Meanwhile, place chocolate in a medium bowl; place bowl over simmering water until melted. STIR FREQUENTLY. After sugar-coated nuts have cooled, pour chocolate over nuts, mix together so all are covered and transfer nuts to baking pan to cool.

Separate nuts before chocolate is completely cool and place into bowl of cocoa power. Stir nuts to ensure they are covered. Strain covered nuts into large bowl. Repeat until all nuts are used.

Happy holidays to you and yours! Book a free 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson and follow us on Instagram for more healthy holiday recipes!