4 Tips To Help Seniors Stay Safe In The Summer Heat

Help Seniors Stay Safe In The Summer Hear - American House Blog

When the temperature rises, it’s easy to want to spend all your time outdoors. But everyone — especially seniors — must pay attention to the heat and its effects. Here are 4 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Safe in the Summer Heat:

1. Sunscreen: 30+ SPF.

You’ll need at least a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher whenever you’re outdoors — even on cloudy days. Why? The sun emits UVA and UVB rays that penetrate clouds and those rays can cause skin cancer (and sunburn).

UVA rays contribute to the Aging of your skin as far as wrinkles and dry skin are concerned and UVB rays are the rays that Burn your skin. Both types of rays are responsible for contributing to skin cancer, so it’s important that your sunscreen blocks both.

2. Hydrate more than 8×8.

You may not even realize it, but you need to make sure you’re drinking more water while you’re dealing with the heat in order to prevent dehydration. That means water — not coffee, soda or other sugary drinks (especially alcohol) that could actually speed up the dehydration process. Remember that sweating means water is leaving your body, so you need to replenish it.

So, how much water should you drink? We’ve heard the eight 8 oz. glasses per day rule — which is good to startwith. If you’re exercising, doing anything strenuous or dealing with hot weather, you’ll need to up your intake. Note: Ideally, you want your urine to be as close to clear as possible; the darker yellow it is, the more water you need (barring any medical conditions or medications that change the color).

3. Use cooling towels and fans.

There are these terrific, inexpensive inventions called cooling towels. These towels are made of a high-tech fabric that holds moisture but stays dry to the touch. You wet the towels under a faucet, wring them out slightly and then place them around your neck (or your head, or your wrists, if you have the headband or wristband variety). These special towels will cool you off, leave you dry and all you have to do to reactivate them is to run them under water again in a couple hours. And they really work!

Portable fans, whether they’re the type you hold in your hand or wear around your neck or clipped to a chair, can help take the edge off the heat. The hotter it is, the harder your body works to cool itself off — so why not help it out every little bit you can!

4. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

If you’ve ever visited a tropical locale in the Caribbean or Hawaii, you’ve surely noticed that even professionals wear “relaxed” clothing (including short-sleeved shirts) during the day. That’s because it’s just easier to embrace the heat. The same is true for the weather no matter where you live: If it’s hot and you’re going to be outside, be sure to dress in flowy skirts, shorts, short-sleeved shirts and loose tops in breathable fabrics. This allows your skin breathe and the air to flow over the sweat, cooling you off. Make sure your clothes are not dark browns and blacks, because the sun holds onto the heat in those colors more than white and other light colors.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we love to be able to enjoy outdoor activities, especially during the summer – and we surely keep in mind these 4 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Safe in the Summer Heat! Schedule a tour of a community near you today by calling us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com. We’d love to show you all the activities and events we have planned!

5 Unique Father’s Day Gifts For Dad

Unique Father's Day Gifts - American House Blog

This Father’s Day, don’t scour the shopping malls for the perfect gift to get Dad or Grandpa. Instead, give him something special and full of love – something priceless! Particularly for our aging relatives, the best gift is the gift of time. “Things” clutter the house and may not even be used — and really, does Dad really need any more ties?

Father’s Day is all about celebrating the man who taught you how to throw a mean fastball and who taught you how to change a flat tire. Here are 5 Unique Father’s Day Gifts for Dad (and Grandpa):

1. A memorial trip. Did he serve our country in the military? Take him to a monument or memorial service, have some lunch and talk to him about what it was like. Even if he doesn’t open up, you can talk about how he became the man he is or discuss the beautiful weather. Either way, you’re spending time together, which is what matters!

2. Tickets to a sporting event. Has dad always wanted to go to the Super Bowl? Or does he enjoy rooting on his favorite baseball team? Then get him some tickets — and go with him to a game! Even if the game isn’t soon, you can always give him an IOU for something to look forward to…and take him out for a nice meal in the meantime.

3. Create a production. Do you remember the episode on “The Cosby Show” where the kids put together a lip-syncing dance performance for the grandparents’ anniversary? Not only will you have fun with other family members rehearsing, you can have someone capture it on video and your dad can look at the video as much as he’d like!

4. A round of golf. Even if he doesn’t get out and play as much as he used to, he’d still love some time with his sons or grandsons on the back nine. Or, there’s always a good game of putt-putt with the grandkids! The point is to go out and have some fun together.

