Three Tips to Staying Healthy During the Passover Holiday!

Passover, the Jewish holiday which is celebrated for eight days, is almost here! That means for many, two large feasts to begin the celebration of the Jewish people’s escape from Egypt, avoiding leaven bread, and of course, spending time with family. This also means that there will often be food everywhere! (I wish I was kidding). Here are a few tips to stay healthy, and avoid increasing your waistline over the eight days:

ONE Veggies and protein are both safe bets, and don’t contain any leaven bread!

Fill up on your veggies and protein to help avoid over eating the heavier menu items. You may also already know that vegetables are low in calories and are filled with fiber (avoid getting constipated 😉 ) and nutrients to help fuel your body. Protein, which can be found in meat and poultry, and of course eggs are excellent at fuelling the body with the energy it needs, and are extremely satiating. This does not mean you shouldn’t have any matzo or other sources of carbohydrates like sweet potato or squash, it just means keeping these items to a quarter of your plate.

TWO 4 cups of wine… how about 4 sips instead?

During the Seder, we are encouraged to drink 4 glasses of wine (crazy right?). Instead of trying to finish a glass at every chance you get, take a sip instead. Alcohol intake can not only change the way our bodies metabolize our food (preference to the alcohol) but can also deplete you of nutrients in your body. As well, alcohol has a high calorie content and often people tend to eat more when they are intoxicated, versus when they are not. You should also be encouraged to drink tons of water!

THREE Indulge, but avoid over-indulging.

Filling your plate multiple times may satisfy your taste buds, but this will also lead to tummy aches and over-indulging. Try taking a single portion of each item; choose the menu items you prefer most, you shouldn’t feel the need to try everything. OR if you want to try everything, take smaller portions of each. Variety is the spice of life, but it can also lead to over-eating. Be mindful of your body’s hunger and satiety cues; eat when you are hungry and stop just before you feel too full!

Here a couple of recipes you can make during this celebratory time:

One of my favourite memories of Passover is with my Bubby when she would make her famous fried matzo, also called “Matzo Brei”. Easy and delicious, this warm menu item can be topped with something sweet like sugar or maple syrup for a Canadian twist, or can be made more savoury using rosemary flavoured matzo and topped with sour cream.

Recipe: Matzo Brei 

Ingredients:

4 pieces of Manischewitz Matzo

½ cup boiling water

organic eggs

Salt & Pepper

2 Tbsp of butter or margarine

2 Tbsp Oil

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, break up the matzo into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Pour boiling water over the matzo and toss gently. Drain the excess water as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add salt and pepper and pour over the matzo. Mix gently until fully coated. In a non-stick pan over high heat, melt the butter or margarine and add the oil.
  3. Add the Matzo mixture and cook until crisp.
  4. Flip over and cook the other side thoroughly.
  5. Feel free the break up the mixture into pieces as it cooks. Voila; you’re all set to indulge! Suggested toppings: Sugar and sour cream, maple syrup or your choice of jam.
  6. Enjoy!

It is okay to indulge in a sweet treat during this time. One of my favourite indulgences during this holiday is of course some chocolate-caramel matzo bark. With so many variations to this recipe, anyone can make it with their favourite topping, or can even make it allergy friendly for those who avoid nuts or other ingredients!

Recipe: Chocolate-Caramel Matzo Bark

Ingredients:

4 to 6 sheets Manischewitz Matzo

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar

Large pinch of sea salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (kosher for Passover variety)

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)

1 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) with aluminum foil, making sure it covers the edges completely. Additionally, line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375oF (190oC).
  3. Line the baking sheet with matzo, filling all the spaces by breaking extra pieces as needed.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together; cook and stir over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to boil.
  5. Continue to stir and let boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzo.
  6. Working quickly, spread the caramel with a heatproof spatula.
  7. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350oF (175oC) degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up; check every once and a while to ensure its not burning (If it is burning in some spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325oF (160oC), then replace the pan).
  8. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, and then spread with an offset spatula.
  9. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favourite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
  10. Let cool completely.
  11. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container until you are ready to indulge. Consume within a week.
  12. Enjoy!

 

Happy Passover To Everyone Celebrating!

For more healthy tips & recipes from Arin, click here!

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