Watch your waistline and avoid safety risks during Festival of Lights

Watch your waistline and

sufganiyot hanukka 248 88 (photo credit: )
sufganiyot hanukka 248 88
(photo credit: )
With gooey, oily Hanukka doughnuts (sufganiyot) lurking everywhere, adults and children who don't want to gain weight during the eight-day festival of lights that begins Friday evening can take measures to minimize the caloric damage. The average Israeli gains a kilo or more during the holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in the second century BCE. According to Dr. Michal Gilon, clinical dietitian at Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva, there are between 350 and over 500 calories in each sufganiya, depending on the size, filling and frosting. She advises replacing two percent of the amount of regular flour with soy or whole-wheat flour, as this significantly reduces the amount of oil absorbed during frying and makes the stomach feel fuller. Use canola oil if you intend to fry, and do not reuse it for frying later. Frying at a high temperature and deep frying rather than doing it in a shallow pan also reduce the amount of absorbed oil. After frying, place the doughnuts on paper towels to help drain out more oil. The less sugar used, the better. But baking the sufganiyot, while probably less tasty, greatly cuts the number of calories in each one. To work off the calories contained in one fried, filled doughnut, you would have to ride a bicycle for 40 minutes or climb stairs for an hour. "Is it worth it?" asks Shira Nehushtan, clinical dietitian at Ziv Medical Center in Safed. For the same caloric value, says Nehushtan, one can eat two slices of bread, plus 100 grams of five-percent-fat white cheese, a tomato, a serving of fruit and a container of 1.5% yoghurt or a 100-gram serving of cooked meat or chicken, a cup of pasta, rice or burghul, a cup of green beans and one fruit. Gilon notes that fried potato pancakes, which are also traditional fare, contain 150 to 200 calories each, and few people have the self-control to eat just one. Dietitians at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba recommend frying these in a Teflon pan coated with a thin coating of cooking spray. Pancakes can also be baked. Get outdoors and exercise during the Hanukka school vacation as much as possible, experts advise. Schneider Prof. Yehezkel Weisman, head of emergency medicine, says that small children should be kept far away from candles and frying to avoid burns. Those under the age of nine should light hanukkiot only with help from an adult. Put the hanukkia on a fireproof tray, without a cloth that could be pulled away by a child. Display the lights far from curtains and out of small children's reach. Make sure long hair and sleeves do not get close to the fire. A survey conducted for Beterem, the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health, found that 30% of parents leave the hanukkiot lit in an unsafe place. Don't leave it on an accessible table, kitchen counter or outside the door (unless it's in a locked glass case). In the event of a burn, wash the skin with cool running water and apply a sterile bandage. Consult a doctor; if serious, go to an emergency room or urgent-care center. Never leave lit candles without supervision. Keep chocolate "coins," nuts and other small objects away from children so they do not choke on them or inhale them into the trachea.