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.
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, 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 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 great source of protein and 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, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein for your meals and snacks to help you meet different nutrient needs for the day.
Plan for Dessert
You don't need 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 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. If you're struggling to find the time, try reliving the Passover story by taking a walk around your block.