Pray, drink, eat: it's a typical Passover routine. The Jewish religious holiday often brings with it bigger meals, later mealtimes, sweet treats, socialized eating with loved ones and less physical activity. For individuals who are concerned about holiday traditions affecting their eating habits, rest assured, there are ways to eat healthfully during Passover.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains are fantastic carbohydrate choices for your health because they keep you full and satisfied. Luckily, several whole-grain products are permitted during Passover, including, spelt and whole-wheat matzo, farfel and whole wheat matzo meal. Quinoa is another increasingly popular — and permitted — food that can be incorporated into your meal served as a grain.
Eating a balanced breakfast may help prevent overeating at later meals. Instead of eating five pieces of matzo with cream cheese on Passover mornings, choose plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and a few small pieces of whole-wheat matzo for added crunch. Another great choice comes right off the leftovers of your Seder table: the hard-boiled egg. Or, try an omelet with added vegetables for a source of protein and some dietary fiber.
Aim for Balance
While you may not be able to avoid eating the late-night feast during the Seders, you can aim for balanced meals throughout the day to prevent overeating in the evening. Choose moderate portions of fruit and vegetables with low-fat dairy or a lean protein food for your meals and snacks to help you meet different nutrient needs for the day.
Plan for Dessert
If you choose to include treats, be sure you are making a mindful choice. It’s easy to overeat and reach for more on an impulse.
Strategize the Meal
To maintain a balanced, portion-controlled meal, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, about one-quarter with lean protein and one-quarter whole grains. And, take your time while eating. By eating more slowly, you give your brain time to register that you are full and satisfied before overeating.
You may find it difficult to get a full workout in during Passover but movement is just as important during holidays as it is every day of the year. Try incorporating physical activity into your day in practical ways, such as short walks.
Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN, is an author, private nutrition counselor and freelance writer in New York.
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