The cold weather doesn't only mean winter is quickly approaching, but the holiday season is almost upon us. Holiday meals can often come with a heaping serving of too many calories and extra fat. It's fine to indulge once in a while, but it's important to keep senior nutrition in mind. To stay healthy and fit through all the filling meals and time indoors escaping the cold, follow a few of these tips for senior wellness.
Cooking and meal planning
For seniors, breaking away from your daily routine for the holiday excitement can be tiresome and wearing. If you're planning on cooking a holiday meal or having family members over to your home, there are a few easy ways to reduce the amount of work and time you will have spend preparing.
- Ask for help
If you have family members in the area, enlist their help. Teaching younger relatives family recipes or cooking up your favorite items together can be a great bonding experience and be a big help to you. In addition to food prep, other family members can help you set the table or wash dishes after the meal is over. Having family gather around a special dinner can be a joyous experience, and the work you put into cooking and serving should be shared with everyone.
- Plan ahead
The day of a holiday can be extremely stressful, all centering around the food. Many staples in classic holiday meals can be made beforehand and frozen so you won't have to cook everything on the same day. While you might want to cook the main dishes the day of, consider preparing casseroles, side dishes and desserts during the week leading up to the holiday meal. Items like these can easily be reheated. If you find yourself preparing too many dishes, purchase pies, cakes or cookies from your local bakery instead.
If you plan ahead there is also more opportunity to cook healthier meals. Many dishes that are often on a holiday platter are fattening and unhealthy, but you don't have to throw senior nutrition out the window. You can make classic items like mashed potatoes healthier by reducing the amount of butter you use or replacing it with fat-free sour cream. Add vegetable sides and lean meats to supplement unhealthy foods.
Beyond the meals, cold weather can make seniors feel less like going out and getting physical activity. With all the commotion of family coming together, extra housework, cooking and gift shopping, it is important to find time to exercise, rest and relax.
Continue your regular fitness routine or try getting family members to exercise with you. After all, the holidays are more about savoring the time with family and friends rather than savory foods. On certain holidays, there might even be a community walk or run you can engage in and get a great workout. Staying active will help you keep off extra pounds from holiday foods.