Thanksgiving and Senior Citizens: Striking a Healthy Balance this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving and Senior Citizens: Striking a Healthy Balance this Holiday Season

If you’re making Thanksgiving dinner for a senior citizen, navigating the meal can seem daunting. You may find yourself asking: how do I cater to the needs of my loved one?

If you are wondering how to approach Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few guidelines for making a meal that is senior-friendly, nutritious, and delicious!

Upgrade Classics with Healthy Additions

When we think of Thanksgiving, we often are overcome by thoughts of cheesy potatoes, super sweet yams, and highly caloric stuffing. These things, although seemingly delicious, can be overly rich for seniors and severely lacking in nutrition. 

So, if you are a caregiver, it helps to add lighter options to old favorites. Classic mac and cheese can be lightened by using skim milk instead of heavy cream. Mashed potatoes can be substituted with pureed parsnips or other roasted root vegetables. 

Substitute Salt with Alternative Seasonings

Although salt is one of the main tenets of cooking a meal, copious amounts of it can be detrimental to the health of a senior citizen. Overly salted mashed potatoes might sound delicious to some but can cause water retention in the elderly. The sodium can even cause a spike in blood pressure or other cardiovascular complications!

Thus, before grabbing the iodized salt, it’s best to consider other seasonings. Ginger, garlic powder, and other spices can impart delicious flavors to a Thanksgiving dish, without compromising the health of your loved one.

Choose Ingredients that Can Be Easily Chewed and Swallowed

It’s a known fact that senior citizens are prone to having weaker teeth. Those with dentures and other dental implants might find tougher meats difficult to chew and swallow. Thus, when you are choosing your Thanksgiving meal, take into account the capabilities of your loved one. At the end of the day, the most delicious meal in the world becomes useless if the guests aren’t able to eat it!

Use Fresh Ingredients

When you are making Thanksgiving for your loved one, try to incorporate fresh ingredients into your cooking. Often times, the canned ingredients have unnatural additives, preservatives, and “flavor enhancers.”

To avoid these additions, you can substitute fresh-cut vegetables for boxed stuffing, or use real potatoes instead of canned. This will up the nutritional factor of the meal, and it will also taste better!

Remember, the pilgrims weren’t eating processed products at the first thanksgiving: they were eating fresh vegetables and clean ingredients!

For more information contact a home health care agency, like a home health care agency in Palm Beach County, FL, today.

Thank you to Expicare Nursing Agency for their insight into Thanksgiving and senior citizens: striking a healthy balance this holiday season. 

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