Thanksgiving often feels like the first exciting kickoff to the season of giving. It is a holiday that is all about appreciating what we already have and what we hold dear: our family, our friends and all of our loved ones. For many of us, Thanksgiving is also all about the food!
We all have our favorite Thanksgiving dishes that we look forward to each year. As we and members of our family grow older, it is worth re-imagining some of the traditional holiday dishes to make a Thanksgiving dinner that is delicious and still friendly on everybody’s stomach!
Here are some general guidelines and tips for a safe Turkey Day for us and our seniors!
1. Eat three balanced meals on Thanksgiving Day.
With the whole day centered around the main event, we may be tempted to skip a meal and eat a larger dinner than we usually do. As we age, our metabolism slows down. We may also experience a loss of appetite for various reasons, including medications and duller taste buds.
These are reasons why regularly spaced out meals, in sensible portions and with nutrient-dense foods can be so important for seniors. Make sure the senior in your life isn’t overeating and/or under-eating on the big day. Remember that eating in moderation just means more yummy leftovers!
2. Avoid salt, sugar, excess carbohydrates and fat.
Older people may tend to reach for the salt as their taste buds become less sensitive, but an excess of sodium can raise blood pressure. A good rule of thumb is to reach for herbs and spices before you reach for the salt! An abundance of spices can safely add a punch of flavor to our traditional dishes.
We also tend to make a plethora of desserts on Thanksgiving that are loaded with refined sugar. This can affect anyone’s blood sugar levels, and can be particularly dangerous for diabetics. We can similarly find other ways to make yummy desserts by reaching for spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and making things interesting with citrus, nuts or vanilla.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is about the turkey! As you fill up your plate, keep in mind that the dark meat and the skin of the turkey contain the most calories and fat. If your looking for the leanest protein, you may want to pile up on the skinless white meat.
3. Take your time.
The easiest way to digest a meal is slowly, savoring the flavor and the company! If you and your elder family members are able, going for a walk and getting a little bit of exercise after the meal may help you digest your food better, especially if you do end up eating a little too much! Going for a walk after a meal has been shown to help lower blood sugar. Always remember to drink water as well!
Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating, it’s about feeling good. Remember to enjoy yourself, and take some time to appreciate all the wonderful flavors and blessings of the day.
Here are some recipe ideas that can help you follow the guidelines above!
Green bean casserole is a creamy staple at the Thanksgiving table. Here is a still-delicious recipe that cuts back on those saturated fats. Alternative flour, such as whole wheat flour or almond flour, can also be used for diabetic needs. Be sure to check out the tips at the bottom of the recipe!
Check out this no-sugar added sweet potato casserole that will let the sweet potato shine!
Here is a unique recipe for cranberry sauce that cuts out the sugar by adding in grapes and a touch of maple syrup.
Cut out the carbs with this roasted cauliflower stuffing.
What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? Here is an updated pumpkin pie recipe to help you indulge a little healthier.
Happy Thanksgiving from Assisting Hands
Here at Assisting Hands, we are thankful for having such wonderful clients! We know that our clients want only the best for their loved ones, and we also know that sometimes you can’t do it all! If you need a helping hand this holiday, please give us a call. Happy Thanksgiving!