Healthy Holiday Meals for Seniors

November 16th, 2020 | Senior Health

The holiday season is spent around the table, with family and friends catching up over family favorite recipes. No matter how you will be spending Thanksgiving and other festive meals this year, you can find easy ways to make comfort foods healthy as well. Our Legend experts gathered together to give you the substitutions and inspiration that will make your holiday meals delicious and nutritious.


Add Brain Boosting Ingredients

Everyone can benefit from eating foods that can increase memory and concentration. When you add certain vitamins and minerals to your daily diet, you can improve brain health in the short and long term. For example, adding antioxidants can decrease brain inflammation and cellular stress, both of which are conditions that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain boosting foods are not just crucial for brain health, they are also delicious. Foods that can benefit your brain include fish rich in omega-3, such as salmon and tuna. You can also find antioxidants in ingredients like blueberries, currants, almonds, and dark chocolate.

Add brain boosting foods to your holiday dessert table by making a sweet treat that is packed with antioxidants. Try a dark chocolate and blueberry bark; we recommend toasting your almonds before adding them to the recipe. Prefer a main dish idea? This orange and pomegranate salmon entree is just as beautiful as it is delicious. Leftovers go great shredded on a mixed green salad the next day.


Heart Healthy Alternatives

Seniors are at an increased risk for having chronic heart conditions, which means they are more likely to have to skip favorite treats in order to follow medical guidelines. Heart healthy diets are packed with fiber, vegetables, and whole grains. Luckily, you can find a healthy alternative to most traditional items on your holiday table.

Add fiber and some autumn inspired color to your Thanksgiving feast by making pumpkin soup. Skip adding any heavy cream; you won’t even miss it in this rich and tasty version. A starter salad is also an excellent way to start your meal with heart healthy decisions; we love any version that includes greens, goat cheese, figs, apples, and a light vinaigrette.


Calcium Packed Treats

Calcium is especially important for senior health in general, and you can incorporate calcium packed ingredients in most of your holiday meal favorites. If you have an ice cream maker, you can make peppermint ice cream which is the perfect treat on its own, with a spoonful of hot fudge on top, or even on top of hot cocoa.


Other Healthy Holiday Tips

If you want to make a holiday meal that is healthy and accessible for any challenge, here are a few more tips from our Legend Senior Living experts:

Skip on fried turkey. Roasting is a better and healthier alternative.

Roasted root veggies like potatoes, parsnips, and onions look beautiful and taste delicious. (Steamed vegetables are an excellent side dish option too!)

Fill your plate with mostly veggies, but don’t skip out on your favorite dishes either.

Take a small portion of dessert, and only when you aren’t too stuffed to fully enjoy it.

Seniors who have dental issues can find some foods difficult or painful to eat; try hearty soups and soft vegetables (roasted or boiled works well) as a healthy alternative.

Package up leftovers in individual portions that are easy to prepare the next day. If there is an option for freezing certain dishes, like soup, freeze in individual portions that you can pull out to enjoy another time.

Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Resist the urge to only drink coffee or If you take medications that need to be taken with food, plan your schedule accordingly so that you are not skipping or pushing back a dose.

At Legend Senior Living, we view dining experiences as a crucial part of our residents’ days. Dining should be a full sensory experience, packed with delicious tastes, tantalizing aromas, and socialization with friends. We would love to share a meal with you; call the Legend residence nearest you to learn more about our dining program.