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Many Americans overindulge on Thanksgiving. While younger people might be able to bounce back from a calorie fest, seniors need to be more careful about their nutritional intake. Ahead, learn which healthy Thanksgiving Day foods to serve for seniors.
Turkey is a healthy lean protein that’s great for seniors, as long as they don’t drown it in high-fat gravy products. Seniors should choose white meat rather than dark meat, as it has less saturated fat. They should also remove the skin from their turkey, as it also contains artery-clogging saturated fats. Gravy should be kept to a minimum, as both homemade and canned varieties are full of calories, salt, sugar, and fats. To make sure your senior loved one enjoys his or her Thanksgiving meal, consider whipping up a batch of low-fat gravy.
To normalize the digestive system, seniors should always try to eat a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables at every meal. Thanksgiving meals tend to go overboard on the carbs, and too many carbs can cause blood sugar levels to spike. To optimize post-Thanksgiving digestion, seniors should make sure they eat plenty of vegetables. The traditional green bean casserole is often high in calories, so seniors may want to opt for a side salad. If you’re in charge of the meal, make sure the salad is filled with a variety of vegetables, ranging from carrots to calcium-rich spinach.
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The classic sweet potato casserole, which is smothered in sugar and cinnamon and topped with marshmallows, is a high-calorie side dish. Though sweet potatoes are filled with healthy vitamins and nutrients such as beta carotene and fiber, seniors may want to avoid the sugar-laden casserole. If your loved one enjoys sweet potatoes, consider making a low-calorie casserole this year. If you swap the butter for applesauce, get rid of the marshmallow topping, and go easy on the sugar, you can create a tasty sweet potato dish the whole family can enjoy.
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Cranberries are full of the vitamins and nutrients seniors need, including vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation throughout the body. These berries are also known for promoting healthy urinary tract function. To ensure your loved one gets the benefits of cranberries, serve cranberry sauce made of fresh berries instead of sauce from a can. Canned cranberry sauce tends to be high in preservatives and sugar, which can mitigate the health benefits of the antioxidant-rich berries.
Like sweet potatoes, pumpkins are packed with nutrients ranging from vitamin A to potassium. When pumpkin is baked into a pie, the sugar and fat content can outweigh the health benefits. If your loved one wants pumpkin without the high calorie content, serve pumpkin bread, which is packed with plenty of pumpkin spice flavorings but doesn’t have the drawbacks of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream.
Holidays can be fun for the whole family, but they also often come with a lot of unhealthy dietary choices, especially for seniors who need to watch their nutrition every day of the year. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Albuquerque families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 505-798-0800.