Healthy eating on Passover - it's possible

Healthy eating tips for Passover that can help you maintain your health and even weight.

Shakshuka and Starkist Tuna  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shakshuka and Starkist Tuna
(photo credit: Courtesy)

How did it happen that the holidays became the enemy of people who wanted to maintain their health or, "heaven forbid," maybe even maintain their weight?

It is clear that the anxiety of holiday meals presenting us with an abundance of temptations that we fear we won't be able to handle makes us regret it even before the holiday arrives.

Right. We have a long holiday ahead of us, where we host, are hosted and gather for sumptuous family meals, and the holiday foods are usually high in calories, because they are very rich in fat, eggs and nuts.

But instead of trying something that's likely bound to fail and make you frustrated, perhaps you should consider a slightly different method?

Maybe we should try to keep our "normal routine," where we usually eat when we are hungry, stop eating when we are satiated and usually try to eat healthy food, but add to it the flexibility that is naturally required from a change in the routine that we are used to? Is it possible to gain weight during the holiday? Definitely yes.

However the more we fear it the more we will increase the chance that it will actually happen while if we behave leisurely (which even means we may eat more) but are not scared of it, then naturally we will return to our routine immediately after the holiday, and even if we gain weight, it will come back down soon after.

To reduce the eating temptations, it is better to concentrate during the holiday less on food celebrations, and more on active pastimes, preferring hiking over staying in hotels, and ball games with the children over spending time in a restaurant.

It is recommended to take advantage of the spring weather even for short walks around the house.After all, it's easier to decide to walk, than to try to give up a piece of cake.

And if we talk for a moment about how to maintain a healthy diet with matza in the picture, then here are some tips:

1. Prefer a high-fiber matzah.

2. You do not have to eat matzah at every meal. Since the balance between food staples should be daily and some of the holiday meals will be richer in carbohydrates, you can eat meals between them that are rich in proteins: such as shakshuka, tuna-based salads, etc.

3. Vegetables and proteins are friends - if matzah is part of a meal, it is recommended to try to increase the number of vegetables and proteins as much as possible: 5% cheeses, tuna, eggs, tofu or various legume spreads.

4. You do not have to eat matzah - rolls made from matzah flour or rice crackers are definitely an equally great option to be combined with a healthy and nutritious meal.

5. Be sure to drink plenty (water, of course) to have regular bowel movements, which matzah can disrupt.

Written by Ruti Abiri, clinical dietitian and nutritionist for StarKist, generating ways for better health.