5. A picnic at the park. Put together a nice lunch of sandwiches and fruit and take Dad to the park with the grandkids. He’ll love spending some time outdoors with the family and he’ll surely treasure watching the little ones have fun on the swings. Don’t forget the handmade Father’s Day cards.

AMERICAN HOUSE CELEBRATES ALL FATHERS

We treasure all the dads and grandpas (and other father figures) who are a part of our American House family — and we’re sure they’d enjoy any of these 5 Unique Father’s Day Gifts for Dad. Stop by to see all the ways we celebrate, on Father’s Day and every day, by visiting www.americanhouse.com or calling (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour.

7 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Any Age

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Any Age - American House Blog

As time goes by, you may feel like you’re running out of ideas for what to get mom for Mother’s Day. And if she is living in a senior living community, you may be at a loss on what to give your senior loved one that she’ll really appreciate. No worries; we’ve got 7 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Any Age that she’s sure to love:

TIME

The very best gift you can give your mom, mother-in-law, grandma, aunt, sister, daughter, friend and any mom in your life — no matter her age — is the gift of time. Particularly as our moms age, hanging out together is important and can actually help prevent health complications from loneliness in seniors.

  • Movies. Whether your buy a DVD, rent a movie, queue one up on your TV or go to the cinema, watching a movie together is some quality relaxing time to spend with each other. Try to find one of mom’s favorite old classics and watch it with her — then spend time after talking about the movie (and life in general).
  • Girl makeover time. Take mom to the salon for a new hairdo and a mani/pedi. Or, if that’s not in the cards, bring the salon to mom! Well, maybe not for a haircut, but find a nail polish color she’d like and paint her nails and toes. Get her some new makeup and doll her up.
  • Dinner in. Buy all the right healthy ingredients for a spectacular meal that she’ll love and cook it for her. Don’t let her lift a finger! Then, over dinner, really talk to her. Need ideas? Check out some conversation starter tips for your senior loved ones.
  • A night (or day) on the town. That may have some different meaning for the mom in your life now, but you can still go out. Whether lunch and shopping, dinner at herfavorite restaurant or strolling in the park, having a carefree day together is sure to create some wonderful memories.

HOBBIES

If your mom or grandma has an empty nest or is retired, she’ll likely love a gift of something she can dothat brings her joy.

American House Mother's Day Tea

One of our residents and her daughters enjoy the American House Mother’s Day Tea

  • Puzzles. Is she a fan of tropical islands, or does she prefer architectural wonders? There are some really beautiful puzzles out there that would look beautiful matted and hung on her wall once she works to put it all together.
  • Gardening. Even if she doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space or she can’t spend all afternoon on her knees tending to a garden, mom can still grow life! Buy her an herb garden or some flowerpots and seeds for her favorite flowers (or foods!).
  • Books. Find out what genre she likes to read or who her favorite authors are and get her a new book or two. Or, if you think she’d be receptive, buy her an e-reader like a Kindle. The lighting makes it easier to read anywhere, there’s no awkwardly holding the pages, and you can make the font bigger if needed.

ANYTHING!

Your mom, grandma, mother-in-law, aunt, sister or special woman in your life doesn’t need a gift you spent a fortune on; she just needs to know that you care. These 7 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Any Age are thoughtful and easy to give no matter her style. Have you ever gotten a really special Mother’s Day gift? Tell us about it in the comments.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, www.americanhouse.com we know how much the moms in your life mean to you. They mean a lot to us, too! That’s why we think of them like family. Read some resident testimonials http://blog.americanhouse.com/category/testimonials/ and call us today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour and see how much your loved one will enjoy living in one of our communities!

15 Easy and Inexpensive Redecorating Tips

15 Easy and Inexpensive Redecorating Tips - American House Blog

If you’re looking to revamp your home without doing any major remodeling or breaking the bank, we can help! At American House, we know your home is where the heart is — so make it your haven with these 15 Easy and Inexpensive Redecorating Tips:

GENERAL TIPS

1. Paint. There is nothing that will transform ANY room in your home quite as much as a new coat of paint. Even if you’re not up for a big color switch, freshen it up a bit by painting the room a lighter or darker version of what you already have. And for added punch, paint an accent wall a different color (or just a tad lighter or darker than the others in the same color).

