Thanksgiving dinners often consist of a large array of delicious dishes. However, many holiday favorites aren’t necessarily healthy for older adults. There are many alternative recipes available for making mouthwatering dishes that are more nutritious for seniors.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Families might want to consider substituting mashed sweet potatoes for traditional stuffing or marshmallow-laden baked yams. Bake whole or boil diced sweet potatoes. Add a dash of cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar. Mash the potatoes and serve. Half a cup of mashed sweet potatoes has more than 300 percent of the daily vitamin A requirements. Vitamin A is vital for maintaining vision in addition to keeping muscles and skin healthy. Sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber, and there are only 100 calories in a whole sweet potato. Sweet potatoes also contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which prevents the premature cell damage that leads to several medical conditions.
Limiting sugar and starch intake is important for seniors, especially those with diseases such as diabetes. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Columbus seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Panko Green Beans
Green bean casserole graces many tables on Thanksgiving. Panko green beans are a healthier alternative. The beans can be prepared with onions and mushrooms. Top the dish with panko breadcrumbs toasted in a little bit of olive oil. Green beans have only 38 calories in each one-cup serving. They’re also high in vitamins A and C as well as fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Fruit and Nut Stuffing
Traditional stuffing recipes often contain giblets or sausage along with butter and other high-fat ingredients. The healthier version combines onions, carrots, apples, cranberries, raisins, and nuts with diced bread, chicken broth, and eggs. The fruits and vegetables provide vitamins A and C along with fiber and antioxidants. The eggs, raisins, and nuts offer iron and protein.
Making sure seniors maintain good nutrition is only one of the many tasks family caregivers perform. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Columbus families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C, fiber, and manganese. The homemade version of the holiday sauce uses fresh whole cranberries, which are high in anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. These chemical compounds provide antioxidant protection and are also good for reducing systemic inflammation while protecting the body against cancer and urinary tract infections. A quarter-cup serving of cranberry sauce has only 40 calories.
Depending on the number of guests expected to arrive for the holiday feast, you might want to consider preparing turkey breasts in lieu of the traditional whole bird. This low-fat alternative provides 30 grams of protein and 135 calories in each three-ounce serving. Turkey is also high in tryptophan, which is needed to make the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Although often high in salt content, baked hams provide a wealth of niacin, thiamine, and vitamin B12. B vitamins are essential for healthy nerve tissue. Each three-ounce serving of baked ham provides 20 grams of protein and 122 calories.
Most people like to indulge a bit on Thanksgiving, but there are plenty of tasty alternatives to the high calories and sugary foods associated with the holiday. It’s especially important for seniors to maintain good nutrition every day of the year, so try these alternatives that everyone will love. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Columbus Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888 to learn more about our customized care plans.