Purim is over and Pesach is almost here. It may have been hard to make good food choices on Purim, but a temporary dietary derailment doesn’t have to become a runaway nutritional train. With proper planning, you can enjoy your favorite Pesach foods without packing on the pounds.
Here are a few tips for keeping the weight gain at bay:
1Exercise portion control. It’s no fun to feel deprived on Yom Tov–so indulge the occasional high calorie craving, but only in small quantities. Portion size is the secret to maintaining a healthy weight.
2Don’t eat it all. Despite what you may have been told as a child, it is okay to leave some food on your plate. Munch on fruits and vegetables if you get hungry later on. And remember itís Yom Tov; youíll be sitting at the table again before you know it.
3Keep fried, fatty foods to a minimum. Eating too much fried food will not only pile on the calories, it can result in feelings of sluggishness, indigestion and heartburn. Opt for grilled, roasted or baked foods. Even healthy oils (like olive oil) should be used in moderation; a little goes a long way.
4Fiber up! Fiber fills you up, not out! This magic food component not only helps keep you thin by preventing overeating, itís been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and lower the risk of diabetes and cancer. Good sources of fiber include whole-wheat matzah, fruits (such as apples, avocado, berries, dried fruit, kiwi, oranges, pears and prunes) and vegetables (such as cabbage, carrots, eggplant, peppers, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower).
5Watch the Clock. Timing does matter; your body will use the extra calories more efficiently after a lunch meal than it will after dinner. So eat heavy or calorie-dense foods earlier in the day, and go easy at the night meals.
6Be a smart dresser. If you wear loose, comfy clothing at meals, you are more likely to overeat. In fitted clothing, youíll be more aware of how much youíre actually eating, making it easier to refuse second and third helpings.
7Walk it off. A brisk walk after a meal has several significant benefits. Not only will it make you feel more energized, speed up your metabolic rate and help reduce acid reflux and heartburn–it will keep you out of the kitchen and away from the leftover dessert.
Shani Goldner is a registered dietitian and a CDN with a Masterís of Science. She runs a private nutrition practice where she counsels children, adolescents and adults in weight loss, diabetes, PCOS, hypertension, cardiovascular health and cancer related nutrition. She has a practice in Long Island, Brooklyn and Williamsburg. She can be reached at (718) 854-5784 or (516) 239-3784. Phone consults are available. For more information, visit her website at www.mynydiet.com