Healthy HolidaysThe holidays are a time to relax and celebrate, which often means overindulging on an abundance of rich foods. So it’s no surprise that caregivers making meals for seniors and other loved ones can find it challenging to strike the right balance between comfortable favorites and healthy food options.

As we age, our sense of taste becomes less powerful. It’s harder to experience spices and the other elements of foods that we love, which makes mealtime less enjoyable. And when you combine a dulled sense of taste with specific dietary restrictions, it’s easy to see why some seniors view mealtime as a chore and have difficulty taking in their necessary caloric, vitamin and mineral requirements.

But, caregivers can satisfy everyone’s taste buds without overloading foods with fat, sugar and salt. Consider these nutrition tips from the experts at Embassy Healthcare to make your holiday feasts healthier and more satisfying for your senior loved ones:

1. Substitute fat with healthy alternatives

To complement the main course with a gravy alternative, heat low-sodium broth and slowly add a mixture of skim milk and flour until you reach the desired thickness. For baked goods, substitute half the oil or butter specified in your recipe for an equal part of unsweetened applesauce, prune puree and mashed bananas. You can also use skim milk rather than whole milk in drink and dessert recipes, too.

2. Provide sweetness with natural ingredients

Skip the refined white sugar and sweeten your treats with molasses or honey. For an added flavor boost, you can also include a dash of cinnamon, citrus, vanilla or nutmeg, which can be easier for a senior palate to pick up on. Fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit is another easy way to add a hint of natural sweetness, as well as enhance food presentation.

 3. Use lower-sodium options

Instead of salt, opt for flavored vinegars and fresh herbs. Sodium-heavy condiments, like mustard, ketchup and pickles, can be replaced with fresh salsas, tomatoes or cucumber slices. In many grocery stores, you can find condiments with lower-sodium versions – just remember to check the nutrition label.

For more healthy eating tips for your senior loved one, contact the Embassy HealthCare nutrition experts at 216-378-2050, or schedule a tour at one of our communities today.