2. Adorn the walls. You can either grab a bunch of old — and new — photos and put them in frames, artistically lined up in a large photo gallery, or make your own artwork with a blank canvas. Even if you’re not artistic, you can place lines of painter’s tape on the canvas, paint over it in a fun color, and take the tape off for a modern piece of art! (Bonus: Something that gets better with age is your collection of memories, so show them off!)

3. Add mirrors. Mirrors are an easy way to cover the walls while giving the illusion that the room is larger.

FOR THE KITCHEN

4. Change the hardware. A super quick and easy way to update your kitchen and add a punch of style is to replace your existing drawer pulls and cabinet handles with something new. Or, if you currently don’t have any, now is the perfect time to install them!

5. Replace your counter “things.” Your spice rack, blender and toaster may have seen better days. Why not go out and get yourself some new ones to add pizzazz to the room where you probably spend quite a bit of time?

FOR THE LIVING ROOM

6. Get all new fabrics. Translation: Buy new curtains, pillows, rugs and throw blankets — whatever fits your current living room style. You can change the color of all the fabrics and it will look like you changed everything!

7. Rearrange furniture. Think outside the box and move the couch over to a place where you never would have imagined it. Maybe it’s not even against a wall! Put the loveseat on an angle in the corner. Get rid of the coffee table. Move the TV to a different wall. (Be sure to get someone to help you!)

8. Tend to the lighting. Swap the lamps you have for new ones, or add even more lamps. It’s amazing the difference a brightly lit room can make on how everything looks and feels when you’re in it.

FOR THE BEDROOMS

9. New sheets and bedspread. You can alter the way your room looks just by sprucing up your bed! Don’t deny yourself that “oooh” feeling when you curl up in bed for the night. Color is a great mood enhancer.

10. New curtains. If you have patterned curtains, try some solid ones — and vice versa. Or perhaps you can try some sheer ones if your room allows for that. Don’t forget to include some nice new curtain rods and tie-back holders while you’re at it!

11. Move the bed. Haul it over to the opposite side of the room, or push it next to the wall. Just that one simple move can make all the difference.

FOR THE BATHROOM

12. Change out the light fixture and hardware. If you’ve had brass accented lighting or faucets, it may be time to update them with nickel accents or even copper. Putting in all new fixtures is a quick and easy way to spruce up the bathroom without doing a major overhaul.

13. Update the furnishings. If you have an over-the-toilet shelving unit, or a stand-alone storage case, replace it with something more modern. Or, if you don’t have anything in place yet, stop in a store or two and find something that can fit in your bathroom. Not only will it look great, but it will help keep everything tidy and in its place.

14. Take down the medicine cabinet. Swap it out for a large, decorative mirror instead and put your goods into another storage device.

15. Splurge on new towels. But don’t just go out and buy towels in the same color — change the entire look of your bathroom by picking a bright new shade that still coordinates with your flooring! This will make a big impact, especially if you paint the walls a bold hue.

DECORATING AT AMERICAN HOUSE

One of the most comforting things about living at American House is the chance to make your home into a true reflection of you. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com for a tour so you can start picturing for yourself how you’ll decorate your new home — and use our 15 Easy and Inexpensive Redecorating Tips!

Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and 9 Smoothie-Making Tips

Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and Smoothie Making Tips from the American House Blog

Why make a smoothie every day? Sometimes it may be difficult to fit all the necessary nutrients into your daily diet. Or you may not be a breakfast person but you need that morning fuel. Or, maybe you find that you generally have the 3 p.m. slumps and need a boost of energyWhatever your reasons, we’ve got a beneficial Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and 9 Smoothie-Making Tips that will help you start making tasty, energy-boosting smoothies every day (Think of having a smoothie as #5 on these 6 Resolutions that Will Change Your Life):

SUPER KALE SMOOTHIE

  • 8 oz. almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 cup blueberries

Blend ingredients well and enjoy!

9 SMOOTHIE-MAKING TIPS

If you’re new to making smoothies, that’s OK. There’s no need to make the same power smoothie recipe every day because there are so many choices out there! Experiment with these smoothie-making tips to find out which way you most enjoy your smoothie.

