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Healthy Options for Family Caregivers Throughout the Holiday Season!

Tis the season for lots of celebrations; spending time with loved ones and friends, overeating on comfort foods, decadent desserts, gift giving and all the holiday preparations in making the holidays the most wonderful time of the year!  Unfortunately most caretakers find it challenging to partake in these magical moments as they have a greater demand in making many sacrifices and accommodations for family and their loved ones around the holidays. All of these negative impacts can cause high stress, weight gain and unwanted health complications.  Finding the right balance of joy, healthy cooking and tasty meals along with healthy lifestyle habits can be a possibility for caretakers and their loved ones.

So let’s take a closer look at what you as a caretaker need to know to ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy happy and healthy eating this season.

Consider ways in making your favorite calorie-rich recipes healthier. Use substitutions in you’re cooking such as:

  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce for oil – The fat-free puree can be used cup for cup in recipes saving on calories and fat.
  • Vanilla extract for white sugar – you can skip white sugar all together in your cobbler and pies and still get the great flavor
  • Substitute coconut milk cup for cup in place of heavy cream for those classic holiday soups still getting that same creamy taste and texture for about ½ the calories
  • Use Cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips – rich in antioxidants and cutting out the additives such as sugar and dairy without missing the sweetness
  • Skip the full-fat sour cream dips and try yogurt dips – substitute low-fat plain Greek yogurt or low fat sour cream. An ounce of sour cream has 60 calories vs 18 calories of low fat Greek yogurt
  • Skip candied yams, eat Roasted Sweet Potatoes – instead of ½ cup candied yams having 215 calories try healthier option of ¾ cup sweet potatoes brushed with canola or olive oil having only 100 calories. Not only do you get more potatoes for fewer calories, but also a healthier helping of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Skip the dark meat of chicken or turkey and focus on the white meat. Dark meat has 40% more calories per serving and about twice the amount of fat.
  • Try Cranberry Relish vs Cranberry Sauce. The can of cranberry sauce is full of sugar, corn syrup and other added sweeteners. Making your own cranberry relish will cut away a lot of the sugar and unwanted additives providing a healthier holiday side dish for all to enjoy.
  • Have green beans as a healthier side dish vs. the unhealthier casserole. If this is one of your very favorites, you may use the reduced fat cream of mushroom soup to cut down on 40% of the calories
  • Skip the egg nog and have the good old fashion Apple Cider. A glass of egg nog can easily have a minimum of 250 calories with more than half your recommended intake of saturated fat. One 8oz glass of apple cider will save up to 150 calories and all the fat.
  • Skip the alcohol calories and try a wine spritzer with a slice of fresh fruit or colorful berries. By replacing 2 ounces of wine with club soda. Club soda having zero calories will save you about an extra 60 calories. You’re still able to be festive and enjoy an adult beverage with your friends and family.
  • Limit the salt at the table and in cooking. Salt retains fluid and can keep weight on and possibly can cause high blood pressure.

Caregivers are generous throughout the year in the spirit, time and energy they put forth in helping their loved ones. As Caregivers it is important to show self gratitude this season for all the wonderful things you do for others. Spending enjoyable movements with your loved one will always be remembered and cherished.

To learn more about eating healthy and ways to improve physical activity join our next Healthy Eating for Successful Living workshop:

Thursdays, March 15, 2018 – April 19, 2018
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Nevins Manor – Methuen, MA

For more information call 978-946-1211 or visit our website at www.healthyliving4me.org

Happy Holidays and Happy Eating!

References: www.senioradvisor.com/waysforcaregiverstostayhealthyduringthehoidays
www.healthcopre.com/tipstohelpfamilycaregivers

 

  1. Edi Roshi

    Thank you Susan for sharing! This is some valuable advise for Caregivers to focus on their health as well as the ones they care for.