Passover is literally around the corner, beginning in the next couple days. The eight-day holiday begins officially on Monday night, when we celebrate the Jewish people being liberated from Egypt — a holiday when friends and family join together for Seders and so many more meals.
All year long, we struggle to make heart-healthy food choices, whether trying to lose weight, maintain weight, control high blood pressure, lower cholesterol or improve blood sugar. All year long we are careful about how much fat is added to recipes, how much sugar is used to sweeten coffee and tea. So, the fifth question of the Seder should be, “Why on Passover does all the healthy eating have to be abandoned?”
Does it? Absolutely not!
Enjoying Passover in a healthy way does not mean that you need to compromise the foods and traditions that you hold so near and dear. With proper planning and recipe modification, Passover recipes can be lower in fat, healthy and delicious.
Here are some hints to help in your quest for recipe modification while maintaining taste:
It is easy to reduce the fat and calories in matzah lasagna and matzah pizza by using low-fat and reduced-fat milk, cheese and any dairy products. Once cheese is melted, the taste difference disappears.
* If any recipe calls for lots of eggs, replace full eggs with egg whites. Two egg whites equal one whole egg. If a recipe calls for two whole eggs, use one whole egg and two egg whites.
Most recipes can be adjusted when it comes to the sodium content. Where does the sodium come from? Instant soups, bouillon cubes and some condiments contribute excessive amounts of sodium to recipes. Get creative with spices, garlic and lemon juice.
Many recipes call for a large amount of oil. Cut back on the oil, and you can substitute equal amounts of oil for applesauce and still get a moist product. Also, use olive oil as a good source of monounsaturated fat and safflower oil as a good source of polyunsaturated fat. Both are excellent heart-healthy oils, but at the same time do not forget about controlling the amount.
Here is one of my favorite recipes that I use all year round, and it fits the bill that I use for a good recipe. It makes a large amount, a large 9×12 pan. It is so easy, as you only need a food processor and bowl to mix. It is also colorful, a beautiful orange. And, just as important, it is healthy.
For dessert, there are certainly so many high-sugar and high-fat choices that taste delicious. But what could be more delightful, healthy and easy than baked apples, homemade applesauce and poached pears? Just a thought.
So have a wonderful, joyous Passover, and enjoy the holiday. It does only come around once a year, but take the challenge to cook not only delicious, but also healthy.
Sweet Potato and Carrot Kugel
An alternative to the traditional tzimmes; the shredding and slicing all can be done in a food processor
6 cups shredded raw sweet potato
4 cups shredded carrots
2 cups thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples (I leave the peel on)
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup matzo meal (this was in the original recipe that is what made me think about Passover)
Combine and pour into 9×12 casserole. Cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned. It will become a wonderfully sweet healthy dish full of vitamins and fiber and not too much fat or sugar. Once you make this and share it with your family on Passover, I know you will consider making it for all year round, Thanksgiving and Sukkot.
Adriane Kozlovsky, MS, RD, LD, is a licensed registered dietitian who has offered healthy-eating counseling services to the Baltimore community for more than 25 years. Kozlovsky’s services include work in medical facilities,
hospitals, corporate settings and nonprofits. She can be reached at 410-870-5433, firstname.lastname@example.org or by visitingchailifenutritionforu.com.