Friends, family, and food! These are the cornerstones of the holiday season. But as we age and develop more of a need for a healthy diet, it can put a damper on our holiday feasting. Whether because of diabetes, heart disease, or just for overall health, the entire family can benefit from healthier substitutions at the holiday dinner table.
Diabetics need to pay close attention to their carbohydrate and sugar intake, while those concerned with heart health should look for foods that help lead to lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. We went on a hunt for some of the healthiest (but most delectable) holiday recipes out there. Would you consider trying one of these good-for-you goodies this year?
Appetizer: Mix together some unlikely ingredients and whip up some Apple-Nut Blue Cheese Tartlets from this award-winning Taste of Home recipe.
Main Course: Add a twist to a classic roasted turkey with this Citrus-Roasted Turkey from Diabetic Gourmet.
Side: No matter where you’re celebrating this season, you can add some southern charm to your Thanksgiving dinner with these Southern Green Beans.
Dessert: These gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Muffins are also great for diabetics looking to take advantage of seasonal flavors.
Appetizer: Bring the tart taste of cranberry to your pre-dinner snack with this Braided Cranberry Bread.
Main Course: Be unique and trade turkey for pork. Try out these Maple-Thyme Pork Chops.
Side: Better Homes and Gardens offers a Heart-Healthy Cheesy Potatoes recipe sure to please the whole family!
Dessert: It’s not truly the holidays without pumpkin pie, is it? Get a little bit extra with this Maple-Apple Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Pie recipe!
Here are some general rules to follow for a healthier holiday season:
- Look for any chance to reduce the amount of butter or oil you are using in recipes. According to Fit Sugar, avocado, prunes, Greek yogurt or applesauce can replace butter in many baked good recipes. Smart Balance Heart Right Light Buttery Spread is also a heart-healthy alternative to use in cooking and on dinner rolls.
- Pay attention to serving sizes. The American Heart Association provides a guide for eating in moderation. One serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, about the size of a computer mouse, while one serving of low-fat cheese is 1.5 ounces, about the size of six dice.
- Substitute whole grain bread for white bread in your holiday stuffing.
- More sodium = higher blood pressure. Look for ways to cut salt when possible.
Whether you plan to have friends over, visit family, or spend Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays at Sherwood Oaks, it is very possible to have a delicious and healthy holiday meal. We serve dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, with plenty of room for residents to invite friends and family. Year-round, we provide nutritious dietary options, including the option of fish as well as diabetic and gluten-free selections.
So eat up!