4 Basic Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of a liquid – Water, or almond milk for a little more flavor. Almond milk is a healthier alternative to cow’s milk and easier to digest.
  • 1 Banana - For sweetness, thickness and nutrients. Did you know bananas can help lower high blood pressure with their high potassium and low sodium content? And they can aid in digestion, too.
  • 1 protein - For that good energy boost. Try spinach or kale (it won’t taste like you’re drinking a spinach shake, we promise). Fresh is always best, over any kind of protein powder — but if the powder is your thing, go ahead and add it.
  • 1 cup ice – As needed, to thicken up the smoothie.

5 Easy Smoothie Add-ins:

  • ½ cup of yogurt. Plain, Greek yogurt is the best. It gives you tons of protein and adds a thickness to the shake without all the added sugar of the mixed-fruit variety.
  • Fruit. Whether blueberries, strawberries, pears or kiwi (or whatever you have on hand), tossing fruit into a smoothie is a great way to add sweetness naturally – and get those nutrients!Staff_serving_2_residents_2011
  • Ginger. Shaving some fresh ginger into your smoothie helps aid digestion and quiet tummy troubles while giving your smoothie more of a sweet flavor.
  • Nut butters. These pack heart-healthy fats, protein and flavor into your smoothie. Choose almond, coconut, hazelnut or peanut butter (without the added sugar). Bonus: You can grind up your own almond butter in a food processor!
  • Flaxseeds. These may help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes — and they have Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber, both of which are crucial to your diet.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, www.americanhouse.com, we value nutrition as an important part of staying healthy inside and out. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a visit to see all the steps we take to keep you healthy and vibrant in your golden years!

If you’ve got a favorite smoothie recipe, we’d love to know! Share it with us here!

Loneliness and Health Complications In Seniors

We’ve all felt lonely at some point in our lives. Usually, it is fleeting and resolved rather quickly, but loneliness poses a real problem for some senior citizens. It’s important for friends and family members to reach out to each other often, especially since seniors can see increased health problems stemming from loneliness.

So, be sure to visit your senior friends and family members. If you’ve ever felt unsure what to say to your loved one to keep the conversation flowing, that’s OK. Use some of these great Conversation Starter Tips for talking to your senior loved ones. And loneliness is often worse on the weekends and at night, so be sure to send a card or bring pictures for your loved one to look at long after your visit is over (or even make a nightly phone call after dinner!).

HEALTH COMPLICATIONS FROM LONELINESS

Lower Immune System

There are many theorized biological reasons why a lonely person suffers from a lower immune system than someone happy and surrounded by loved ones. The bottom line is this: Those who are socially isolated have an immune system that is working in overdrive and can’t seem to fight off every infection and virus that comes across. That means lonely seniors have higher instances of cancer and other sickness that make them ill far too often.

Loneliness and Health Complications In Seniors - American House Blog

Loneliness is often worse on the weekends and at night for seniors, so be sure to send a card or bring pictures for your loved one to look at long after your visit is over.

High Blood Pressure

Interestingly, loneliness raises levels of cortisol in the body — the stress hormone — and in turn, blood pressure goes up. Therefore, those who aren’t lonely are happier and as a result, generally have less stress and lower cortisol levels — and lower blood pressure.

Strokes and Heart Attacks

Along with elevated blood pressure comes the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, as well as other coronary issues. When the blood pressure is high, the heart is pumping harder and less is actually accomplished. Blockages can’t be pushed open and clots can form.

Disrupted Sleep

A lonely person likely isn’t having good, contented sleep at night. As a result, that person’s body doesn’t have the best chance at using that sleep for all its restorative purposes. Plus, lonely folks often have more interrupted sleep.

Depression

It’s no surprise that loneliness breeds depression. And with depression comes a slew of other less-than-ideal health conditions: Lack of care for self (as in follow up appointments with doctors) and poor hygiene (which can lead to dental problems and more) are just a few.

AMERICAN HOUSE COMBATS LONELINESS

At American House, we do everything we can to make sure your loved ones are happy, having fun and anything but lonely. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit and see for yourself all the unique activities and events we have planned in our communities and interesting facts about the nearby areas.

More seniors are joining online, but what’s there to do? Here’s 4 of our favorites:

2residents_ComputerMore and more seniors are getting online – are you one of them? For the first time ever in 2012, more than half of all seniors were using the internet, and even more so in 2013. By the end of 2014, who knows how many seniors will be plugged in and online!

