Whether you're a senior yourself or act as a caregiver for an older family member, the holidays bring challenges when it comes to healthy eating. From sugar cookies and candy canes to dinner feasts with ham and all the trimmings, an array of delicious but not-so-nutritious options leads many of us astray during the last month of the year. What's more, many seniors have dietary restrictions that can be negatively affected by catering, restaurant meals and potluck dinners. Try these healthy holiday eating tips to take you through the new year and beyond.
Aim for Moderation
Everyone likes to indulge a little bit during the holidays. The trick is not to let one splurge day affect how you eat the rest of the month. For example, if you know you're going to a party that will have a table full of rich desserts, avoid sugar for the rest of the day. When you have a big dinner planned, stick to veggies, salad and other lean choices for breakfast and lunch. If you have Christmas cookies or other treats in the house, limit yourself to just one small serving a day.
Avoid Skipping Meals
Although it may seem counterintuitive, skipping meals during the day when you're attending a holiday event can actually lead you to overeat. That's because you'll be so hungry when you arrive at that party that it will be much more difficult to make good choices when faced with a delectable buffet. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, fiber-rich choices like fruits and whole grains will help you feel full and limit your overall calorie intake for the day.
When you're socializing with friends and loved ones, you may not remember to drink enough water. This is especially true at parties with punch, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Try to drink small amounts of water, tea and coffee throughout the day and avoid drinks with too much sugar.
Keep Dietary Restrictions in Mind
Many seniors have been told to stick to a special diet by their doctors. For example, you may have a low-sodium nutrition plan if you have high blood pressure or a specific diet to manage blood sugar if you have diabetes. This doesn't mean you have to skip holiday merriment, but it does mean you should bring your own food items in case your options are limited. Think nutritious, portable items like cut up veggies and granola bars.
Home Helpers in Drexel Hill can help you explore in-home options for your family member. If you have a senior loved one who could benefit from companion care, homemaking assistance, Alzheimer's and dementia care or other services, call us today at (484) 461-8887 or complete our online form.