Hanging Christmas stockings never gets old. Even though you may be the one that packs them, it’s still an exciting and integral part of many families’ holiday traditions. Instead of packing them with candy, here is a list of pint sized products – every one of them completely tested! – that can help your family members get a leg up on a healthy, active lifestyle before the New Year’s Eve ball drops!
– Originally created because company owner Jennifer Ferguson couldn’t find a flattering sports bra, this pocket sized product is a dream come true for smaller breasted ladies. Holding you firm without flattening or causing the dreaded “Uni-boob” image, this is the one sports bra that does it all. I let my two older daughters try this bra, and it has already become a favorite. It doesn’t ride up, it flatters and holds everything into place. In other words, it does exactly what it’s *supposed* to do and none of what it isn’t. Attractive enough to be worn alone, or flattering under a traditional work out top, this bra would make a wonderful addition to a Christmas stocking.
Myorope Balls – These “balls on a rope” appear innocent and safe, but one quick trial and you’ll know that these balls mean business! I’ve long been a fan of self-massage and trigger point pressure, even going so far as to carry a lacrosse ball in my boxing bag. It can be tricky to get the ball at just the right spot, which is where the unique design of the Myorope comes in. Offered in 2, 4 or 6, the design allows for one ball to be anchored and lets the rest get into every nook and crevice that needs help. If you’ve got a runner, CrossFit enthusiast or triathlete – or if you are a fan of foam rolling, these will be the hit of the day. (I’ve been badgered for my set every time I enter the gym!)
Kay’s Naturals – Everyone likes a snack bag, but not everyone likes the results. Happily, Kay’s Naturals were created to marry the two concepts. High in protein and low in carbohydrates, these pint sized grab bags don’t skimp on flavor. Created to mimic many of the top selling snack and convenience foods, these light crunchy snacks and cereals offer a healthier nutritional profile of approximately 33% soy protein, 10% fiber and 57% net carbohydrates. Toss a few into the holiday stockings for tasty treats that are diet and portion friendly, and won’t leave you regretting it in the morning! Not only are the products delicious, but they are also gluten free. Kay’s Naturals offers a 3 Day meal plan especially created with diabetics in mind that totals just 1400 calories a day and features these packaged goodies. The Protein Chips were awarded first place in the cracker division in the Taste of Expo.
Ostrim – The first low fat, high protein meat stick made from a combination of beef and ostrich, Ostrim is amazingly yummy. Close to zero carbohydrates with no sugar and just about half the sodium of traditional jerky, both the sticks and strips are a great choice. Ostrim Jerkee is also offered in a turkey variety. We sampled all and found them to be tasty and more moist than traditional beef jerky with a good depth of flavor.
My Trainer Fitness 6-Packs – Created to help you achieve the results of a personal trainer for a fraction of the cost, these laminated cards feature circuit training exercises developed to help you burn 100 calories at work or at home. Offered in different fitness levels and workouts, including one created just for kids, these cards help expand your fitness options. No time for the gym? No problem. Pull out the cards, which come with a caribiner clip to facilitate ease of storage, and get right to work. I love these cards. The exercises are easy to perform, but allow for varying levels of intensity and show options for resistance bands, dumbbells and other optional equipment. These are a great addition to your suitcase when you travel – after all, who knows if there’s a gym nearby?
Under Armour Thermos bottle - Every athlete needs a new water bottle, especially in my family, since so many of them have a tendency to disappear. Built with the active individual in mind, these thermos bottles work hard to keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold. Cold hydration improves performance, and nothing tastes worse than warm, metallic flavored water. The Thermos bottles are specially designed to deliver cold, crisp water with no lingering metallic taste. Best of all, it’s an attractive bottle that won’t leak all over your stuff.
DVDs – Always a popular choice, DVDs allow you to gift your recipient with the benefits of exercise in the comfort of their own home. No gym fees, no sharing equipment, and no waiting in line for the shower. One of my personal favorite exercise videos is Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, with 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones coming a close second. Inclined more towards yoga? Bob Harper has a terrific Yoga for the Warrior DVD. No matter what your interest, there’s a video to suit.
Rundies – As a runner, albeit a slow one, I have trouble getting undies that won’t slide around. Watching other women, I’ve noticed that I’m not alone in this issue. Oiselle has created Rundies to combine a love of running and those uber-cool days of the week underpants we all had growing up. Printed with cute slogans inspired by running events, these are not your typical underpant. Slide a packet of these cuties into a Christmas stocking and she’ll be one happy runner! I wore these for my Turkey Trot, and I have to say that they were amazing – they stayed exactly where they were supposed to and literally – I didn’t even remember that I had them on. So wonderful!
Protein Bars – A quick and easy way to fill in the spots in both your tummy and the holiday stocking, protein bars come in many different varieties and flavors. From chocolate peanut butter to cookies and cream and beyond, there’s a bar to fit every taste bud and make your athlete happy.
Nuun – These quarter size tablets turn any bottle of water into a fizzy electrolyte drink that is both tasty and refreshing. The premise is simple: drop a tablet into your water, wait two minutes and voila – you have a delicious, refreshing, sugar free drink. Available in 11 delicious flavors, sample one and you’ll be hooked!
Black+Blum – Bento boxes are the coolest thing to happen to lunch boxes since those blue ice packs. Black+Blum is one brand that’s getting it right with their stylish designs that will make brown bagging at school or work more fun. There’s a clip to hold a fork in place, and small sealed containers fit inside the main container for sauces, dressings, or dips. Black+Blum has several container options, including their “lunch pot” with two stacked sealable bowls for soup and salad or yogurt and granola.
New Workout Clothes – Rolled up and tucked into the corner of a Christmas stocking, your athlete would be delighted to find new yoga pants, tops or shorts. No matter the weather, Fila has got you covered. I tried the Supplex pants and the Space dye tank – and found both to be so comfortable that I continued to wear them the rest of the day. If you have to fill a stocking for me, I’d be delighted to find these tucked inside!
Carmen was provided with the samples necessary to review the recommended products. All opinions expressed are her own.
Looking for more great gifts for your loved ones? Check out our Healthy Holiday Gift Guides!
December 2nd, 2011