Cracking open the eggnog, crafting a new ornament or getting cozy on the couch to watch a festive movie — everyone has their own traditions to bring family and friends together over the holidays.
For most, food is an important part of those traditions. From turkey with stuffing and scalloped potatoes to brisket and latkes, this time of year goes the extra mile to delight and tempt the taste buds.
While we all love to indulge in the seasonal sweets and savories, it’s important that older adults prioritize their health and wellness. Take these steps to help keep you and your loved one’s diet healthy—and ready to maximize the season’s bounty.
Healthy Eating Tips for Older Adults During the Holidays
Make a Festivity-Proof Plan
- Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar
- Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to manage your blood sugar, and you’ll be at risk of over-eating during a celebration dinner. Stick to three solid meals a day.
- If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) at meals.
- Choose indulgences. Take account of the options beforehand and make decisions about which treats you (or your aging loved one) would most enjoy.
Be Mindful of Salt
As you get older it is important to keep salt intake low to help ensure that your blood pressure stays within a healthy range. Furthermore, with increasing age there is a heightened salt sensitivity meaning that salt has a greater effect on blood pressure. This can lead to heart disease and stroke. To help keep your salt intake low during the holidays, refrain from adding extra salt at the table …and from indulging in that second helping of prepared foods.
Practice Portion Control
We’ve all done it – had that extra piece of turkey or said, “just a smidge” to more pie. Unfortunately, overindulging can impact your digestive system and cause you to experience some uncomfortable and unwanted symptoms.
A great remedy? Use a smaller plate to help control your portion size. Plus, it may trick your mind into thinking that you’re eating more. Other tips include:
- Politely decline seconds.
- Plan to indulge in a few favorite decadent foods then step away from the table.
- Make time to take walk after your meal – it improves digestion.
Most importantly, eat mindfully. Whether or not you plan enjoy a few indulgences, be sure to chew your food carefully, listen to your body’s fullness signals, and relish the experience.
Focus On Fruits and Veggies
Strive to eat at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. It’s a great way to satisfy your hunger without overindulging in salt, sugar, and fat rich foods. What’s more, the fiber in fruits and vegetables will fill you up faster than traditional snack foods.
Remember to Hydrate
It is easy to forget to drink water during this busy time. As you bask in the joy of the season, make sure hydration is on your holiday radar.
Also, keep in mind that seniors sometimes experience a decrease in saliva production. This can lead to dry mouth and even a reduced ability to taste. Beat this palate-busting predicament by drinking proper amounts of water and other fluids throughout the day.
Carve Out Time for Exercise
Staying active and maintaining an exercise routine may seem like an impossible task with an activity calendar full of holiday parties and family get-togethers. But remember, staying active is a cornerstone of healthy aging. Besides, during a time of year when the treats are plenty, burning a few extra calories might be a good thing!
Consider doing some stretches or light weighted workouts after a meal or first thing in the morning. Not only will it contribute to your physical health, but it will help you stay mentally sharp and stave off any potential winter blues.
Get Involved in Holiday Activities
Brighten the holidays this year by shifting the focus to social events and activities. After all, it’s easier to stick with a nutrition plan when you’re not surrounded by food-related temptations. Instead, pack your day with fun alternatives like holiday crafting, decorating, movie watching, outings to see the lights and sights, gift shopping and wrapping. If you need some ideas, check out our Instagram page to see some of the great things happening at ASC retirement residences across the country.
How Retirement Communities Promote Healthy Aging
As a resident at an All Seniors Care Living Centre, you know that with the help of our dedicated staff, you can create a plan that will keep your choices wellness-focused all year round. Thus, reducing the impact of tempting times like the holidays.
Our retirement communities in Canada all offer a wide variety of dining options, from casual to formal, as well as a private space for celebrations with your family and friends. After all, in our golden years, the holiday season is best enjoyed like everything else — well-balanced and filled with love.
Contact us today! If you are interested in touring one of our senior retirement homes, be sure to attend a Boxing Week Home For The Holidays Open House. They are happening daily from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on December 26-30th, 2022.
Writer – Julianna McLeod
Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.