On low-salt diet? Here are holiday gifts to meet health needs | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Chocolate-coated nuts and seeds
Chocolate-coated nuts and seeds
“NUTCRACKER Christmas” at Healthy Options. Entrance of the Glorietta 2, Makati branch (above); chocolate and fruit delights
“NUTCRACKER Christmas” at Healthy Options. Entrance of the Glorietta 2, Makati branch (above); chocolate and fruit delights

Why is Romy Sia happy these days?

It has been 20 years since he took a chance and launched Healthy Options, introducing healthy whole foods and supplements at a time when wellness and fitness were not yet buzzwords.

Today Sia is regarded as a pioneer in premium specialty shops for natural and organic products.

Friends thought the project would be a losing endeavor and tried to dissuade him. Who would spend so much on vitamins, powdered herbs and minerals, they asked.

But Sia believed in what he was selling. He had seen how these products improved the life of his son, Sean, who  had suffered from allergies since childhood.

Chocolate-coated nuts and seeds
Chocolate-coated nuts and seeds

Against odds, Sia persevered. Today Healthy Options is one of the largest retailers of natural and organic products in the Philippines.

He is a visionary who is driven to succeed in every endeavor. In 2008, he opened Bow & Wow, selling natural, chemical-free food products for dogs and cats, at a time when Filipinos were not yet doting cat or dog parents.

And then he launched Wine Story in 2010, selling an exceptional selection of Old World wines, including Petrus Pomerol, the most expensive wine in  Bordeaux whose reputation surged to an all-time high when former US President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, declared they loved and patronized the brand.

It was an audacious ambition at the time, especially since there was but a handful of serious wine collectors in the country.

And then, in an effort to attract a growing population of young urban executives, Sia opened Planet Grapes, a wine bar serving affordable, good-quality wines, with Filipino food.

Self-select box

To celebrate its 20th year, Healthy Options has rolled out its annual Christmas packages for 2015.

The “Nutcracker Christmas” are Christmas boxes of carefully selected products designed to serve the health requirements of the recipient.


“The Nutcracker” boxes and paper bags are designed around the classic Christmas musical. (Gift packages are available in all four stores. A self-select box can also be purchased for P5,000.)

Clara’s Christmas Box (P2,995) has gluten-free products like chocolate chip cookies, organic cornflakes, organic pure cacao raw nibs, chia seed crackers, organic nonalcoholic sparkling wine, pure apple juice, white pepper parmesan popcorn, chickpea chips and other nibbles.

“We want to make it a fun, nostalgic, whimsical Christmas,” said Pam So-Suarez, Healthy Options brand marketing director.

For someone watching his/her blood glucose, the Toy Soldier’s Box (P2,995) is loaded with low-sugar chocolate brownies, gourmet popcorn, zero-calorie beverages, rice snaps, organic tomato basil pasta sauce, rosemary truffle popcorn, potato chips, quinoa mac and cheese, cookies.

The King’s Treasure Box (P2,995) is for people on low-sodium diet, with flavorful cashew snacks, jalapeño chompers, honey roasted chickpeas, brown rice crisps, macaroon cookies, apple juice, organic nonalcoholic sparkling wine, Thai coconut curry for cooking.

Then there’s the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Box (P3,995), packed with seed crackers, organic maple and brown sugar steel-cut oatmeal, organic sweeteners, organic goji berries in dark chocolate, granola cereal, white cheddar jalapeño popcorn, quinoa pops cereal, garden vegetable crackers, organic soy milk, organic nonalcoholic sparkling wine  and more.

The premium “Nutcracker Prince’s Box” (P6,995) is for those with discriminating taste. It has a bottle of wine, macaroon cookies, pretzel bites, oatmeal cookies, Mediterranean sea salt, organic raw pecans, trail mix, organic nonalcoholic sparkling wine, gluten-free penne pasta, organic marinara, pure grape-seed oil, split pea and uncured ham, goji berry powder mix, organic pancake mix and more.

“Quinoa and chia are still on top of people’s minds when they shop,” said Suarez, “but to meet new demands we now also carry kale products.”

Wines from Wine Story and Planet Grapes.
Wines from Wine Story and Planet Grapes.

Bragg Live Food, maker of organic apple cider vinegar, liquid aminos,

salad dressings, and seasoning, also remains one of Healthy Options’ hottest sellers.

Next year, Suarez said that Sia wants to help raise environmental awareness and conversation. Its 2016 calendars, now almost ready for print, was made in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Preorders for the Nutcracker Christmas boxes are accepted at all Healthy Options branches nationwide.

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HEALTHY Options offers free “Nutcracker Christmas” themed gift bags in different sizes for holiday gift-giving.
HEALTHY Options offers free “Nutcracker Christmas” themed gift bags in different sizes for holiday gift-giving.
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