So with more and more older adults getting online, what is there to do? Here’s a few of our favorites:

  • Staying in touch: There’s plenty of ways to stay in touch with your family online. Social media accounts can keep you involved in your loved ones’ lives. Try creating a Facebook account (or you ask a grandchild to help). Miss seeing their face and talking in person? Be sure to plug in to Skype and have a voice call with your whole family!
  • Find your inspiration: How’d you like to have a front row seat to thousands of the world’s smartest most influential people? TED puts you right in the midst of the latest and greatest ideas, and the people behind them. These short videos are accessible to anyone, and will challenge and inspire you!
  • Flint_Computer_2011Keep it personal: Sure, all this technology is great, but who doesn’t like getting snail mail every now and again? We do too! Surprise your family by sending a personalized postcard with a photo and a click and it’s mailed away. You can take a photo of anything you want to share – maybe your new American House apartment or one with your newest friends at community parties.
  • Learn something new: You’re never too old to stop learning! Ever wanted to take a class at Princeton University? How about Stanford? Now you can online. Whether you wanted to brush up on your math skills or learn psychology, you can browse courses to find something that interests you and enroll totally free. Study up!

Of course we’re just scratching the surface. Online is a great place to spend some time. How do you like to spend your time online? Did we miss one of your favorites?

4 ways to keep your senior loved ones looking – and feeling – their best

Just because they’re not in their 20s anymore doesn’t mean your senior relatives shouldn’t still be looking their best, right? When you look good, you feel good — so here are some tips on how to help keep your senior loved ones look stylish all year long!

1. Give a manicure.

manicureYour mom or grandma may not have the dexterity in her hands that she used to and it might be awkward and/or painful for her to paint her nails. Pick out a pretty polish (ask her what she likes or become a stealth observer the next time you visit her). Then, gather up your manicure tools: Nail polish remover, cotton balls, cotton swabs (for any off-the-nail messes), nail file and clippers. The next time you visit, spend some quality girl time doing her nails!

It will give you a great opportunity to talk up a storm! (Be sure to read these Conversation Starter Tips for Your Senior Loved Ones to have some topics ready to go.) TIP: Men enjoy having their nails cut and shaped, too! Just ask!

2. Cut, color, style.

You’re probably not a hairdresser (even if you are, keep reading!) but you can still help keep your loved one’s hair looking good. If your lovely lady or gentleman has a stylist they already treasure, go and get a gift certificate. Or, you can put some cash in an envelope (lovingly decorated, if you so choose) and hand it over with the express direction that it be used on a day of pampering at the hair salon.

3. Shop ‘til you drop.

shoppingbagsClothes make the man (or woman), right? If your senior loved one has a birthday coming up, or there’s a special holiday or event on the agenda, be sure to stop by and offer to take him or her shopping for some new clothes. Whether you pay or not, going shopping together is a great way to lift both of your spirits while you spend time together. But what if your loved one isn’t up for walking around the big stores and shopping malls for a few hours? Then bring the mall to them! There’s this great thing called the Internet, where you can browse tons of clothes in a fraction of the time – boot up your laptop or tablet and start shopping!

4. Bring on the skin care regimen.

Men and women experience dry and dull skin at any age, so help your loved ones brighten up their skin! Stock up on their favorite facial moisturizer, hand cream, body lotion and foot cream and they’ll start to experience that glowing skin all year long. For the ladies, try a special scented body lotion, or even some lavender-scented creams to help promote calmness and relaxation. Don’t forget a simple, but deluxe, face wash and body wash that your loved ones probably wouldn’t purchase.

VISIT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we’re committed to helping our residents feel and look good! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and find out all the exciting activities and amenities we offer for your loved ones.

American House Offers Certified Dementia Practitioner to Help Families and Staff Members

Having a loved one with dementia is tough. Having someone around who truly understands all sides of the effects of the decline in mental ability — for the afflicted, their family and caretakers — is absolutely necessary. At American House, we are proud to have someone who can help: Angie Kadowaki, our corporate life enrichment director and certified dementia practitioner.

NCCDPAngie received her designation from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners after meeting several qualifications: She had to have a college degree; a minimum of five years of experience in a health-related field; a minimum of three years of experience presenting in services or seminars to health care professionals; and have numerous hours in the field before she could qualify for the extensive training program.

Part of Angie’s training means she is now able to offer family members a game plan on how to visit their loved one and not feel so sad and how to share moments in time with them. She provides valuable insight on how to communicate with someone who has dementia, how to make them more comfortable and how to make the journey less painful for family members. If you have a loved one with dementia, you know it can be hard to know what to do and say.

