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Quick Like a Bunny—Give a Gift of Health!


One year, my husband gave me a bright pink straw basket filled with oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes instead of a chocolate-stuffed Easter basket. It was beautiful, fresh, and one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

The next time you need to recognize someone, consider a healthy, homemade gift basket filled with gourmet goodies. Making your own gift basket allows you to handpick items that you know will be appreciated. The recipient will be touched that you went to the extra effort.

Buy a basket at a thrift or craft store and fill it with some tasty, low-sodium items. Choose from the list below to be confident that your selections are low in sodium, which is important for kidney and heart health.

Make a fruit basket with oranges, strawberries, and other tasty fruits. Or make a veggie basket loaded with leafy greens, dark red beets, and multicolored carrots. Gifts like these will be remembered for years.

And why not add your own homemade fruit vinegar to the basket?

Fruit Vinegar

1 cup of fresh berries, kiwi, citrus or other diced fruit

1 quart of white vinegar

Add berries, kiwi, citrus or other diced fruit to white vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for two weeks or so. Strain and put in a pretty bottle with a cute tag.

You can find ideas to use your fruit vinegar and many other healthy recipes for spring dining at

Basket Fillers

For the baker

  • Imported unsalted butter
  • Dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries
  • King Arthur, Montana Gold or other higher-end flour
  • Candied ginger
  • Candied orange peel
  • Real vanilla extract
  • Real almond extract
  • Small bottles of cooking liqueurs, like limoncello
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

For the cheese lover

  • Cheddar
  • Blue cheeses
  • Soft cheeses, like Brie or chevre
  • Brown rice crackers
  • Flatbread crackers
  • Baked pita bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • Horseradish mustard

For the Italian chef

  • Low-sodium pesto
  • Low-sodium roasted peppers
  • Gourmet dried pasta
  • Packages of fresh herbs
  • Garlic bulbs
  • Truffle oil
  • Specialty olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

Contributor Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at