Stay Healthy on Passover

By GKC friend and reader Tammy

You know that feeling of anxiety that creeps into the pit of your stomach as Passover slowly begins to approach? No, I’m not talking about the anxiety you feel to finish the cleaning, prepare the meals, and stock the house. I’m referring to the gritty and grim reality that most of us will face by the end of Passover: weight gain. It seems odd that we’d gain weight while refraining from bread but we manage to do so anyway by snacking on countless bags of greasy Kosher for Passover chips and matza pizza. Packing on the pounds seems like an inevitable outcome, but alas…we have tips and a plan for you to follow in order to defy expectations and stay healthy this Passover while enjoying the holiday:

1. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When one is hydrated, it decreases bloating and constipation. Drinking large amounts of water helps speed the process of food traveling throughout the body and this is especially crucial during Passover when we consume large amounts of food.

2. Steer clear of foods/drinks that are heavily processed and contain more than 10 ingredients. When something is made with an excessive amount of ingredients, it usually means that it is filled with chemicals and processed sugars, both of which will lead to bloating. Many Passover bottled drinks are loaded with sugars and preservatives. Go back to number 1, and stick with water whenever possible.

3. Stay away from deep-fried food. Deep-fried food is filled with unhealthy oils and fats that will be transferred into your body and only add to the possibility of gaining weight over the holiday. Bake your chicken, don’t fry it. We have too many meals, to cheat too often.

4. Don’t deprive yourself- moderation is key! If you forbid yourself from touching any sweets, you will probably hold out for about 4 hours before rushing to the nearest kosher for Passover brownies and eating the entire pan. Relax, cut yourself a small piece of cake and enjoy the holiday.

5. Exercise every day. Take a deep breath and relax. No treadmill for you! Instead, look around at your surroundings. Take a long walk with a loved one every day. Soul Cycle isn’t the only type of exercise that works! Walking for 30 minutes gets your blood pumping, muscles moving and will work off the calories from those macaroons you just scarfed down!
A few other general tips that work for Passover and all-year long…
– Start your morning with protein to balance your energy and sugar and prevent cravings throughout the day
– Don’t serve too much! Whatever you serve you will likely eat, so consider that when planning your menus. Your guests and family will appreciate that too.
– Survey the meal before taking each item. Take a look around, decide what’s best to eat, what you enjoy and what will fill you up before you serve yourself the variety of kugel on the table, choose one, and lots of salads with crunch, texture, and freshness.
– Put food away between meals. The more snacks that are out, the more everyone munches. Make sure fruits and vegetables for snacking are available.
– Sorbets and fruits make great and refreshing desserts.
– Fill up on salads, vegetable based soups and lots of raw and cooked vegetables. I serve 3 vegetable dishes for every starch type (kugel or potato ) dish.

Here are some recipe ideas that you can use throughout Passover:
Kale chips
Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Mediterranean Soup
Crunchy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes