Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) is continuing his campaign for a healthier eating lifestyle, and on Sunday called to find a healthy alternative to the jelly doughnuts which are customarily eaten during the holiday of Hanukkah.
Speaking during a conference on a healthy lifestyle in Herzliyah, Litzman said, "I urge the public to avoid eating fat-rich doughnuts," adding that it is possible to find healthy alternatives to doughnuts.
"One can find healthy replacements for everything today, and there is no need to feed our kids doughnuts that are incompatible with the values of health and proper nutrition," he said.
"When I called to avoid eating McDonald's, people thought I was crazy. Maybe I should not have specified the name of the company. I meant junk food in general. Today I would say: Doughnuts out. You can eat some of course, as it’s one of the customs of the holiday, but there are also alternatives,” continued Minister Litzman.
Since becoming Health Minister, Litzman has advocated for healthier eating. Several weeks ago he introduced a plan for new regulations to promote healthy nutrition in Israel.
The plan includes the requirement that all food products carry a green or red sticker indicating whether they are a healthy food or not and specifying the level of health risk associated with the ingredients.
In the first stage of the plan, which will begin next year, red stickers will be assigned to foods containing - in 100 grams – more than 800 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of sugar, or 6 grams of saturated fat.
Later on, the criteria will be tightened, and salty cheeses, children’s cereals, sauces such as ketchup, snacks, sweets, and processed meat products will have to carry the red sticker.
Prior to this, Litzman banned the distribution of "shoko", sugar-filled chocolate milk, at Israeli schools.
Israeli schools have traditionally distributed the small plastic bags in which the popular chocolate milk is sold to students as part of snacks or lunches, or as rewards.
“We Israelis are among the worst in sugar consumption, and fourth or fifth in child obesity rates [in the world],” Litzman said at a conference on children’s health in Tel Aviv. “This must be stopped, we have to stop giving our children this garbage. It is detrimental to the health of our youngsters. I will make sure that this is no longer distributed in schools.”