During the holiday season, it’s all too easy to lose track of our health. For seniors, indulging over the holidays can be more impactful than you might think. Older adults need specific nutrients in their diets to keep their health in tip-top shape and increase their longevity. The best diet for seniors includes these essentials:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice
- Protein-rich foods like salmon and beans
- Fruits and vegetables (five portions a day)
- Foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids like salmon and herring or chia and flax seeds prevent inflammation that can lead to serious conditions and diseases
- Fiber-rich foods including whole grains
- Essential nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium
While it doesn’t seem like treats are in line with these senior diet essentials, it all depends on creativity in the kitchen. These healthy holiday desserts are perfect alternatives to fatty, high-sugar, gluten-packed treats.
Whole Wheat, Low-Sugar Cookies
What are the holidays without frosted sugar cookies? You can turn this traditional treat into a healthy holiday dessert by substituting refined sugar with organic cane sugar and baking stevia, and all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is lower in gluten than regular all-purpose flour, but not completely gluten free. For the full effect, you can also buy reduced-sugar icing from your local supermarket. Get the full recipe here.
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Tarts
Dark chocolate is absolutely loaded with nutrients that are highly beneficial for seniors. Iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc, good cholesterol (HDL) and antioxidants are all found in dark chocolate. And it’s natural, as opposed to sugar-enriched milk chocolate. Likewise, pistachios are a nutrient-packed nut that can be incorporated into any diet for seniors. Which is why this dark chocolate pistachio tart recipe is a great alternative to sugary pies and cakes for seniors during the holidays. This holiday dessert is perfect because it’s easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, and sprinkled pistachios on top give it a festive feel.
Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Spinach
That’s right – spinach in a cookie. Don’t worry, you won’t even taste it. This creative peppermint sugar cookie recipe makes thick, soft, chewy treats that are both healthy and festive. It uses ghee instead of butter, gluten-free flour, and raw natural sugar. The puréed spinach in the recipe mainly serves as food coloring, but also adds a whole lot of nutrition.
Healthier Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread is a staple of most holiday dessert tables. While undeniably tasty, shortbread is also full of refined sugars and excessive carbs. This ingenious recipe takes a different approach, using oat flour instead of all-purpose or white flour, as well as coconut sugar instead of the refined sugar in many peoples’ cupboards. And because the recipe calls for oat flour, it’s totally gluten-free.
Sweet Potato Brownies
Brownies are a classic dessert loved by all. But they aren’t the healthiest of treats. To make them more nutritious while keeping them delicious, this recipe uses sweet potatoes in addition to other healthier ingredients. Why sweet potatoes? For starters, a single sweet potato contains 400% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A. Plus, they’re proven to reduce inflammation, guard against ulcers, lower the risk of heart disease, and help neurological health. In addition to using sweet potatoes, these brownies use coconut oil, cacao powder and light spelt flour to reduce the carbs and added sugars that traditional brownies are notorious for.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites
Coconut is rich in iron, antioxidants, protein, all essential nutrients for seniors, and manganese, which is essential for bone health. Lathered in dark chocolate, which has been discusssed as an ideal healthy alternative to milk chocolate, these coconut bites are a delicious option for healthy holiday desserts. With minimal ingredients, this recipe produces quite a lot of sweet treats to enjoy over the holidays.
Dark-Chocolate Dipped Fruits
We know by now that dark chocolate is sort of a “super food” of the dessert world. And it’s delicious. So why not add it to your favorite fruits? Melting some dark chocolate bars, dipping your chosen fruit in and popping the coated fruit in the fridge overnight makes for a simple, all-natural snack to replace sugary candies. They’re the perfect healthy holiday desserts for senior diets.
Celebrating Holidays at The Buckingham
Throughout the holiday season, the entire team at The Buckingham goes above and beyond to ensure our residents can celebrate with friends and family in a safe, welcoming, healthy environment. Our multiple dining venues always serve the most delicious and nutritious meals and treats during the holiday season and beyond. Our talented culinary team knows the ins and outs of how to maintain the best diet for seniors. To learn more about how we celebrate the holidays, or to visit The Buckingham for yourself, contact us through our website or call us any time at 713-979-3090.