How to Enjoy Holiday Parties While Sticking With a Restricted Diet

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 15, 2017

‘Tis the season for eating a little bit too much pumpkin pie. Or for indulging in too many scoops of cream-laden mashed potatoes. Without a doubt, November and December are tough months of the year to eat healthy. But for seniors who live with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, maintaining a restricted diet is a vital part of managing their disease. 

How can you relax and enjoy the holiday festivities while still sticking to your diet?

It all comes down to planning ahead.

Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season

Here are a few planning tips to help you or a senior loved one plan for a healthy holiday season:

  • Adapt Favorite Recipes: Drag out your recipe box and look over your holiday favorites. Explore ways to give your favorite family recipes a healthy makeover. It isn’t difficult to do. You can substitute unsweetened applesauce or bananas for some of the fat. Or, cut back on the sugar and add flavorful spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla instead.
  • Planning Daily and Weekly Menus: We know the holiday season can feel like one long, mad dash. It can help you stay on track if you take time each week to plan your meals. If you know you’ll be attending a big luncheon where healthy options will be limited, for example, plan a few healthy snacks to eat beforehand so you won’t be as tempted to make bad choices. And make sure your breakfast and dinner menus that day are light and well-balanced.
  • Talk with Your Host or Hostess: It is easy to avoid unhealthy foods during a cocktail party when everyone is busy mingling, as you can eat at home before the party. But a sit-down holiday dinner presents different challenges. No one wants to be a pest when a host or hostess is busy preparing for a holiday party, but knowing what is on the menu is important for adults with medical restrictions on their diet. Call the host or hostess a week before the party to explain your situation. If the planned menu doesn’t include any options you can eat, ask your host or hostess if it would be OK to bring your own. Most will understand and appreciate that you aren’t asking them to make a special meal for you.
  • Portion Control: If you absolutely can’t resist a few holiday treats, don’t use those slipups as an excuse to keep indulging. Portion control is the key. Eat a few bites of your favorite holiday food and give the rest away. Start the next day with a renewed commitment to sticking with your diet.
  • Start New Traditions: Another way to stay on track with your dietary restrictions is to start new traditions. Replace a few traditional but unhealthy holiday desserts on your menu with healthy ones. Dark chocolate-dipped strawberries or flourless honey-almond cake are two to consider.

Sunrise Signature Dining Program

Nutrition is part of our overall approach to empowering seniors to live their best life. The Sunrise Signature Dining Program includes meals and menus that accommodate special diets. From a low-sodium restriction to diabetes management, mealtime at our communities is both nutritious and delicious.

We extend an open invitation to older adults who are contemplating a move to a senior living community to visit us. One of our care team members will be happy to show you around and answer your questions. And we’d love it if you joined us for lunch or dinner!