Eating is a large part of most holiday celebrations. However, there is a tendency to lean toward foods that may not be the healthiest choices for the elderly. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure your senior loved one can enjoy his or her favorite holiday foods without sacrificing health. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care Bridgewater families trust, has put together some suggestions to help make holiday meals healthier.
Most holiday get-togethers feature a wide selection of finger foods and appetizers. Unfortunately, many of these dishes are fried or contain cheese or high-fat ingredients that may not be beneficial for seniors with heart disease or high cholesterol. Try opting for appetizers such as fruit and vegetable skewers, which are lower in fat and calories and contain a variety of vitamins and antioxidants.
Holiday main dish staples such as turkey, ham, and roast are often loaded with sodium that can cause your loved one to retain excess water weight, which can exacerbate certain health conditions. Many seniors are even on special sodium-restricted diets to control their hypertension. You can help your loved one control his or her sodium intake by replacing a majority of the salt with fresh herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, parsley, and garlic.
Many holiday sides are loaded with high-fat ingredients such as heavy cream and butter, which can lead to high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Instead of the traditional sweet potato and green bean casseroles, try grilling, roasting, or stir-frying veggies with a little olive oil. The monounsaturated fats and antioxidants in olive oil are known to play a significant role in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level and promoting heart health.
Breads and Pastas
Breads and pasta salads are a traditional part of many holiday meals and potlucks. You can boost the nutrition level of these dishes by simply using whole-wheat breads and pastas instead of those made with white or semolina flour. The additional fiber can help your loved one maintain healthy digestive function.
Desserts and Baked Goods
Holiday desserts often contain an abundance of fat and sugar. This is especially problematic for seniors with heart disease or diabetes. You can make your loved one’s favorite desserts healthier by substituting applesauce with no added sugar in place of butter, low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar, and skim or low-fat milk for heavy cream.
For other solutions to help your loved one maintain a healthy diet, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with the preparation of nutritious meals and can even help with your loved one’s grocery shopping. We also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s home care in Bridgewater for seniors who need more comprehensive care. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.