Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year when friends and family come together to enjoy great food and good company. However, the holidays can also be a difficult time of the year for seniors who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while avoiding feelings of loneliness or isolation. The good news is there are some simple steps older adults can take to make their Thanksgiving festivities healthier, happier and more enjoyable.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Although you may be tempted skip breakfast on Thanksgiving Day, it’s important that you eat a nourishing meal the morning of your big turkey dinner. Adults who eat a healthy, balanced breakfast on Thanksgiving can avoid overindulging when it is time for dinner.
Make healthy substitutions.
You can add a lot of nutrients to a classic Thanksgiving recipe by experimenting with healthier ingredients. If you’re preparing a Thanksgiving dish this year, consider all these changes or just some of them – every little bit counts!
- Cut back on sugar. You can usually reduce sugar in baking recipes without affecting the recipe’s flavor.
- Reduce salt. Choose broths and dressings that are lower in sodium. Add flavor to dishes using sage, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to reduce the need for salt in your favorite dishes.
- Skip the cream. When preparing the mashed potatoes and other heavy sides, use Greek yogurt or low-fat milk in place of cream.
- Halve the butter. Many classic Thanksgiving recipes are loaded with butter. Cut the butter in half and you’ll barely taste the difference.
- Add a boost of nutrition. You can make your Thanksgiving meal healthier and more flavorful by adding nutrient-dense recipes to your menu. For instance, serve a hearty harvest salad, loaded with butternut squash, apples, dried cranberries and almonds in addition to traditional sides.
At Country Place, our seniors can enjoy a delicious, homemade Thanksgiving dinner prepared by our on-site culinary chef. Residents are welcome to invite friends and family to join them for our Thanksgiving celebration!
Move your body.
According to the CDC, adults 65 and older should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise—even through the holiday season. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, take any chance you can to go for a walk or enjoy some active games with friends and loved ones. At Country Place, we encourage residents to enjoy an active lifestyle by offering a variety of exercise classes, like Seniorcize®, and hobbies, such as Wii bowling, that encourage movement and physical activity.
Stay extra hydrated.
Dehydration is common during the winter months and busy holiday season. Unfortunately, seniors are prone to dehydration, and not drinking enough water could lead to health problems or even hospitalization. Keep water nearby throughout the day and enjoy hot drinks, like tea, as good way to stay warm and hydrated during winter festivities.
Slow down and savor.
When preparing your Thanksgiving plate, select reasonable-sized portions of food, and resist the urge to go back for second helpings. You are less likely to overeat when you limit yourself to one plate—plus you will have more room for dessert! Lastly, eat slowly to give your brain time to signal from your stomach that it’s full. When you take time to eat your food, it also gives you the opportunity to appreciate the meal before you.
Reduce Holiday Stress
Practice good self-care in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Get quality sleep every night, fuel your body with nutritious foods and surround yourself with loved ones who care about you. By eliminating stressors in your life and leaning into the support available at Country Place, seniors can enjoy a memorable, relaxed holiday season.
Thanksgiving is an admittedly challenging holiday when it comes to committing to healthy life choices. At Country Place, our incredible team of staff and caregivers are dedicated to providing your loved ones with the best care available—during the holidays and beyond. To learn more about our community, schedule a tour today!