Angie offers some tips for families coping with these issues:

119547888“The best advice I would have for any family members is do what you need to do to enter their world,” Angie said. “Don’t expect them to become part of yours anymore. If you enter into their world, their reality, it’s so much easier for the family members and the person they love.”

This may seem a bit awkward at first, but you’ll soon catch on to the best ways to enter your loved one’s new world.

Says Angie: If your loved one says they are wearing a purple shirt when they are really wearing a blue shirt, don’t argue with them. Let it go. Trying to correct a loved one with dementia is lose-lose, she says.

“What have you gained by arguing over that?” she says. “You’ve created distrust.”

Angie said it helps to remember that family members are being invited on the loved one’s journey. Some key phrases to keep in mind:

  • “I can’t fix this.”
  • “I’m sorry it’s so painful.”
  • “Let me help you along the way.”

In addition, Angie is now able to conduct seminars with American House staff about thoughtful ideas on how to address the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

AMERICAN HOUSE UNDERSTANDS DEMENTIA

Elmwood_Gazebo_2011

The American House Elmwood and Regent Street communities are official memory care communities, but Angie said training is offered throughout all American House communities for family members who have loved ones with dementia.

Anyone is welcome to call Angie at (248) 496-1791 with any questions regarding dementia.

To schedule a tour of any of our communities, call us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

Easy Ways to Make Holiday Meals Healthier

Whether you’re the one in charge of making the holiday meals — or just contributing a dish or two — we’ve devised some EASY ways to make sure you’re able to avoid piling on the calories while not skimping out on the taste (or festivities). Here are some EASY THINGS TO DO, EASY THINGS TO AVOID and EASY SWAPS TO MAKE to keep your holiday meals delicious – yet healthy:

EASY THINGS TO DO:

If you’re cooking or hosting:

  • cooking-light-holidayUse olive oil or canola oil instead — It’s a healthier alternative to using other kinds of oils, like vegetable oil.
  • Use small plates — You and your guests can go back for seconds and thirds if desired, but it’s easier to limit excessive portions when you can only fit so much on your plate.

If you’re filling your plate:

  • Keep portions small — It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register that you’re full, so you could be needlessly over-stuffing yourself if you have a large plate full of food that you’re eating.
  • Eat filling, low-calorie foods FIRST — This way, you’ll be full on the foods that will keep you feeling that way longer (meaning you won’t have room to gorge on the other treats instead).

EASY THINGS TO AVOID:

chicken-soup-holidayCream Soups. Although these are a favorite comfort food during the cold months, cream-based soups are the most calorie-laden. If you’re a soup fan, pick one with a chicken broth or tomato base instead.

Soda and deluxe coffee drinks: Why drink your calories when you can enjoy them in food instead? Pass on the beverages loaded with sugar and fat in place of water (or plain coffee or tea) and you’ll be able to sneak in a few extra calories for dessert without compromising your daily intake as much — and it won’t feel like you’re missing out.

The snack table. We’re not saying you can’t snack, but don’t situate yourself right next to the M&M’s and cookies when you’re at a holiday party. You’ll be less likely to mindlessly eat them that way. Plus, you won’t get filled up on junk — which only fills you up for a short time and will send you in search of more snacks later. Eat the good stuff that keeps you full longer instead!

EASY SWAPS TO MAKE:

Instead of: Finger foods, candy, chips and dip and fried little appetizers
TRY: Fruit and veggie platters with a hummus dip, or nuts — and even some chilled shrimp

sweet-potato-holidayInstead of: Dark meat turkey
TRY: White meat turkey breast (no skin!). And if you’re the one doing the cooking, opt for gravy made of low-sodium chicken broth instead of the sinful creaminess of other gravies.

Instead of: Stuffing full of meats and butter
TRY: Rice. Bake some wild rice separately and it makes a smart side dish.

Instead of: Mashed potatoes
TRY: Sweet potatoes! These flavorful potatoes don’t need all the butter and milk that mashed potatoes do; Sprinkle some cinnamon (and a dash of brown sugar) to make these extra tasty.

Instead of: Cream pies
TRY: Pumpkin pie! It’s probably already on the menu, and pumpkin offers some great nutrients. Skip the crust and whipped topping, though.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we create many delicious foods for our residents to enjoy all the time — and especially during the holiday season. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 so you can stop by one of our locations and see for yourself all the great meals we have!