If I had a dollar for every phone call or email I get this time of year with someone frantically asking me what the heck they are going to eat on Passover without packing on the pounds or destroying their health, I’d probably have enough money to go to a nice hotel for Passover and thereby ignore said phone calls and emails. Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad (do you know how much it costs to stay at one of those kosher for Passover hotels? Yikes!), but you get the point….
Of course I’m happy to help, so listen up, because if you know anything about me, it’s that I hate repeating myself (the hubby can attest to that ). So here is my very deep and insightful thoughts regarding this topic: the more unhealthy, packaged, processed food items you eat throughout the year, the more difficult of a time you will have on Passover.
Wow. That is some pure genius right there.
You see, the challenge is, in order to eat healthy on Passover, you have to completely avoid the temptation to buy anything pre-made. The companies make these products for your “convenience” but it is nothing more than a very expensive way to throw all the garbage ingredients they could find into a box and then add chemicals and preservatives to keep the garbage on the shelf as long as possible. Yes, it’s THAT bad, don’t even get me started.
So what should you do? It’s simple and it’s easy. Go back to the basics. For G-d’s sakes, people it’s only a week – or 2, if you change over your kitchen far in advance due to your OCD, but that’s another story! Here is a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid on Passover.
Foods to eat:
- Fish, all kinds.
- Poultry – chicken and turkey
- Hormone and antibiotic-free eggs
- Lean meat (limit to once or twice per week)
- Fruits of any kind, but avoid eating after a meal as it inhibits digestion.
- Vegetables (yes, including *gasp* the “evil” potato and sweet potato, which are far more healthy than eating pounds of matzhoh, especially if organic)
- Quinoa, assuming your Rabbi approves this contraversial non-grain.
- Organic spelt matzoh, which is very easy to find these days and more gentle on the digestive system than whole wheat matzoh.
- Grapeseed oil for baking and stir-frying; olive oil for salads and other cold dishes.
- Incorporate nuts into your food prep, assuming you are not allergic of course, as nuts have healthy fats and will keep you fuller longer.
Foods to avoid:
- As always, I recommend to avoid dairy products, with the exception of plain or vanilla yogurt – If you can find organic yogurt that is Kosher for Passover, that is the best choice. Otherwise, Danone is okay; they are the only company I could find here in Toronto that has less sugar, and no potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate, two potentially harmful (and awful-tasting) preservatives.
- Kugels and other dishes with matzoh meal, it will just add unnecessary carbs and calories. In other words, even if your custom is to eat Gebroks (mixing matzoh into your food) you’re waaay better off without it.
- Limit your intake of sugar and potato starch. There’s no need to put a ton of sugar or potato starch in your cakes (a half ton will do, thank you).
- Cottonseed oil, a highly genetically modified substance that shouldn’t even be classified as a food.
Some packaged food products may understandably be difficult to do without, such as ketchup and mayonnaise (see how to make your own mayo HERE) – and of course those ladyfingers, what on earth would we do without ladyfingers? -but not as many as you think. Always look for items that contain ingredients you understand; many items can be found without chemicals and preservatives if you look hard enough. Or, make all your own fresh food, you will feel better and it will get rave reviews from family and freinds. If you stick to these principles, you will have no trouble maintaining your healthy lifestyle on Passover.