Giving Healthier Food As Gifts: Some Gift Ideas & Cost Breakdown

Thrifty Thinking

Gifts of Granola @ Whether you are thinking about the holidays, teacher appreciation week, birthdays, just because, thank-you gifts and more, I wanted to share some healthier gift ideas that you could give to teachers, neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and really, anyone in general.

A number of years ago I started giving food as gifts for birthdays.  I found myself wanting to give my friends something quasi-healthy amidst all of the sugary birthday treats, so I started giving them a little gift bag of homemade granola bars sweetened with honey.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars @ Then my daughters started getting invited to birthday parties.  Usually the birthday kid would get an abundance of toys, and I thought that granola bars might be a nice treat for them, too.

Almond Butter Granola Bars

A few years ago my husband gave homemade trail mix to his co-workers.

Food as Gifts Collage @ Of course breads work really well especially banana and zucchini bread.  Next year (yes, I am already thinking about next year:) I was thinking about making loaves of sourdough bread as gifts, with special ingredients.  Recently I have been experimenting with garlic cloves and rosemary sourdough bread, and my friend Erica, mentioned today she found a recipe for, I think, cranberry and pecan sourdough bread.  I have a whole year to experiment:)

Healthified Zucchini Bread My neighbors are working on canning apple sauce this year.  Awesome idea!  Canned good are fabulous.  Crock-pot Apple Sauce

Crock-pot Apple Sauce in a Mason Jar

I love getting gifts of homemade jam and homemade salsa. Yum!

Slow Cooker Salsa

I thought about giving these 2 or 3 ingredient nut clusters out as gifts, but this year, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I guess I did make one set for someone who wanted them with strictly peanuts.  If you are using coconut oil they need to be refrigerated right away.

2 or 3 Ingredient Nut Clusters @ Besides sharing whole food with my friends, I love that these food gifts are consumable and won’t leave a whole bunch of clutter.  Sometimes it even inspires healthier eating, or it introduces people to food they normally wouldn’t know about.

This Christmas I finally got on the ball and made a homemade gift for all of my piano student families and my childrens’ teachers.  I took my homemade granola and put it in quart-size mason jars.  I wanted to do a cost analysis to see how much the ingredients and everything really cost together, and my friend was curious, too.  I have already given most of the jars away, so I didn’t count the detailed cost as I was purchasing these ingredients; I typically don’t tell someone how much I spent on them, you know, and now here it is for the whole world to read.  So if you are reading this, and I gave you this, pretend you don’t know how much I spent on you:)  Remember it’s the thought that counts!  As an aside, I do have to say, I have great joy in telling my husband what I spend on him, since I can speak freely with him.

Now I will share with you my cost breakdown of 1 batch of homemade granola.  I omitted the sea salt and used less cranberries.  I made 7 batches and it made more than 12 quarts of granola.  I am estimating 12 quarts take a little over 5 batches of granola.  My husband was happy to have the extra, and the extra was gone in less than a week!  **Update 12/13, you can go here to see how to make this same granola in the crock-pot.

Crock-pot Granola

  • 4 cups of organic oats=$0.71
  • 1/2 cup honey=$0.72
  • 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil=$1.10
  • 1/2 cup pecans=$0.81
  • 1/2 cup almonds=$0.67
  • 1/2 cup walnuts=$0.63
  • cranberries=$0.75
  • coconut=$0.24
  • wheat germ=$0.01
  • wheat bran=$0.01
  • oat bran=$0.02

So here is the tally:

  • One batch of granola costs me about $5.67.
  • If I made 5.5 batches for 12 1-quart jars, each quart costs approximately  $2.60.  The mason jars costs $9.88/12=$0.82 each.
  • So 1 quart-sized jar of granola with the mason jar costs approximately =$3.42 each.
  • This means I spent about $41.04 for twelve 1 quart gifts of granola.

When you are giving out multiple gifts for many people you want to bless, I don’t think that is too shabby.  What about you?  I know I could have done something even more frugal, but that wasn’t my complete intention (to be cheap).  I could have even put the granola in plastic bags which would have brought the costs way down.  I wanted to give something that we regularly enjoy and something that I hoped others might enjoy.  What kind of homemade gifts do you make?

Have you read…?

Shared @ One Project at a Time, Welcome Home, Sew Darn Crafty, Sundae Scoop Seasonal Inspirations, Free-for-All Friday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, WFMW, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


  1. says

    Hi, this is my first visit here and I think I will come back and read your posts about rethinking gift giving. This year my kids got 2minute popcorn, pkt cake mix or shake a pancake mix, instant pudding and orange juice from santa. (They’re old enough to by go Santa altogther but it’s tradition!)It’s the first time I’ve done non-toy stockings and it worked out well pocket wise. Unfortunately it was in contrast to how I usually cook and buy ie: from scratch and not from packets! I need to rework the stocking idea for next year and may do the jar idea you showed. Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Rene S says

    I love the idea of giving whole food as gifts! For the past few years, I’ve canned salsa with produce from my garden and given that as gifts at Christmas. I love the idea of granola in jars!

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