‘Tis the season of delicious food and holiday treats. Starting with that nice big Thanksgiving turkey and continuing through the remainder of the year with cookies, pie, eggnog, and more. It always seems that no celebration is free from enticing foods. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, seniors on a restricted diet face one temptation after another.

But the good news is, there are ways to both enjoy the season and stick to your nutrition plan.

Tips for Sticking to Your Restricted Diet

Here are some tips for staying on track with your diet, whether it’s low sodium, diabetes-friendly or a heart-healthy one.

  1. Look for Lean Sources of Protein at Special Dinners

Older Americans need to ensure that they are getting enough protein in their diets. However, like everyone else, seniors should take care not to eat too much fat.  Thanksgiving turkey is a good source of lean protein, but only if you opt for skinless pieces.

Traditional beef dinners for Christmas can be good options as well, but be sure to trim off any fat that remains after cooking. Another reason to eat red meat is that it’s a good source of iron and older Americans are often at greater risk of developing anemia.

  1. Use Herbs & Spices or Lemon Juice Instead of Salt

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may have put you on a low-sodium diet. Instead of saying, ‘please pass the salt,’ try asking your hostess if she has spices or lemon juice on hand. Herbs and spices can work wonders on vegetables and meat without adding sodium to your meal.

  1. Minimize Your Indulgence of Sweet Treats

If you are diabetic, you already know about all the dietary trouble makers that lurk between Halloween and the New Year. You don’t have to say ‘no’ to absolutely everything.

Keep an eye on portion size. Most sweets are very high in calories. If you’re set on sampling that pumpkin pie, do some substitution with other carbs. For example, pass on the sweet potatoes so you can enjoy a small slice of pie.

Think about how you will say ‘no’ to sweets. To ease the social pressure to try everything, it may help to plan how you’ll politely decline. Phrases as simple as, “No thank you” or “It looks delicious but I’m still full from dinner” can do the trick without hurting your host’s feelings.

Brighten the Holidays by Staying Healthy

If you’re thinking of altering your diet, it’s always best to talk to your doctor first. They’ll be the first to tell you sticking to your restricted diet takes effort, especially during this festive season.

Heritage Senior Living Communities make it easy to eat healthy during the holidays and year-round. Find out about our Heritage Hospitality dining program by contacting us any time!