Healthy & Kosher


How To Eat Healthy Through the High Holidays


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You might be able to eat balanced and healthy meals all year- it might be easier for you to control ingredients and portions during the week but there is something about the holidays that lends itself to a yearly self fulfilling prophecy of overeating and weight gain. It does not have to be that way! We have to prevent it from spiraling into an overindulgence that negates the hard work you do eating healthy all year. It is important to accept that the food and eating over yomtov should, and is going to be different than every day and even shabbos but that does not mean that you can’t make choices and prioritize what is most important to you.

There are certain foods that we don’t want to say no to because it wouldn’t be a holiday without them- so eat them, and enjoy them but if you are choosing that, sacrifice another. You love your grandmother’s honey cake so eat it! Have a piece and enjoy it but prioritize, for example, “I would rather have the cake than potato kugel at my meal”. Make your indulgences worth your while. I have a client that loves chocolate but she only allows herself to have it if she is sitting down with a cup of tea. She makes sure its not simply a Hershey’s, this way when she has a treat it truly feels like a conscious decision instead of a regrettable impulse. No-one wants to hear about how fat you are, how full you are, how nautious you are from the way that you ate.   Eat and enjoy with these healthy holiday strategies in your back pocket.


Get Cooking With Your Kids


Many parents find it challenging to incorporate nutritious, well-balanced meals into their children’s diets. They complain that their kids want the same thing for dinner every night or that the only vegetables they eat are peas and corn. It can be difficult for parents to work on improving their children’s diets day in and day out, but teaching children healthy eating behaviors at a young age is essential.

As a dietitian and nutritionist, I get so much enjoyment from seeing the interest and excitement that children have when it comes to food. Teaching them at a young age about nutrition, where food comes from, and how to use food is a very important part of child development. Research has shown that cooking with kids and assigning them tasks surrounding mealtime promotes independence and a sense of responsibility. It also encourages them to build their strengths wherever they are in the course of development – coordination, use of utensils, and learning about foods and certain kitchen objects. As kids get older, cooking with them is a great way to reinforce subjects that they are learning in school, such as math and science. Another amazing benefit of cooking with kids is that they tend to be more excited to try a new food or dish that they helped make than something you just put in front of them. And if these aren’t enough reasons to start cooking with your kids, focus on the fact that it is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy!


Frozen Cocktail Recipes That Are Good For You


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Is there anything better than a frozen drink on a hot sunny day while lounging at the pool?  It just screams: SUMMER!  But did you ever read the label on some of those drink mixes (high fructose corn syrup, yellow 5, blue 1, etc.)  Yuck!  I think I found my dietitian mission: to create a healthy, great tasting frozen cocktail without all the unnecessary artificial colors, flavors and sugar.  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it…

Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy blueberries, strawberries, peaches and mangos, but sometimes you just can’t finish what you bought at the store or farmer’s market.  For years, I’ve been freezing my leftover fresh fruit to use in yogurt smoothies, but until recently, I never tried using frozen fruit in my cocktails.


Goodbye Mr. Potato Chips, Hello Veggie Chips


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You can’t eat just one.  Staring at the empty bag of potato chips in my lap and the crumbs all over my couch, I knew there had to be a smarter way to snack.  The average serving of potato chips has 150 calories, but if you’re like most people you are eating three times the average serving. And all you have to show for it is an empty bag and over 30 grams of fat that will go straight to your waist.

Maybe it’s time to change your chip?  Making your own baked vegetable chips takes just a couple of minutes to prepare and will be a family favorite — especially for finicky kids.   Root vegetables, like kohlrabi and acorn squash, are fantastic and all you need is a sharp knife, olive oil and your favorite seasonings.  Favorites such as carrots and zucchini work well too and pair well with a Greek  tzatziki or yogurt sauce for delicious dipping.


Healthy Gluten-Free Snacks for Summer


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Warm weather + fun in the sun = summer!   Summer is such a wonderful time of year.  We spend more time outdoors, the days are longer, school is out and we tend to feel more relaxed.  We also indulge in more picnics, snack times and other potential pitfalls to nutritious eating.

There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. If you are like me, you probably enjoy snacks.  Let me take it one step further and say I enjoy snacks daily.  In my opinion, the key to a healthy lifestyle does include snacks.  As a certified health and wellness coach it is my job to educate clients on exactly what constitutes a healthy snack. The 5 essential things to keep in mind for a healthy snack are:


Eating Your Way to a Healthier Heart (The...



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Heart disease is no laughing matter. I know this from experience. Last year, a month prior to Passover, my husband had a minor heart attack. What began as seemingly innocent heartburn pain turned into 100% artery blockage and a diagnosis of myocardial infarction. Luckily for us, the minor vessel was cleared and my husband had a great prognosis.

With such a diagnosis comes dietary changes. Since we were so close to Passover and I, of course, insisted on hosting not one, but two Passover seders, it was my job as a wife, hostess and dietitian to alter the menu to meet my husband’s dietary restrictions. I pondered how to host a seder without the traditional fare, brisket included. After much debate, I decided on a brisket which I trimmed clean of all the offending fat. In light of the recent circumstances, it really did not feel 100% “kosher” to be making brisket part of our holiday meal. Despite my misgivings, the five pound brisket was placed in the top oven to roast for the requisite 4-5 hours. Whether it was divine intervention or sheer stupidity on my part, the brisket pan slid from the oven and proceeded to land on my arm. It took an ER visit, second degree burns, a cancelled seder and $50 worth of lost meat for me to realize that red meat was no longer an option for our family.


Phenomenal Kosher Fish Salads


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I rarely mind cooking, in fact I love to cook, whether it’s wintery cold outside or blazingly hot. But when the temperature climbs above 80 degrees, what I make for dinner changes. It has to be easy on me and easy on the digestion.

