Steamed fish with carrots.
(photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Start the Jewish New Year off right with health tips from a nutrition expert at Schneider Children’s Medical Center.
Dafna Ziv Busani, a dietitian at the nutrition and diet unit at the Petah Tikva hospital, pointed out that this year, because the holiday is immediately followed by Shabbat, there will be more holiday meals than usual.
As holiday meals are usually more festive than regular meals, they are likely to be rich in calories. Busani recommended eating two small meals and two healthy snacks during the day, and an intermediate meal an hour before the festive meal, so as not to arrive hungry to the main meal.
Eat wisely and take walks as much as possible to burn the extra calories. Exercise regularly throughout the holiday.
Perhaps more than any other food, honey is consumed at Rosh Hashana. Although the natural sweet substance may have many healing properties, it is also high in sugar. Do not consume too much, and it is advised that diabetics avoid it altogether.
Also, do not give honey to babies before they are one year old because it may contain the botulinum toxin, which can cause systemic damage.
Another Rosh Hashana meal classic is fish. Besides being a high-quality protein, fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Fish rich in these fatty acids include flounder, salmon, mackerel and halibut.
Fish have many health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to eat at least two servings of fish per week and to cook or bake it rather than fry it. Busani said that eating fish at least once a week helps prevent memory loss and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Pomegranates, another traditional food at Rosh Hashana, contain many antioxidants, which help reduce damage from oxidation. But do not exaggerate, Busani cautioned, as this fruit also contains a lot of sugar.
A glass of wine contains 90 to 160 calories, so don’t overdo alcohol consumption. Instead, drink plenty of water.
If offered honey cake (or other desserts), share the slice with another person. Half of the main meal should consist of vegetables, a quarter of complex carbohydrates (full grains) and the rest of protein, like fish, poultry or meat.
Lastly, if you smoke, the new year is an opportunity to make a resolution to kick the habit.