Shavuos, the Yom Tov on which we renew our commitment to the Torah we accepted at Har Sinai, is my favorite holiday. Intense spirituality (with no intense cleaning required beforehand), warm weather and beautiful flowers everywhere – what’s not to love? The only negative is trying to resist the exceedingly caloric, heart-stopping, artery-clogging, deliciously decadent cheesecake! The good news is that there are many other delectable yet nutritious options available. Try to limit the consumption of high-fat, high-calorie dairy products and opt for alternatives, such as:
1 Fish: If you love fish, then youíre in luck. Fish is a very healthy protein and is easy to digest. The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish help lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Ossieís Fish carries many pre-seasoned and/or pre-cooked fish that can cut down on your prep time.
2Sushi: For you non-fish lovers, try vegetable sushi, but opt for the brown rice version, and avoid the fried rolls! Try the “Aliza Beer rollî at Simply Sushi for a lower carb option.
Fruits/Veggies: Prepare a salad and/or cooked veggies at every meal, and fill half your plate with these low-calorie, highly nutritious foods. They also make great snacks between meals as do peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and other kinds of delicious summer fruit. Full of vitamins, fruit is natureís candy. Today, there is a growing selection of organic fruit on the market as well. (Be sure to check out the organic cart in Gourmet Glattís produce department.)
4 Soup: Try a cup of cold fruit soup or a veggie soup like cauliflower, zucchini, or broccoli. Prepare them sans cream or flour, and they will make you feel full.
5Diet Vegetable Kugels/Souffles: Take your favorite vegetable kugel recipe and eliminate/reduce the egg yolks, use low fat mayo, and pass on the cheese — and you have a low fat, parve option to high-fat, cheesy, creamy quiches.
6 Dessert: Frozen yogurt and sorbet are much lower in fat and calories than cheesecake, and they make a perfect warm weather dessert alternative. Remember: A regular slice of cheesecake can contain as many as 700 calories! Thatís without chocolate or graham crust, which can easily add another 300-400 calories.
7 Water: Numerous studies have shown that drinking 1-2 cups of water before each meal effectively reduces the amount of food you consume. Avoid sugary juices and sodas, and drink flavored seltzer/water instead.
8 Low-fat/Nonfat Cheeses or Tofu: Cut down on the calories and fat by using lower calorie/lower fat options for your dairy dishes.
9 Exercise: Try to fit in a few walks over Yom Tov. Cooking, serving, and cleaning may be hard work, but those activities are not exercise. The more you move, the more you will burn.
10 Whole Wheat/Brown Rice Pasta: Try whole wheat or brown rice pasta versions of your lasagna or macaroni and cheese dishes. For your carb side dishes, choose quinoa instead of rice for a lower glycemic option that contains protein too. Use sweet potatoes for your fries instead of white potatoes, and bake them–never fry!
Although dairy is high in calcium, it typically contains great amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. So eat cheese blintzes, quiches, cheesecake, and other high- calorie, high-fat foods in moderation, and double up on your veggies, not your lasagna.
Aliza Beer M.S.,R.D. is a registered dietitian with a Masterís degree in nutrition. Aliza has a private practice in Cedarhurst, but has many clients throughout the US and Israel whom she works with via email/phone. Aliza treats children, adolescents, and adults for a variety of issues including, but not limited to, weight loss, diabetes, gestational diabetes, high cholesterol, celiac, food allergies, and GI issues (Chrohnís, IBS, etc.). Aliza has a dietetic food line in Gourmet Glatt, including ready to serve dinners, salads, wraps, soups, and side dishes. She also has approved dietetic kugels/soufles, and appetizing at Schwartzís Appetizing, and sushi rolls at Simply Sushi.
Patients’ success has been featured on the Dr. Oz show. Aliza can be reached at Alizabeer@gmail.com.