By Malky Zimmerman-Kugel

Frum Jews face some real challenges when it comes to being frum and fit.

Heavy meals on Shabbos and yom tov. Aside from the negative health aspect of eating large portions, eating too-large meals during Shabbos can add up to weight gain. Many people spend the entire week losing what they gained over Shabbos, so at best they are maintaining their current weight, and not necessarily losing weight. You can try switching to smaller plates so that your plate is still full but you are actually eating less. Also, bring to the table more than just food. Try a Shabbos game that you can play at the table, or have each family member talk about their week.

Many pregnancies. If every pregnancy leaves only seven extra pounds (and it usually leaves much more than that) and the average woman has five children, that is an extra 35 pounds gained over the course of the childbearing years. To be considered obese, one need be only 30 pounds overweight. Aside from the extra weight, the stress on the body from the multiple pregnancies and nursing can potentially leave the woman’s body depleted of many nutrients. It is important for women in their childbearing years to be mindful of maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate nutrient intake through balanced eating and nutritional supplements.

Salty foods and heavy dishes. Many of the popular “Jewish foods” contain a tremendous amount of salt, preservatives, and fats. Some examples are kugel, deli, kishka, and many popular Shabbos salads that are full of salt, mayonnaise, and sugar. With a little creativity, you can prepare some of these foods in a healthier way. Susie Fishbein has a cookbook that focuses on lighter meals. You can also get ideas from

Vitamin D deficiency. Very few foods contain vitamin D, so we get most of the vitamin from sun exposure. Several factors affect your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D, such as the season, time of day, level of air pollution, and skin color. Because only uncovered skin will absorb the UVB radiation that can be converted into vitamin D, lack of exposure to sun can make the frum population more at risk of vitamin D deficiency. It is not necessary to get a blood test, unless there are symptoms and a diagnosis is needed. Symptoms are depression, chronic fatigue, weight loss, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.

The good news is that now more than ever, so many exercise and health opportunities are available. There are plenty of non-coed exercise classes going on in every neighborhood. Every kosher supermarket and eatery offers plenty of low-fat and sugar-free options. Also, with so many frum nutritionists available who are familiar with Shabbos, kashrus, and yom tov eating, you can easily get a great nutrition plan fit for a frum Jew. v

Malky Zimmerman-Kugel is a nutrition counselor at Nutrition by Tanya and is the manager of the Five Towns location. Nutrition by Tanya offers personalized and practical weight management and nutrition counseling for men, women, and children. Nutrition by Tanya has locations in Boro Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg, Monsey, Lakewood, the Five Towns, Crown Heights, and Monroe. The office can be reached at 844-TANYA-DIET or You can also visit for more information, inspiring success stories, and photos.



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