While Thanksgiving is a holiday centered on expressing gratitude, it is also known as a day for indulging in a feast. From mashed potatoes to turkey to pies, the foods typically served on Thanksgiving can be rich and heavy. While these kinds of foods can be satisfactorily filling, they are not always the most nutritious options and sometimes not ideal for elderly individuals.
As people age, nutritional needs change. Seniors often do not have the strength and health they once had, so they need to pay attention to their diet and eat healthy and beneficial foods. But this does not mean your family will have to forgo traditional dishes this Thanksgiving.
If you will be celebrating Thanksgiving with an elderly relative this holiday, consider preparing the following healthy meals for seniors. Not only will they provide essential nutrients for your elderly loved one, but they will still fit the bill of traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Roast Turkey
No food defines Thanksgiving like turkey does. The great thing about turkey is it is a healthy protein, making it a great choice for elderly individuals. They will receive nutrients that are imperative for helping them maintain muscle and strength. However, turkey can easily become unhealthy if it contains stuffing or has a glaze. These additions make the dish high in calories with fewer nutrients.
Knowing this, stick to preparing a roast turkey this Thanksgiving, and avoid salting it beforehand. The salt will add unnecessary sodium that seniors, in particular, do not need. If you want to stuff the bird, use oranges and apples. These fruits will provide moisture and flavor.
When serving the turkey, seniors should opt for light meat as opposed to dark meat because it is the healthier, less fatty choice.
2. Green Bean Casserole
Another Thanksgiving classic, green beans provide vitamins A, C, and K in addition to fiber. They can improve digestive health and offer antioxidant protection which can be especially helpful for elderly individuals. However, traditional green bean casseroles can be high in fat, sodium, and calories.
Keep green beans in your Thanksgiving feast by making a healthier green bean casserole this holiday. Instead of a cream-based sauce, use whole wheat flour and reduced fat milk. Add some chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, and low fat Parmesan cheese to finish it off before baking as normal.
3. Baked Asparagus
If green beans aren’t your thing, consider baked asparagus fries as one of the healthy meals for seniors this Thanksgiving. Asparagus has many of the same benefits of green beans; it is rich in folate, thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Grab stalks of asparagus, eggs, bread crumbs, and low fat Parmesan cheese. Beat the eggs, and coat each asparagus stalk in them. Afterwards, dip the asparagus into a bread crumb and cheese mixture. Repeat this process for the rest of the stalks, and then bake them for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Traditional potatoes are not the most nutritious food, but you and your loved ones can still get your potato fix this Thanksgiving with sweet potatoes ― sans the butter and excess sugar from marshmallows that is. Adding a buttery sauce and marshmallows provides unnecessary sugar and fat.
Sweet potatoes aid with digestion thanks to their fiber content, and they are also high in vitamins A and C. Prepare them by baking them with a sprinkling of cinnamon for extra flavor.
5. Mashed Cauliflower
If your elderly loved one enjoys mashed potatoes, prepare mashed cauliflower as a healthier alternative. It is rich in fiber, potassium, protein, magnesium, and vitamins C and K. Just add some rosemary, garlic, and a bit of low fat Parmesan cheese for flavor to create what will be a tasty and nutritious dish to go along with your roast turkey.
6. Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without some dessert. Usually seen as an unhealthy, overly sugary dish, dessert can be healthy and satisfying ― even at Thanksgiving.
Finish off your Thanksgiving dinner with a healthier take on pumpkin pie by using crushed pecans to make the crust. To make the filling, combine condensed skim milk with an egg substitute and pumpkin puree.
Elderly Home Care Help
The aforementioned healthy meals for seniors will allow elderly individuals to partake in a traditional Thanksgiving meal that provides necessary nutrients for good health. However, it is often unsafe for seniors themselves to prepare the meals.
Many elderly individuals need daily senior care to lead a safe life at home. They may require help with personal care, housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and more. Ensure your elderly loved one can still have healthy meals by hiring help from a professional elderly home care service.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we have personal assistance and senior care services in Park Ridge, IL, and the surrounding areas. Within these services, our professional caregivers assist and care for elderly individuals at home. This allows seniors to live safely and remain in the comfortable environment of their home.