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. Rest assured, there are ways to stay healthy during Passover despite its food restrictions. Here are six simple weight management tips for Passover.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains are fantastic carbohydrate choice for your health because they keep you full and satisfied. Lucky for us, several whole-grain products are permitted during Passover, including, oat, spelt and whole-wheat matzo, farfel and 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 helps prevent overeating at later meals. For instance, 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 added for added crunch. Another great choice can come right off the leftovers of your seder table: the hard-boiled egg. Or, try an omelet with added vegetables for a great source of protein and fiber.
While you cannot avoid eating the late-night feast during the seders, you can ensure you are eating small, frequent meals or snacks throughout the day. Choosing moderate portions of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein for your meals and snacks will help you not overeat later.
Plan for Dessert
Be cautious when it comes to Passover desserts, even the freshly baked goods. Most are filled with refined carbohydrates, including cake flour or potato starch, along with added sugar, margarine and eggs. You don't have to completely forgo these treats, but be sure you are making a mindful choice and not reaching for more on an impulse. Studies show you eat less when snacks are planned versus an impromptu urge where you may overindulge.
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 harder to get a full workout in during Passover, but movement is as important during holidays as it is every day of the year. If you're struggling to find the time, try reliving the Passover story by taking a walk around your block.