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7 Nutritious Thanksgiving Food Options for the Elderly

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The average Thanksgiving meal is filled with fats, salt, sugar, and carbohydrates. With a little creative cooking, you can create a low-calorie Thanksgiving dinner safe for seniors. Here are seven healthy foods aging adults can enjoy on Thanksgiving.

1. Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains nutrients like vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. Mashed cauliflower recipes are a healthy alternative to carb-rich recipes like mashed potatoes. With the addition of flavors like parmesan, garlic, and rosemary, mashed cauliflower is sure to be as tasty as it is healthy.

Switching to nutritious meals is not the only way older adults can boost their health. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Fort Myers, FL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

2. Brussels Sprouts

At most Thanksgiving feasts, the vegetable dishes are the healthiest options on the menu. However, they’re often smothered in high-fat gravy, which can undermine their health benefits. To create a tasty dish that preserves the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, consider roasting them. With the addition of tasty flavorings like balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil, you can tempt wary seniors into trying these vitamin-rich vegetables.

3. Green Beans

Green beans contain fiber and vitamin C that boost digestive health and provide antioxidant protection respectively. Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving Day classic, but traditional recipes can be high in fat content. For a low-calorie version, swap the cream sauce for a sauce made of onions, mushrooms, low-fat milk, flour, and a dash of olive oil.

4. Turkey Breast

Roasted turkey breast is a lean protein, which is ideal for seniors. Protein strengthens the muscles and bones, and lean varieties are easier to digest and lower in fat content. Gravy can add unnecessary calories to this healthy meat, so offer a low-calorie gravy option. 

Preparing nutritious meals for older adults can be challenging for overworked caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Fort Myers, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are packed with many of the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Vitamin A boosts bone health, and vitamin C is crucial for immune system health. Sweet potatoes also contain fiber, which assists with digestion. Conventional sweet potato casseroles, which combine the potatoes with sugary marshmallows and buttery sauce, are often high in calories. Opt for a lighter version of the classic recipe by removing the marshmallows and reducing the butter content.

6. Wild Rice

If your Thanksgiving dinner needs another healthy side dish, consider making a wild rice dish. Wild rice is a healthy source of protein, fiber, zinc, and magnesium, and it promotes cardiovascular health. To make a wild rice dish for Thanksgiving, add autumnal ingredients and flavors like pecans, apples, onions, and nutmeg.

7. Cranberry Sauce

Freshly made cranberry sauce is high in antioxidants, the essential compounds that protect the body from oxidative damage. Cranberries also boost cardiovascular health, urinary tract health, and dental health. Homemade cranberry sauce retains these health benefits, but it often contains a lot of sugar. To limit sugar content, use natural sweeteners and flavorings while making the sauce.

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Fort Myers, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your aging parent, give us a call at 239.449.4701 today.