Healthy Holidays for Seniors
With Halloween a spooky memory, the holiday season is upon us. While many of us are getting dining room tables ready for Thanksgiving or planning Christmas and New Years parties, keeping an eye on our usually healthy diets is put on the back burner.
Younger adults are able to take a couple of gastric hits during these next few months, but for seniors, sticking to a diet is more important. A decreasing metabolism coupled with activity in later years means an older adult’s body can’t deal with a second (or third!) helping of stuffing as well as it used to. Overeating can lead to heart ailments, diabetes and other health conditions.
Of course, a big meal here or there won’t throw the body completely out of whack, but with a calendar full of get togethers scheduled over the next two months, seniors really need to watch what they eat so they can remain full of vitality into the new year.
A list of things to keep in mind during the holidays:
Make Healthy Choices – Rich meals and tempting desserts all look and smell so good, but it’s important to keep from overindulging. Sure, have a cookie or snack before the meal, but leave it at that. You don’t need to sample everything on the table (no matter how good it looks). When the stomach starts to rumble, search out vegetables or fruit to keep hunger at bay and help fill you up before dinner.
- Stay Hydrated – This is important all year round, but especially during the holidays. Dehydration can hit at any time, and with so much going on it can be easy to drink water consistently. Make sure water is available wherever you go, whether it’s to go caroling, shopping, or even just relaxing with family.
- Follow Doctors Orders – If a senior has a strict diet for medical reasons, now is not the time to forget. All the tastiest treats seem to have enough sodium for the whole family! But too much sodium can be more harmful for seniors. The holidays can also be stressful, which can lead to overindulging, so making sure seniors are sticking to their diet is a must. This doesn’t mean an occasional piece of pie is forbidden, just not the whole pie!
- Don’t Drink Too Much – This is true for everybody, although older guests might be taking medication that alcohol could disrupt. When holding a party, make plenty of non-alcoholic choices available for everyone.
- Stay Active – Just because it’s cold, gray and wintery outside doesn’t mean we should take a break from physical activity. During the holidays, when stress levels can run high, spending 30 minutes a day walking, stretching or just moving around can help relieve that stress. And maybe work off that extra cookie you had at last night’s get together.
- Take A Night Off – Seniors have made a lot of friends during their life, and it’s great to see them during the holiday season. But you don’t have to go to every social engagement. Spending a night or two just resting, watching a TV show or reading a book is a way to relax and let the body and mind have a rest.
We all look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and ringing in the new year. By following a few simple rules, 2018 will have a great, healthy start!