By Miriam Herst
While every Jewish holiday has the potential to send even the most prepared hostess into a tizzy of planning and cooking, Passover is perhaps the most stressful of them all. This 8-day long holiday brings lots of family time, even more pressure than usual to have a meticulously clean home, and the added stress of menu planning when half of our go-to ingredients are off-limits. While healthy eating might feel like the last added stressor you want to engage with right now, Passover is actually the ideal time to practice mindful food habits. This springtime holiday easily allows for a lot of healthy approaches and is a great opportunity to get into a more conscious headspace when it comes to your food.
Healthy Eating During Passover: It’s Easier Than You Might Think
The truth is, it isn’t really that hard to eat healthfully on Passover because the restrictions force us to be mindful about what we’re putting into our bodies. Suddenly, grabbing a sugary candy bar at the drugstore isn’t an option and we have to plan our meals out in advance. Processed foods that are kosher for Passover are harder to come by and can get pricey fast. It’s much easier and affordable to depend on healthier, unprocessed foods to make up the bulk of our diet. And while there are some restaurants that offer kosher for Passover food, we spend most of our meals eating at home. That makes it easier to control the ingredients that go into each recipe.
Healthy “Snacks on the Go”
String cheese, cut up fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and nuts are all healthy snack options to consider during Passover. And this is an ideal opportunity to get in the habit of opting for healthy snack options in general. Take note of how your body feels when you are fueling yourself with mostly whole foods and consider allowing your Passover eating habits to set the tone for the rest of the year.
Make Sure to Stay Hydrated!
While it’s important to stay hydrated year-round, make sure to be extra mindful with your water intake throughout Passover. A matzah-heavy diet can use as much help as it can get, and water will keep your food moving through your body at a healthy pace.
Indulge in Your Bubbe’s Signature Passover Dessert
Choosing healthy snacks and making mindful eating choices is good practice in general. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge, too! Stock up on bars of dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep an eye out for berries, dried fruit, and sorbet at the grocery store. You can also allow for occasional indulgences like flourless chocolate cake, macaroons and anything your grandmother bakes once a year for the holiday. Breaking up protein and vegetable-heavy meals with sweet options will allow you to avoid food boredom. And when it comes to a holiday where matzah is the main food group, boredom can set in quickly!
Be Mindful of What You Are Eating:
Lastly, consider using this holiday as a chance to start taking note of what you are putting into your body. It can be easy to mindlessly snack and lose track of what you’re eating, not notice when you feel full, and keep on eating in an attempt to feel satisfied. By taking note of what you are eating and writing everything down, you can ascertain how certain foods make you feel. This will allow you to take what’s working from your Passover diet and apply it to your routine year-round.
Quinoa “Hummus” Recipe
from Naomi Nachman’s Perfect for Pesach Cookbook
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil, for garnish
1 Tablespoon parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
paprika, for garnish
- Place quinoa and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until just blended.
2. Add remaining ingredients; continue to blend. Scrape down the sides and blend again, for approximately 30 seconds. Do not over-blend or the mixture will become gummy.
3. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with olive oil and chopped parsley; sprinkle with paprika.
***Prepare ahead! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.