Ah, the holidays – the time of year when we celebrate the best life has to offer by gathering with family, friends, and food. Saddling up to the table and stuffing yourself silly with all things sweet and savory is part of the fun, as is the afternoon couch nap you’ve earned the right to take, courtesy of all those calories and carbs.
But for seniors, the biggest threat to good health is all the high-fat, high-sodium, low nutrient dishes that make the holidays so delicious. (Well, it’s true!) The good news, however, is that by making just a few simple tweaks to the way you approach eating during the holidays, you, too, can have your cake, pie, and other delectable desserts and get the nutrients your body needs!
- Grab a smaller plate. Go ahead and mentally prepare for smaller portions by choosing a smaller plate. Portion control helps avoid that feeling of overeating when there are many choices in front of you.
- Make simple swaps of low-sodium foods. Many recipes call for cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soups, which can be very high in both fat and sodium. Look for the low-sodium and lower-fat options if you’re cooking…you’ll be hard-pressed to notice the difference!
- Choose water instead of tea or sodas! A lot of drinks actually have a dehydrating effect on your body, particularly teas, soda, and alcohol. Water helps your body function in many different ways, and because it has no calories, it’s the best way to help manage body weight and reduce your caloric intake each day.
- Go for the vegetables. Veggies offer your body a lot more of the nutrients it needs versus the starchy carbohydrates that everyone loves to focus on. Here’s a secret: this little pro tip will go a long way in helping you manage your blood sugar so that you can still enjoy the next tip on this list:
- Yes, you can absolutely enjoy a slice of pie or other dessert at the end of the meal! The important thing is to save room for dessert by not overeating and limiting your sweets intake. Everything in moderation, right?!
Eating is a big part of the holiday season, and one that should be approached with merriment and joy. By focusing on quality and quantity, seniors can still enjoy all the favorite ‘fixin’s’ while making sure to simultaneously get the appropriate levels of nutrition.