Food plays an important role in the Passover holiday. While preparing and eating the rich, and usually heavy holiday food, it is important to remember:
- Even one meal can have a negative affect on your body
- The size of your portion is one of the main causes of obesity
- On the seder night, it is best to keep portions to what is halachically required
- Dishes can and should be based on healthy foods, like vegetables and fruit.
Remember - the Israelites walked a lot after their Passover meal.
How to Avoid Weight Gain During Passover
- When making cakes and other baked goods, switch out some whole eggs for just egg whites
- Avoid frying foods
- If you do fry foods, use a teflon pan and non-stick spray instead of oil
- Do not fry with margarine
- Eat raw and cooked vegetables. The best ways to prepare them are steaming or boiling.
- If you are using spreads for your matzoh, use jams or cheeses that have up to 5% fat. Avoid chocolate spreads, butter and margarine. Remember: 1 teaspoon of butter or chocolate spread = 1 1/2 tablespoons of 5% cheese = 3 tablespoons of 1/2% =45 calories
- Fruit salad or compote are good dessert options
- When drinking the four cups, grape juice is better than wine and dry wine is better than sweet wine: 1/2 c. sweet wine = 167 calories; 1/2 c. dry wine = 100 calories; 1/2 grape juice = 73 calories
- People who suffer from high cholesterol should avoid cakes and cookies which contain coconuts (=high percentage of trans fat).
- 1/2 piece matza = 1 piece of bread = 80 calories. Don't forget that you can eat whole wheat matzah instead. People who are allowed to eat kitniyot can also substitute rice cakes.
Passover is a great time to make changes.
Most Jewish holidays are centered around food. This is also true of the modern world - the food industry is everywhere. We're growing up with fast food, larger portions and cheap price. But at what cost? For a few shekels we just bought about 100 empty calories, based on fried foods and simple sugars. Are we really free to make our own food choices? In modern society, we have become slaves to the food industry, to comfort, and to convenience.
Family meals are becoming less and less - in their place we see after school activities, late night meetings and lots of processed foods. Most of the food we eat isn't really food. Food is supposed to nourish us, and supply our body with necessary nutrients, but most of the food we eat nowadays does neither. All these foods do is spread the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
It's time for us to break free of this modern type of slavery and bring back family meals, healthy food and a balanced diet. The Passover seder is a wonderful example of the power of a family meal. Studies have shown that children that have family meals two time a week or more are less likely to develop eating disorders, obesity or other dangerous behaviors.
Does this new freedom mean becoming a slave to the kitchen? Not at all.
There are many ways to creat foods that are quickand healthy. We can start this new lifestyle at the seder itself - small portions, lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat meats, walnuts, boiling and steaming instead of frying and more. Avoid drinking sugary drinks.
Take the time off during the holiday to do healthy activities such as hikes or other types of exercise.