Getting together with our family members and sharing festive meals together is one of the best parts of the holidays. Though COVID-19 has prevented us from having big family gatherings, it is still important to visit your immediate family. But while your immediate family may enjoy the traditional holiday meal of turkey, cranberries, potatoes and stuffing, your senior family members may not be able to eat that same meal for a variety of reasons.
Why your senior family members may need a special diet
As we age, there are a number of health issues that can come into our lives and dictate the kinds of meals we may eat. Health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions or even celiac disease can limit the types of food our loved ones can eat. By taking into account what they can and can’t eat, your loved one is less likely to feel left out during small family gatherings this holiday season.
There are many holiday treats that can be easily changed so they meet certain dietary requirements. Here are a few ideas for updating your favourite recipes this season.
For Seniors with Diabetes
Whether your loved one has been diabetic for many years or was recently diagnosed, you can easily change up some of your holiday traditions to make them feel included.
One of the aspects of successfully managing diabetes is the portions of food consumed. If you’re helping your loved one monitor their portions, you can easily take a plate and divide it into quarters. You can then fill one quarter with turkey, one with a starchy vegetable like potatoes or yams and then the remaining quarters with a vegetable like green beans or a salad.
Your loved ones can still enjoy a dessert. Just remember to have a sugar-free option so that their sugar level does not elevate and they can continue to successfully manage their diabetes.
For Seniors on a Low-Sodium Diet
Sometimes seniors are advised by their doctors to follow a low-sodium diet if they have a heart condition or need to monitor cholesterol levels.
Remove the skin
When you’re putting that turkey on your plate, look for pieces that don’t have any skin on them or remove the skin before you eat it.
Change up your recipes
If you usually make recipes like green bean casserole, you could change your canned green beans to fresh ones as sometimes canned vegetables have higher sodium content.
For those on a gluten-free diet
There are many people over 50 who are benefiting from a diet low in wheat, and it isn’t just a trend to lose weight.
Change the flour
When you’re doing your holiday baking, many recipes that use traditional flour can be changed up to use the flour of your choice to meet a specific dietary need.
This might seem really odd and impossible, but there are many recipes out there for gluten-free stuffing so that everyone in your family can enjoy the holiday dinner without upsetting their diets.
Having your loved ones around for the holidays is really important, and you want everyone to enjoy all the meals you share together. With some small adjustments, you can make the meals this holiday work with your senior family member and make sure you’re meeting their dietary needs. Just remember, this holiday season, it is especially important to be aware of regulations and safety measures for COVID-19. Stay safe and enjoy the holidays!
If you have a loved one in your life with special dietary needs that could benefit from some home care or a little extra companionship, the team at VERA Home Care can help.