Tis the season to be merry. That typically involves a party or two, where it’s fun to indulge in all the wonderful culinary treats the season has to offer.
Unfortunately, all those tasty goodies can take a toll on a senior’s health.
From that second slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving to the champagne toast on New Year’s Eve, the holidays are filled with one opportunity after another for indulging in unhealthy habits at parties.
Older Adults Have Special Dietary Needs (and Restrictions)
Younger people can quickly recover from overindulging at holiday parties. But for seniors indulging too much is different. Many are on restricted diets or are more vulnerable to weight gain because of the aging process.
Older Americans can enjoy their holiday parties but they should be mindful of how to balance all the fun with a healthy approach to eating. It all begins with having a plan.
Healthy Eating Tips for Older Americans at Holiday Parties
Here are a few tips to help seniors make healthy choices while attending parties.
Eat Before You Go
What’s a holiday party without lots of delicious food? You can expect there to be a variety of tempting goodies so plan not to arrive hungry. By filling up before you go, you’ll be less inclined to load your plate too high.
Good options include nuts or fruit because the fiber will help you feel full longer. One serving of either of these beforehand means you can carefully select healthy party food without the pressure of needing to eat immediately.
Manage Your Intake of Sweet Treats
This time of year, you can expect an abundance of sugary delights to entice you all season long: cookies, pies, eggnog, fruitcake, and more. An important part of staying healthy this month and next is paying attention to your sugar intake.
That might prove difficult at a party, however! You’re sure to encounter lots of tempting desserts, so you’ll need a plan. A good tip is to save your daily ‘sugar allowance’ for the occasion, refraining from indulging the rest of the day.
Holiday parties are even more challenging for diabetic seniors, for whom those tasty confections can mean double trouble. Follow your normal routine but be extra vigilant.
Bring a Heart-Healthy Option
From eggnog and prime rib to the ubiquitous cheese log, fat-rich comfort food seems to dominate the table this time of year. Seniors should take extra care to watch their fat intake. One way to do this is to bring your own low-fat appetizer to the party.
Again, nuts make a great healthy option. They’re not only filling, but they can help you stick to a heart-healthy diet, too.
Healthy Options During the Holidays and Beyond
Seniors need to be extra vigilant during the holidays, but eating right is important all year round. These healthy tips for holiday parties are really just extensions of what older adults can aim for every day.
That’s easier for seniors who live in Five Star Senior Living communities. Our residents enjoy the benefits of our acclaimed Signature Dining program. That includes healthy options as well as comfort food, all inspired by our celebrity chef and the Five Star Culinary Institute.
If you’d like to find out more about Signature Dining, please call and schedule a tour of a Five Star Senior Living community near you. Plan to stay for lunch!