This year the first holiday portion of Passover will begin on Monday night, March 29th, 2010 (check your calendars for local times).
Although Passover stands for the birth of our people as a nation, it is also a very appropriate time for personal renewal. Let us welcome the springtime this year with a more determined commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Considering the alarming medical facts, preventative health measures are absolutely critical for our own lives and the future of our families.
Passover preparation can be overwhelming and to many, adhering to a healthy regimen during the holiday can seem as challenging as crossing the Red Sea! Whether at home or away from home—there are nutritional advantages and disadvantages to being at home and or to being in a hotel. Wherever you are, you can make the correct choices that make your
Passover a Diabetes nutritional success or disaster!
When away from home-all you have to do is mostly control yourself while you’re being served. If something is really tempting-have a taste and then forget about it-take advantage of the free time, have fun, relax and enjoy!
Whether staying at home, entertaining or preparing food to take along as a guest, healthy menu planning for Passover can seem daunting to say the least! However, equipped with leading-edge nutritional information, basic skills and a cache of Passover recipes, this year we can really sail through.
Our eating requirements are intimately bound up with our religion, culture, and ethnic identity. A Jewish person with diabetes or any medical related food challenge needs to learn how to navigate their way through all these eating opportunities, and stay in control.
Go and try to explain to a doctor why you absolutely have to have 4 cups of wine at one meal and a given amount of matzah! It is important to explain that this night of tradition is very important and that being able to participate and live a normal life is important to you–review the guide lines with your health care professional.
We are living in a time when, according to alarming new findings from the National Institute of Health, as many as a third of American adults with type 2 diabetes do not even know that they have the disease. There is increasing evidence that ethnic groups are at even higher risk than the general population.
With the re-construction of the food pyramid guidelines, and the information available about the glycemic index, we are now in a much better position to upgrade our daily diets.
So how do we put this information to work for us on Passover?
Tips to Help Get through Passover Preparation, the Holiday and Beyond
Good substitutes for High Carb potatoes:
Kohlrabi in soup and meat stews is great – in place of fried or mashed potatoes try zucchini strips (or other vegetables) either roasted in the oven with good seasonings, non-stick spray and/or in a non-stick pan. For a mashed potato effect without the high carb content, string beans or broccoli and cauliflower are great substitutes.
Don’t sacrifice Exercise time:
One of the beautiful parts of holidays is the family quality time that it provides us. Make walks a part of that quality time – it is the beginning of spring – the flowers are blooming the birds are chirping – put your cell phones away and take walks-even 15-20 minute ones – with your kids or friends – you’ll come back invigorated and ready to continue working.
Never Eat Standing Up and Be Mindful about Mindless Eating:
You grab a handful of whatever…. without taking it in to account. While cooking you taste the cakes, dessert, sauce etc and/or dig into a few bites of your hubby’s/children’s dessert. Unfortunately, these little, hidden indulgences add up to “weighty matters” on the scale.
Be A Healthy Mom and Set Good Examples:
You love fish, veggies. Your hubby loves meat and potatoes. What gives? Your man wins, hands down. Always looking to please the kids with hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries and they win out every time – these habits are easy to fall in to especially during stressful times and when preparing for an important and busy holiday like Passover-unless you put on the brakes it can lead to trouble for everyone. Others around you will watch what you’re eating and take the example. If they see you take the time out to have a normal meal and get in some exercise they will only respect you more.
Be Honest about what you are eating:
“Most people are oblivious, not realistic or totally and drastically underestimate the number of calories they eat,” says Cohen. We downplay our intake and play up our cardio workout. Know what you are eating and how much you are really exercising. There’s a lot of take out and restaurant eating during Passover preparation, especially the week prior to the Holiday, and with restaurant portion sizes on the rise, many of us have no concept of a “standard” USDA serving size. Eating out is OK just make wise choices and always go for a salad with dressing on the side or better yet a drizzle of olive oil and spritz of lemon is just fine. Cut out the fried foods and end with fresh fruit and you’ll be happier and healthier.
Watch your Portion Sizes/Double up on Fresh Veggies and Low Glycemic Fruits: If you do nothing more than double your current intake of low glycemic fruits and vegetables, you’ll be on your way to eating well. Go for smaller portions; if something is really calling you try a mint, some gum and sometimes just having a small amount will help you get by. But keep an eye on the portion sizes and read labels. Stock up on good quality ingredients-the better your food tastes the happier everyone will be.
Don’t Start Off Without a Plan:
It’s easy to overeat if you don’t have a road map specifying your diet and exercise goals. Take the time to plan your menus-shopping lists and all. Prior to the holiday make sure you have your healthy finger foods around and don’t skip meals. We always advocate keeping a food diary, prior to the holiday when things get really hectic that might be the one thing you can give up on but don’t compromise on your determination. Set measurable, attainable goals and reward yourself for sticking to them. Make sure you have really gourmet beautiful dishes that you can healthfully indulge in. Guaranteed most of your guests won’t believe they are healthy dishes and if you have something special for yourself, prepare extra because there will be more people at the table clambering for it.
I’m Moody — Let’s Eat:
People tend to turn to food for comfort when they are tires and/or over extended (falling apart). Eating will not solve problems.
When you start getting cranky-head out of the kitchen-take a nap—go for a walk, have a delicious herbal tea, maybe a few nuts and/or small fruit, some deep breadths and just relax, then get back to work.
Give Me the Quick Fix, Now!
We’ve all fallen prey to the latest fad diet, downing gallons of cabbage soup, eating nothing but grapefruit or loading up on eggs and high fat protein. The end result is always the same: We gain the weight back and then some.
Don’t be an All-or-Nothing Person:
If you ate a plate of fries, you might feel like you’ve blown it. But don’t let one setback completely derail you. Instead, focus on baby steps and reward yourself along the way.
Cut Simple Carbs & Fats Wherever You Can:
If you have a craving for some simple sugars look at some of our suggestions above. Any carbs you cut out is a penny earned. Go for the healthy satisfying fats like nuts, avocado etc they are satisfying for a longer time span…but watch the portion sizes. Grape juice is one simple carb that really gets used over Passover. Think about preparing a good quality dry or semi dry wine. Try to get whole-wheat matzo—the fiber will help keep you satisfied and more.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses:
Whether it’s a sluggish metabolism, lack of time or a dysfunctional thyroid, we’re masters of coming up with excuses. Change your outlook, believe you can watch yourself and get through this Holiday nutritionally sound (make the time, decompress, whatever) and set priorities accordingly.
WALK, WALK, WALK!
If you encounter a mob at the supermarket, things are getting out of hand at home, your becoming overwhelmed……Whenever you can get in 10-15 minutes of brisk walking go for it—remember it’s spring the air is crisp, the birds are chirping, leave your cell phone at home or in the car and enjoy! Remember that this is one of the most monumental and important holidays, make it memorable for yourself and everyone around you, make it the best you can!
WHEN YOU ARE EXHAUSTED SLEEP DON’T EAT!