Hannukah is the festival in which we celebrate the miracle of oil and light. It is traditional to eat lots of foods cooked with oil to commemorate the miracel of the holiday - but that doesn’t mean that one has to put on the pounds.
Susie Fishbein, renowned author of the “Kosher by Design” Cookbook series, shared some of her cooking and baking insights with Arutz Sheva, and gave us some tips about how to make it through the holiday in healthy yet well-fed manner.
“A person can get through the holidays without adding on extra pounds by being extremely cognizant of their behaviors all day. It's Hannukah and you should enjoy a sufganiyah (jelly donut) or other treat but plan for it all day. Keep that calorie load in your mind and eat low calorie foods the rest if the day. Focus on protein and fiber rich foods to keep you full and drink a lot of water. At the right time, indulge and have that donut with your family.”
In addition to being calorie conscious, Fishbein suggested a few healthy alternatives to some of the more traditional and fattening holiday foods.
“The Hannukah tradition is to celebrate with oil. That doesn't mean deep fried foods only. Use oil in creative ways. Make basil oil or chili oil and drizzle your plate with it, squiggle some gorgeous olive oil over your hearty soup, use it as a teachable moment to point out to your kids why you are using oils. Cheese is another Hannukah food, focus on some great cheeses.”
By utilizing these two methodologies, people can let go of the worry, and the need to diet before, or after the holiday.
However, While these may work for individuals, social occasions are a different and trickier matter. One may find themselves at a house party or family-get-together where healthy food items are not always available. Also, while hosting such a party, a person may feel obligated to prepare some of the more traditional deep fried foods such as latkes of sufganiyot (donuts). Fishbein had a word of advice regarding those situations as well.
“The party answer again goes to balance. Pick one or two fun Hannukah specialities like latkes, or fried beignets and make them and then make the rest of the meal healthy. The key is in the planning. Write it down so you can see if it makes sense and so you don't overplan.” The same holds true for eating. Keeping things in balance is the key.
Fishbein finished off with some suggestions of kid-friendly foods that would keep the youngin’s coming back for more, but would also be healthy choices for parents.
“Quinoa pizza bites are a kid friendly healthy food that uses cheese. Another idea would be to set up a grilled cheese station.”
Cheeses are the key when trying to make healthy snack choices that kids would love, she said.
“Cheese panini press, mixed with an assortment of breads,” is one healthy and fun option that Fishebin suggested. another would be “purchasing some fun cheeses, such as green basil cheese from Mahane Yehuda, and letting the kids design their own grilled cheese sandwiches.”
While Hannukah is a time of merriment and celebration, following some of these suggestions will help make it a time of 'light-weightedness' as well as light-heartedness for all involved.
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy Hannukah!