If you provide care for an aging parent or are hosting this year’s holiday celebrations, have you considered preparing a senior friendly Thanksgiving dinner? While we don’t want you to scrap traditional family recipes or delicious sweet treats, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to keep your holiday meal healthy and satisfying for your entire family, including your aging loved ones!
Consider Health Conditions
Before you begin preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, take into consideration any health problems or ailments your aging loved one might have. If high blood pressure, diabetes or heart conditions are a problem, make sure there are healthy alternatives to your maybe, not-so-healthy courses. This is also a good time to consider any medications your aging loved one might be taking. There are a variety of food and drug combinations that pose risk to the health of seniors. For example, Brussel sprouts, a favorite holiday side dish negatively interacts with Warfarin, a drug prescribed to prevent blood clots.
Meal Preparation Tips
When preparing your own Thanksgiving dinner at home, you can still create a flavorful meal in the spirit of the season while avoiding foods high in fat, sugar and sodium. Here are a few simple substitutions and tricks from Home Care Assistance:
- Lean Meats – While some people celebrate with a holiday ham, Thanksgiving is usually all about the turkey which is great news for senior health! Lean meats like turkey are a rich source of protein and contain iron, zinc, potassium and B6. Some studies even show that regular turkey consumption can aid in lowering cholesterol levels so if your aging parents and grandparents love your Thanksgiving turkey, you may be able to pass on the recipe to use throughout the year.
- Starchy Sides – Potatoes can be prepared in many ways, making them a great side dish to accompany a holiday feast. In fact, potatoes help keep you full longer and contain just about every nutrient, including Vitamin C. They are also a good source of iron and copper, promoting normal blood pressure levels. You lose the nutrients when you pack potato dishes with butter and sour cream, so consider using substitutes such as fat free yogurt when looking to add some extra flavor to your mash.
- Over-salting – Whether we like to admit it or not, many people are victims of over-salting their dishes. However, food doesn’t need salt to add flavor. Consider using lemon as a flavor enhancer as its acidity cuts has a similar sharpness to salt. Fresh herbs and spices are also a great way to add extra flavor. And because salt can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and dementia, removing as much as you can is sure to benefit your elder diners.
The smallest adjustments can go a long way in terms of senior health! If you are looking for other senior health tips, check out our Comfort Foods Cookbook or contact a Home Care Assistance Care Manager at 972-468-6010.