What to avoid eating this Passover and how to keep your cravings at bay.
As Passover approaches, we begin the time honoured tradition of cleaning as we try to rid our homes of chametz in preparation for the joyous holiday. After composing lists and more lists of grocery items to buy, we begin to stock our cupboards with countless Passover foods so we don’t “starve.” We will most likely buy more bazooka gum, chips and chocolate in those 8 days than we normally do the entire year, but hey, who’s watching what they eat anyways. There’s nothing we can do about a little weight gain anyway, right? Wrong! I’d like to introduce you all to the newest, latest diet that will keep you healthy and trim during the holidays. It’s hot off the press and straight into the COR Passover Guide. Introducing…
The “Pass-Over” Diet: The complete list of foods to Pass-Over during Passover
“PASS-OVER” SNACKING ON MATZAH JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE BORED:
Generally, one slice of box matzah is 140 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrates and equivalent to 2 slices of bread. Nowadays we are lucky that there are so many varieties of matzah available. Although whole wheat, oat and spelt are some of the healthier options you can choose, it still counts as calories and carbohydrates. Eating matzah is a mitzvah, of course, but don’t eat just because you have nothing better to do.
“PASS-OVER” DISHES THAT ARE HIGH IN EGGS, SUGAR AND OIL:
Many Passover recipes call for lots and lots of eggs. In many cases, egg whites can be successfully used instead of yolks. Avoid fried foods whenever possible and stick to reduced-fat recipes that involve baking, steaming and boiling. Purchase a good non-stick fry pan for sautéing or even a George Forman style grill.
“PASS-OVER” EATING PROCESSED FOODS AND SNACKS:
It can be stressful thinking about cleaning our homes until they are spic and span and cooking for all the meals and company we are having. We often turn to comfort foods and snacks that may be high in salt and sugar such as chips and chocolate. If you do not have these snacks in your home, you will be less likely to eat them. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” However, if you do need to buy them for family members or guests who are visiting you, do not leave them out on the counter. Consider storing them in a cupboard that is hard to access. If you need to grab a step ladder and reach all the way to the end of a cupboard, you may feel that it’s not worth the effort to eat that piece of chocolate. Keep at hand fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat yogurt and cheeses and nuts for you to munch on when hungry.
“PASS-OVER” EATING TOO MANY PROCESSED AND PACKAGED PASSOVER FOODS:
These foods are generally high in calories and fat as their ingredients contain crushed nuts, coconut and sugar. Eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
“PASS-OVER” STARVING YOURSELF DURING THE DAY IN ANTICIPATION OF THE SEDER MEALS:
Small meals are recommended during the Seder days. For the two Seder meals, try not to eat from 4 p.m. until the evening meal. Because the Seder meals are particularly rich and heavy, this can help balance your daily calorie intake. Keep in mind that the Seder meals don’t need to be “unhealthy” as many of the foods typically eaten are nutritious items (eggs, romaine lettuce and boiled chicken.) It’s usually the quantity of food and extra-large portion sizes that get us in trouble.
“PASS-OVER DRINKING TOO MUCH SUGARY WINE OR GRAPE JUICE:
Some dieters as well as diabetics might consider using dry wine for the dour cups of wine during the Seder meal. The sweeter and heavier the wine, the more calories it contains. Did you know that four standard wine glasses of grape juice has about 680 calories, which is roughly 1/3 of our total calorie requirements per day? Water is really the best option to drink when possible, it will keep you hydrated and most importantly, its calorie free!
May we merit to have any extra weight “Passed Over” us during this holiday season.
Miriam Leibowitz is a Registered Dietician/Nutritionist. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org