Healthy Meals for Seniors During the Holidays (and Winter)
The winter season is ideal for cozying up with comfort food. Finding the right healthy winter recipes can help any older adult boost their immune system, feel more energetic, and fuel their bodies with the nutrients they need to feel their best.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes for seniors that are equal parts healthy and comforting for the chilly months ahead.
Why a Healthy Diet Is Essential As We Age
Eating a well-balanced diet is important at all ages, but as we get older, nutrition takes an even bigger seat at the wellness table. The right nutritional plan can not only keep excess weight gain at bay, but can also fuel our bodies so that we have more energy, a more effective immune system, and a healthier heart. Eating the right foods can also help to prevent chronic conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes. We are what we eat, so we want to eat foods that keep us feeling great and our bodies healthy.
While some seniors take advantage of home-delivered meal services or family dropoffs, most find themselves turning to processed foods for the majority of their daily meals. This can lead to increased health complications and might not meet the prescribed dietary recommendations from their physician.
Fortunately, if you can find nourishing recipes that are delicious and comforting, it becomes easier to plan and prepare for healthy meals all season long.
Our Favorite Healthy Winter Recipes
Here are a few of our favorite healthy recipes for seniors, though anyone of any age would love them too.
- Holiday stuffing: We like this recipe because it skips out on the processed cream soups and instead uses whole ingredients. If chopping is difficult, find pre-chopped veggies in your store’s produce aisle.
- Turkey chili: This recipe calls for ground turkey, but you can easily substitute the leftovers from your holiday event. And don’t let the number of ingredients scare you; it’s an easy recipe that freezes well. Save individual portions in freezer-safe containers you can pull out to enjoy later.
- Veggie spaghetti: We like this recipe because it is loaded with vegetables and you can swap them in and out for what you can already find in your crisper. It’s also easy to adjust the recipe for fewer servings.
- Spiced apple cranberry oatmeal: This recipe is a perfect start to your day, but if you find yourself making it for dinner too, we won’t tell anyone. It’s packed with seasonal flavors and sure to keep you warm from the inside out.
- Creamy chicken and rice casserole: A comfort food classic, this recipe is easy to make as-is or to cut in half. Leftovers are even more delicious so plan on eating this for at least a few meals.
More Tips for Healthy Eating This Winter
Here are a few tips for making sure you or your older loved one are eating well this holiday season and throughout the winter:
- Add vegetables to as many meals as you can. Focus on vegetables that are in season, like root vegetables, when possible.
- Find recipes that are freezer friendly so you can save them in individual portions for later.
- Top oatmeal, yogurt, and cereal with fruits for a boost of Vitamin C.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is easy in the winter because we are prone to seek out water less.
- Try cooking meals with a friend so that you can share your servings with one another.
We hope you have a healthy holiday season full of your favorite foods shared with your favorite people!