Food evokes a variety of feelings and emotions, especially during the holidays. It often allows us to revisit the old days, bringing about a multitude of memories. That favorite casserole Grandma always made. Or the sugary sweet treats Mom baked leading up to the big day. These memories of happy times can lead to a season of indulgence as well as long-term consequences.
Making smart food choices during the holidays can be a challenge. So much temptation everywhere you turn. If you need a little assistance to stay healthy this holiday season, consider these holiday eating tips for seniors.
Don’t Skip Meals
This might sound counterintuitive to what you’re trying to accomplish, but the last thing you want to do during the holidays is skip meals. In theory, it sounds great. Bypass one meal to save calories for another. However, that usually backfires, and you end up overindulging more than you normally would have. Don’t go to a meal or party with an empty stomach. Even if you don’t plan on eating a meal prior, snack on some healthy food choices, such as nuts or yogurt. This will help to satisfy your hunger and keep you from making poor choices at the wrong time.
Practice Portion Control
You can still enjoy all your holiday favorites. Yes, even the casseroles and desserts. Just remember to practice portion control. Start with just a small serving size. The less you put on your plate, the less likely you will overeat. Many of us just continue to eat, even after we are full, simply because it’s on our plate. So, to combat that issue, don’t put yourself in that situation. Take a little bit of all your favorites and skip the dishes you’re not crazy about.
Listen to Your Instincts and Body
Your body will tell you when you should pass on something and when to throw in the towel. If you feel that you shouldn’t eat something, don’t. You don’t want to eat something and then pay for it down the road. You know what you should and shouldn’t eat. And we’re not talking about the standard stuff. We’re talking about the foods that will cause you to suffer, such as high-sugar treats if you have diabetes. Once you start to feel full, slow down a little or take a 10–15-minute break. It takes your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
When we say stay hydrated, we’re not talking about with seasonal sugary drinks or adult beverages. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This is beneficial for multiple reasons, but it will also help to prevent overeating. Often we mistake hunger for thirst. Plus, the more you drink, the less food you will be able to eat.
Balance Your Diet with Exercise
It can be easy to succumb to the cozy couch covered with warm blankets after a nice big meal. But don’t let that happen. Stick to your regular exercise routine even during the holidays. Or, if you don’t have time to do a long workout, try taking a short walk. Ask friends or family to join you, so you aren’t missing out on time with them. Exercise doesn’t just burn calories; it helps boost your metabolism, improve mood, reduce stress, and allows you to sleep better.
Plan Healthy Options
One of the best ways you can ensure to make good healthy choices is by preparing some healthy options for yourself. If you’re going to a party, offer to bring a side and make it a guilt-free option. If you plan to have healthier options, you’ll have a safety net and won’t have to worry about not having any good choices to make. Make it easy on yourself. Make meals that are nutrient-rich and include lots of fruits and vegetables. You will get full faster and feel satisfied.
If, for some reason, you fail to follow any of these holiday eating tips for seniors, don’t be hard on yourself. You just don’t want to make holiday eating habits become the norm. Simply brush it off and start fresh. Tomorrow is always a new day with another opportunity to make healthy choices.