Sticking to a Healthy Diet during the Holidays

  • November 25, 2019

‘Tis the season for enjoying sweet treats with friends and family. The cookies, candy, and carb-heavy meals can be more than just a threat to your waistline. For older adults who live with chronic health conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, popular holiday foods may put their health at risk.

These foods can contribute to issues such as high blood-sugar levels and increased blood pressure. Both can have serious health complications. If you or a senior loved one is trying to stay on track during the holiday season, we have a few suggestions.

Lightening Up Holiday Menus and Snacks

1. Modify favorite recipes

Most holiday dishes can be modified to reduce fat, calories, salt and sugar without altering the taste very much. That means everyone can eat a little healthier while still enjoying their holiday favorites. For example, substituting plain yogurt for sour cream in vegetable dip or unsweetened applesauce for some of the butter in cookies are simple and healthier alternatives.

2. Portion control is important

People with chronic health conditions can sometimes enjoy a few bites of a favorite treat without experiencing problems. The key is to exercise discipline and portion control. Check with the doctor for specific guidelines. If you or a senior’s disease is under control, the physician may say a few treats in moderation is fine.

3. Stay hydrated

Skipping the sugary drinks and sodas, and opting for water during the holidays is best. Water helps flush excess sugar from the bloodstream.

Avoiding dehydration is essential any time of year, including the holidays. Staying hydrated helps prevent sluggishness and fatigue that may lead to overindulging in unhealthy comfort foods.

4. Count carbs, too

Many people think if they skip the treat table and opt for heartier appetizers, they will be better off. The bad news is many of those options are filled with carbohydrates. Pasta salads, holiday breads, cheese, and processed meats might not be any better for you than holiday treats like cookies and cakes. Better choices are fruit salads, fresh vegetables, and nuts.

5. Snack before parties

Another tip is one you may have heard before—fill up on healthy snacks before heading out to a holiday party or gathering. Heading to a party feeling hungry will make those tasty treats much harder to resist. 

Finally, don’t skip exercising during the hectic holidays. It’s more important than ever. If you can’t find time to work in thirty minutes of continuous exercise, opt for two fifteen-minute sessions instead. You’ll reap the same rewards.

You and your senior family member could practice fifteen minutes of chair yoga together in the morning and then you could take a brisk walk in the evening before leaving for a holiday party.

A Five Star Dining Experience

One myth you may have heard is that senior living communities don’t have very great food. Nothing could be further from the truth at Five Star Senior Living. In fact, we have our own Five Star Culinary Institute to train our community chefs. It’s all done under the direction of celebrity chef, Brad Miller.

Call the community nearest you to schedule a tour and to be our guest for lunch or dinner. You’ll see firsthand how we are setting the standard for excellence in senior-living dining!

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