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Eating Healthy Over the Holidays—Yes, it’s Possible, and it’s Fun!

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to indulge in comfort foods and relaxation! However, when planning for the holidays, it’s always important to keep in mind ways to stay healthy by being active and eating right, and also helping our seniors and other loved ones do the same. 

Food is a big part of the season’s joyful festivities. So, whether you are a caregiver for a senior loved one, or a senior yourself, you can find ways to eat healthy without cutting back on the celebration. 

Our team at Wesley Enhanced Living offers these 5 simple tips to help you enjoy the holidays with delicious food:

  1. Make sensible choices: Pick complex carbohydrates and natural sugars over simple carbs, processed foods, and foods high in sugar and sodium. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, nuts, yogurt, low-fat cheeses, and lean proteins are good choices and there is no limit to how many scrumptious holiday meals and snacks you can make with these food groups.
  2. Practice mindful eating: Watching your favorite holiday classic on TV is a time for temptation—you want a snack to go along! Grab a bowl of almonds and cranberries instead of a tub of ice-cream. If chewing is a problem, consider a bowl of fruit such as blueberries, cherries, raspberries, grapes etc. You can eat these effortlessly and enjoy a healthy snack while watching a movie. At mealtimes, try to avoid distractions and focus on your food. This allows you to recognize when you feel full and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
  3. Enjoy your food: The holidays make you want to eat more because you don’t typically eat traditional holiday dishes throughout the year. Don’t deprive yourself completely but eat smaller portions and look for ways to make conventional rich and fatty foods with healthier ingredients. You may not want to give up mashed potatoes loaded with sour cream and bacon bits, but substitute that with mashed sweet potatoes, cashew cream and crushed walnuts. Tasty, festive, and actually, much more colorful!
  4. Watch the drinks: Sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol can pack on the calories and are not ideal for your heart or other vital organs. Reach for a glass of water more often. When you want flavor, add some fresh fruit or a slice of lemon or lime to your water or sparkling water. By all means, enjoy that cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace, but use skimmed milk instead of cream and skip the marshmallows to sprinkle with cinnamon instead.
  5. Give your brain some time: After you have eaten a plate of food, give your brain at least 10 minutes to receive the signal from your stomach that it is full. Then decide whether you are still hungry and need a second serving.            
             

Celebrate the Joy of the Season with A Yummy Recipe – Cranberry Apple Pie Crisp

Thanksgiving desserts are great, but let’s be honest, we don’t always have room for rich sweets after such a heavy meal. Here’s a healthy take on a traditional Thanksgiving dessert. This dessert is a variation on a fall classic and pulls out all the big players – warm spices, crisp apples, and the addition of tangy cranberries – a refreshing and healthy addition to this crisp. It’s much lighter than a pie, since there’s no crust, only a crumb mixture on top. Adjust the recipe as needed if you want to use a sugar substitute, following the directions for equivalencies.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups thinly sliced, cored apples   
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries   
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, divided (you can use cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if you prefer)
  • ¾ cup quick cooking rolled oats   
  • 4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (you can use almond or coconut flour to make it gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or butter substitute

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 2-quart baking dish, combine apples and cranberries. In a small bowl, stir together granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon apple pie spice. Sprinkle over fruit mixture in baking dish; toss to coat.

2.      In a medium bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and other 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly. If you don’t have a pastry blender, use fork or knife and cut butter into small pieces. This is best done when butter is very cold.

3.      Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over fruit mixture.

4.      Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender and cranberries have softened.

5.      Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Also works great the next day once cooled off, on top of vanilla Greek yogurt!

Source: Eating Well

Hallie L. Klocek MPH RD LDN

Spread Some Holiday Cheer with Your Seniors and their Caregivers 

No one should have to spend the holidays feeling lonely or sad. We encourage you to share in the season by thanking others for their help and support this year. The team at Wesley Enhanced Living works hard each day to bring safe, clean, and comforting accommodations for your loved ones. We offer independent living, personal care, and rehabilitation, and skilled nursing options. Go ahead! Check us out. You will be pleased you did. 

Wesley Enhanced Living provides high-quality senior retirement communities for you or your loved ones.  Contact one of our Philadelphia area locations and find out why our seniors love where they live. Our staff is happy to discuss your elder’s needs or your own and inform you of our range of services. Virtual tours are now available. Call us today for more information.

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