Special Diets During the Holidays
Special diets sometimes get a bad rap (or an eye-roll). For those who have to follow them though, the Holidays can be especially stressful.
If your guest list includes those with special nutrition needs, preparing a holiday feast that’s healthy and not harmful doesn’t have to be a chore and your guest/s will appreciate the effort you have put into including them. We’ve compiled a list of special-diet-friendly versions of holiday favorites.
For the Diabetic: Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are packed full of good nutrition providing a good source of vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C, and they’re also lower in carbohydrates than regular potatoes. But all that goodness goes out the window on Thanksgiving when sweet potatoes are covered in syrups and sugar, butter, and ooey-gooey marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are especially flavorful on their own so there’s no need to add extra sugar or butter.
For High Blood Pressure/High Cholesterol: Baked Mac & Cheese
Thanksgiving isn’t complete without mac-n-cheese, but for seniors battling high blood pressure and high cholesterol, this traditional dish can take a negative toll on those ailments. One slice of processed American cheese contains 406 milligrams of sodium, which is almost one-third of the AHA’s recommended daily amount. But substitute cheeses lower in sodium – such as mozzarella, Gruyere, and cottage cheese – and you can make the dish more tolerable.
For Difficulty Swallowing: Turkey Meatloaf
For many families, a turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving. But for seniors with dysphagia, turkey, chicken and other difficult to swallow meats are not an option. Kellie Anderson, a cancer health educator and author of the blog Kellisfoodtoglow.com, offers this tasty alternative. (there are MANY great soft foods recipes on the page so scroll down to get to the Turkey Meatloaf ;))
For Lactose Intolerant: Dairy-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
Creamy mashed potatoes and beans, buttery pies, biscuits from scratch – a food lover’s dream but a potential nightmare for the lactose intolerant senior. Fortunately, there are many delicious dairy-free recipes that look and taste as good as the original. Check out the Southern Vegan’s take on grandma’s homemade buttermilk biscuits.
For Gluten Intolerance: Gluten-Free Stuffing
Bursting with flavor and easy to make this gluten-free stuffing will delight everyone at the table.