Healthier edible Christmas gifts

Niamh Hennessy
Lead Dietitian, Cromwell Hospital
06 December 2023
Next review due December 2026

Wondering what to give your loved ones this year? What about something healthy, homemade, and edible? Here, I’ll share some inspiration for easy to make, delicious and nutritious presents.

dog at the beach with a festive wreath around its neck

Dark chocolate trail mix snacks

Dark chocolate provides you with a source of magnesium and antioxidants. Studies have also shown that small amounts of dark chocolate may improve mood and boost cognition.

chocolate in a bowl


  • 250g dark chocolate (with at least 70 percent coco)
  • 50g seeds (sunflower or pumpkin)
  • 50g nuts (almonds, pistachios, peanuts)
  • 25g dried fruit (raisins, goji berries)
  • Small piece of crystalised ginger


  • Line a baking tray with some parchment paper.
  • Melt your chocolate (in a glass bowl over some hot water).
  • Spoon the melted chocolate into small circles on your parchment paper.
  • Top with nuts, seeds, ginger, and dried fruit.
  • Allow chocolates to set in fridge.

Savoury spiced nuts

Nuts provide you with a source of fibre and protein. They can be a healthier alternative to other savoury snacks such as crisps.

mixed nuts


  • 2 cups of mixed nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
  • ½ tsp ground five spice
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil


  • Preheat oven to 180°C fan.
  • Combine nuts in a bowl and toss the nuts in the spices.
  • Pour over sesame oil and soy sauce and mix until nuts are coated.
  • Spread the nuts out on a baking tray covered in parchment paper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until they start to darken.
  • Leave to cool and store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Chai tea bags

Black tea is rich in flavonoids (a type of antioxidant), which may have heart health benefits. Spices such as cardamom and cinnamon appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. This warming tea can also be made into chai lattes.

tea bags next to a reindeer mug


  • 18 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, grated
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 150g black tea leaves
  • 18 empty tea bags


  • Toast the cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and cloves in a dry frying pan for around 1 minute.
  • Mix the spices with the tea leaves and fill the empty tea bags (be careful not to overfill).
  • To make a chai latte brew 1 teabag in 200ml hot milk (can be dairy free) for 5 minutes. You can add a little honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.

Do you know how healthy you truly are? Bupa health assessments give you a clear overview of your health and a view of any future health risks. You'll receive a personal lifestyle action plan with health goals to reach for a happier, healthier you.

Niamh Hennessy
Niamh Hennessy
Lead Dietitian, Cromwell Hospital



Julia Ebbens, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

    • Samanta S, Sarkar T, Chakraborty R, et al. Dark chocolate: An overview of its biological activity, processing, and fortification approaches. Curr Res Food Sci. 2022;5:1916-1943. doi: 10.1016/j.crfs.2022.10.017
    • Shin JH, Kim CS, Cha L, et al. Consumption of 85% cocoa dark chocolate improves mood in association with gut microbial changes in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Biochem. 2022;99:108854. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108854
    • Lamport DJ, Christodoulou E, Achilleos C. Beneficial Effects of Dark Chocolate for Episodic Memory in Healthy Young Adults: A Parallel-Groups Acute Intervention with a White Chocolate Control. Nutrients. 2020;12(2):483. doi: 10.3390/nu12020483.B
    • Fibre. British association of dietitians., accessed 1 December 2023
    • Healthy Eating. British association of dietitians., accessed 1 December 2023.Lange KW. Tea in cardiovascular health and disease: a critical appraisal of the evidence. Food, science and human wellness. 2022;11:444-445.
    • Cárdenas Garza GR, Elizondo Luévano JH, Bazaldúa Rodríguez AF, et al. Benefits of Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton) and Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) Extracts for Their Applications as Natural Anti-Inflammatory Adjuvants. Plants (Basel). 2021;10(9):1908. doi: 10.3390/plants10091908
    • Pagliari S, Forcella M, Lonati E, et al. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum J. Presl) Bark Extract after In Vitro Digestion Simulation. Foods. 2023;12(3):452. doi: 10.3390/foods12030452

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