On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me health-giving book ideas:
* "Bite It & Write It!" Stacie Castle, MS, RD, CDN; Robyn Cotler, MS, RD, CDN; Marni Schefter, RD, CDN; Shana Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, CDE. Square One Publishers, 2011. A food diary and nutrition guide in one, including 10 health goals that the authors say will help you change the way you think about food. Includes calorie guide for restaurant foods.
* "Eat Right When Time is Tight" Patricia Bannan, MS, RD. NorLightsPress, 2010. For the loved one with no time to cook. Includes practical ideas for meals and snacks along with nutrition information.
* "Food, Field to Fork: How to Grow Sustainably, Shop Wisely, Cook Nutritiously, and Eat Deliciously" Anita M. Kobuszewski, RD. AnitaBHealthy Publishing, 2012.
* "MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better," Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD. Loughlin Press, 2011. Realistic ideas for planning family meals. Includes recipes and shopping ideas.
* "Truck Drivers: Stop Your Job from Killing You!" Sharon Madalis, MS, RD, LDN, CDE and April Rudat, MSEd, RD, LDN, April Rudat, 2010. For the trucker on your list or other travelers along life's road.
* "Easy Gluten-Free: Expert Nutrition Advice with More than 100 Recipes." Tricia Thompson, MS, RD and Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Healthful gluten-free ideas and recipes.
* "Diabetes DTOUR Diet Cookbook," Barbara Quinn, MS, RD, CDE and the editors of Prevention Magazine. Rodale Press, 2009. Includes two weeks of 1,400 and 1,600-calorie meal plans by yours truly.
On the second day of Christmas, I was jolted out of my ho ho ho Christmas mode when I learned that there are 140 million orphaned children in our world. And I was reminded how even a small gift can make a huge impact in the lives of those in need around the world:
* "Second Meal Club" a project of Hope Home Mission in Malawi, Africa -- one of our world's poorest nations. Most of these children were orphaned by HIV and AIDS and they receive one meal a day of cereal and occasional fruit. A gift of $20 a month will provide a second meal that includes an egg or other source of valuable protein. Contact "Kids for the Kingdom," a nonprofit charitable organization (http://www.kidsforthekingdom.org).
* Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization (www.samaritanspurse.org) offers these gifts of hope and health:
* $45 buys a fruit tree to provide nutritious food for families in need.
* $14 pays for a dozen chickens or ducks that can lay eggs -- a perpetual source of high-quality nutrition for hungry families.
* $9 provides a week of food for a hungry baby who is a victim of drought or disaster.
* $5 provides a week's worth of milk to a child -- a valuable source of protein, calcium and vitamins.
* Vision Trust International (www.visiontrust.org/christmas) provides hope to the worlds' neediest children. For example, a gift of $40 furnishes a bag of rice (they distribute 25 bags each day to needy families).