Before the Holiday
Do not neglect your exercise. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible, even though you have so much more to do. Remember, the cleaning will get done. You, however, will feel much better if you get your exercise.
As it gets closer to yom tov, many of the foods you are used to eating on your plan may not be available in stores or may be hard to find. Keep that in mind and stock up accordingly.
If you can’t make it, buy it. Don’t feel bad spending money on a salad or a healthier dinner if you see that it is just not getting done at home.
Plan your meals. If you’re eating at home, you are more in control and can predict what will be served. If you are eating out and feel close enough or comfortable enough to your hosts, ask what will be served.
Find out the minimum amount of matzah and grape juice you can eat/drink to be yotzeh (exempt) of the mitzvah and stick to the minimum.
Make sure to eat a light dinner and drink water before the Seder so that you’re not too hungry.
Since the eating takes place very late, eat in moderation. If possible, take a walk after the meal so that you don’t go to sleep on a full stomach.
If you can, write down whatever you remember eating. This will give you some form of accountability. Passover ladyfingers are a great, low-calorie snack. I like them so much, I buy extra to have during the year.
Hopefully, the pandemic will be over and social distancing won’t be needed anymore. Follow the latest official guidelines to be sure.
If you are heading out on a trip, plan accordingly. Just like you pack up everything for the kids, do the same for yourself. Lack of preparation means you will get hungry and munch non-allowed items.
If you cannot make it to your usual exercise class, wake up a little earlier and either go for a jog/walk or do an at home DVD. Aside from burning some of the inevitable extra calories, you will feel like you are more on track.
Second Days and General Meal Guidelines
Always fill half your plate with vegetables, the other quarter with a protein (chicken, fish, or meat), and if necessary, the other quarter with a starch if you are not having matzah.
Stick to a kezayis of matzah and just a sip of grape juice if need be, per meal.
If you are having dips, try to limit to 3 teaspoons in total per meal.
Make plenty of vegetable side dishes and salads.
You can divide your protein so that you have both fish and meat. For example: a small piece of fish as the appetizer and a small piece of meat for the main course along with a salad.
Always try to drink 2 cups of water before a meal so that you do not feel as hungry.
Find other things to do at the meal besides eating. Keep busy with serving and clearing, talking, or even getting up and moving to the couch.
Skip non-essential extras including soup, appetizers, coleslaw, dips, and desserts.
Remember, if you go off track for one meal or even a whole day, get right back on!
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
6 servings. Count each serving as a starch. (Remember, if you are having matzah by a meal that counts as your starch.)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped to 1-inch pieces
- 1 small celery root, peeled and diced
- 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced
- 1 cup almond milk (can omit)
- 5–6 cups water or more, to reach desired consistency
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh or dried minced rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Generously spray with cooking spray. On one cookie sheet, place the diced carrots and parsnips. On the other cookie sheet, place the sweet potatoes, celery root, and rutabaga.
- Place both sheets in the oven and roast vegetables until tender, around 45 minutes. The sheet with the carrots may be done first, so check once in a while.
- When all the vegetables have finished roasting, remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and very velvety.
Crispy Parsley Garnish
- Clean and shred parsley.
- Heat a skillet and spray with cooking spray. Let parsley crisp in the pan until desired level of crispiness, but keep an eye on it, since it burns easily!
- To serve: Spoon soup into bowls and sprinkle with the crispy parsley. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or cayenne for extra color.
Alice Harrosh is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya, with 14 locations including a branch in Five Towns right on Elderd Lane (behind Jildor Shoes). Alice knows that making healthy choices is not always easy as she has been through the struggle herself. For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya approved products) food line, please visit nutritionbytanya.com or call 844-Tanya-Diet (844-826-9234). For daily tips and inspiration, follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram. Our beautiful and healthy new cookbook, Cooking with Tanya, is now available in Judaica stores or through the Menucha Publishing website.