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Nutritional, Healthy Holiday Favourites

As the holidays approach, family, friends, food and meal planning become a priority. You want to serve many of your favourite dishes, but don’t forget that you need the proper nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For many of us, turkey is a must! It sits in the middle of the table and is a welcome sight for any feast. If baked, not deep fried, it is a low- fat meat with a lot of nutritional value. Turkey is rich in protein and is heart friendly.

Potatoes are loaded with potassium, iron and vitamin C and have less carbohydrates than pasta. An alternative to mashed is to roast the potatoes and forget the butter and gravy.

Another favourite must-have is cranberries or cranberry sauce, but the canned ones are high in sugar. The cranberries themselves are rich in fibre. You can make your own sauce and control the amount of sugar.

We need desert and there is a clear favourite – pumpkin pie! It is high in fibre and loaded with vitamins A and C. If using a can for the pie, just make sure that it is natural pumpkin and/or low sugar.

The concern is not just with the meal. Conversation and laughter are encouraged when there are snacks. Shrimp is low in calories and high in protein. A bowl of nuts with a nutcracker beside it provides rich but healthy fats. Chestnuts plus a fireplace… there’s a classic holiday feel along with a great source of dietary fiber.

Healthy Holiday Meals for Elders

As we grow older, we realize that our digestive system has changed, as has our nutritional requirements. We may require more protein, eggs, beans and seafood. These can easily be included in many meals. Soup would be an excellent starter to a meal, which could become a holiday favourite. Creamed broccoli with cheese is a wonderful way to get your greens with a high nutritional value. Salads are a given; there are multiple varieties of vegetables that can be included in any salad. Stuffed green peppers with herbs, cheese and brown rice are loaded with nutritional benefits and is a very interesting side dish. As an alternative to turkey, you could try toasted garlic clove chicken.

Healthy Alternatives

We may feel that we must find new recipes to maintain our healthy lifestyle, when all we really need to do is insert a few moderations for our holiday meals. Use sugar free yogurt in your mashed potatoes and a lot less butter. If possible, prepare meals from scratch and avoid using too many canned goods. Some canned premade foods have excessive amounts of salt and sugar.  Use more olive oil or light dressings for salads. Add more vegetables to your festive table. Many vegetables can be roasted: asparagus, carrots, cauliflower and yams will add colour to your table and maintain their nutritional value.

Healthy eating habits can be maintained for your favourite dishes. Moderation during the holiday season is key. So, go ahead and enjoy the activities, friends, family and shared meals. Just control the portions and maintain your healthy lifestyle.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Airdrie Denture Centre for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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