I’m fortunate that my husband loves or pretends to love or at least accepts without complaint (most of the time) whatever I cook for him. When summer comes around and I serve salad a few times a week, he eats it up as happily as he feasts on stew in January.


Cheese To Your Health


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The holiday of Shavuot is fast approaching.   If you are a type A personality your menu has been planned for weeks…  And if you are not, there is still some time and some great ideas.  So ditch the chicken and chuck the cholent!  It is time to think outside the meat box and start spinning the cheese wheel.

Dairy might be good for our bones but is it good for our bodies? The dairy food group is the number 2 source of saturated fat and cholesterol in the American diet (after meat).   And if you are concerned about sodium (and we all should be) a slice of cheese pizza can pack as much as 900 mg of sodium – almost half your recommended daily intake.  On the plus side, cheese is an excellent source of high quality protein and calcium.  Cheese also contains vitamins, A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorous and zinc.


Spectacular Salmon


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When I was growing up my parents used to only buy salmon steaks.  I didn’t even know salmon fillet existed.  Now salmon is practically everywhere!  From fish displays at the grocery store to restaurant menus and the now ubiquitous sushi counter, you have to swim pretty fast upstream to run away from salmon.  Not only does it taste great, but it is relatively affordable, easy to prepare and a healthy alternative to red meat.

Salmon is a high quality protein source that is low in saturated fat and has the added bonus of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 is one of only 2 essential fatty acids in our diet (along with Omega-6), which means our body cannot produce these fatty acids organically. Omega-3 plays an important role in brain function and structure, as well as bone and nervous system growth and development.  They have also been found to help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can decrease risk for heart disease.  Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help control inflammation, decreasing the risk for diabetes, arthritis, and even some cancers.   The USDA recommends at least 8 ounces of fish per week, equivalent to two standard size servings.   And if you prefer staring at the mirror instead of your dinner plate, you can take additional comfort to know that salmon is good for your skin.


Why We Eat Whole Wheat Matzo for Passover


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On all other nights I eat whole wheat bread, but on Pesach I eat whole wheat matzo.  Here’s my story…

My family switched to whole wheat bread a long time ago. I don’t really remember white bread in our house. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a nice baguette or focaccia when I am at a café or restaurant, but for everyday sandwiches I always choose whole wheat. Why should Passover be any different?


Gluten Free Isn’t a Walk in the Desert Anymore


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Matzo shmeared with deliciously fluffy cream cheese and some sweet preserves or jam is what Passover food means to me. That, and, of course, matzo pizza delicately baked and devoured within minutes. I haven’t been observing Passover long enough to really loathe the classic Passover treats, so I tend to find a sort of misplaced joy in these once-a-year concoctions. All of that changed, however, last year after I spent the entire week of Passover sick with stomach cramps and aches. No matter how much or how little matzo or matzo by-products I ate, I felt rotten. For the first time in several years, I really learned to suffer through Passover.

After a test, some advice, attempting to give up other foods (like dairy and coffee), and a huge decision, I decided that a gluten-free diet was the best way to feel better. In the simplest terms possible, that means the five grains that Jews so cherish — barley, oats, rye, spelt, and wheat — became off limits to me. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and, according to some, oats. (I haven’t had problems with oats, so I purchase gluten-free oats, which are sold by Bob’s Red Mill.) Many of those who hold to a gluten-free diet have Celiac Disease, but there also are individuals who have found relief from IBS and other gastrointestinal woes. Although I took the gluten-free plunge before finding out if I officially have Celiac Disease, I haven’t looked back and over the past year have been feeling better and better. And no matter what anyone tells you — it is not as bad as it sounds. Believe me, you can live without challah, not to mention barley in your cholent (rice makes a great substitute, as does quinoa).


The Benefits of Fiber in Quinoa



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All signs point to Spring: the sun is shining brightly, trees are awash in their leafy splendor and, most notably, boxes of Matzo begin to line most supermarket shelves. As a child, I always looked forward to Passover. It meant Seder dinner with Nana’s stove-top apple kugel and nut cake, Afikomen prizes, chocolate lollipops and vacation from school.  Even the dreaded Matzo was a treat; when shmeared with whipped cream cheese, it became an instant delight. Passover represented a rare departure from the everyday way of eating; snacks that were a rare treat were the norm for Passover week. I never understood why the adults grumbled and groaned about the preparation and food doldrums. As a married mother of two and full time Dietitian, I can finally appreciate how truly beautiful and difficult this holiday can be – especially when trying to maintain a healthy diet.

While it is possible to maintain a varied and healthy intake during Passover, it is more difficult to include high fiber foods. The use of whole grains is forbidden and the majority of our Passover intake includes foods made from matzo and matzo meal.


Health Benefits of Yogurt – Win Chobani...


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Yogurt is one of my family’s favorite “go to” foods. I blend it with frozen fruit for a quick breakfast smoothie, pack it with a granola bar and fresh fruit for lunch and I use it in the summer as a base for a popsicle or to make tart frozen yogurt.  Rich in calcium, protein and other healthful nutrients, yogurt really packs a punch.

Yogurt can also be a fantastic source of probiotics, look for live and active cultures written on the label.  Probiotics are “good” bacteria that your body actually needs. Based on the strain, probiotics have been shown to increase immunity and improve digestion. Greek yogurt is typically strained of excess liquid, creating a thicker texture that is very popular right now.


How to Lose Weight on (and After) Purim


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Erma Bombeck once said, “I’ve been on a diet for the last two decades.  I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds.  By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet!”  With Purim just around the corner, here are a few tips and tricks to have fun, without all the fat.

As you instinctively reach for a hamentasch on Purim morning, do you find yourself thinking: It’s okay to stray from my eating plan because: “I’m celebrating” or “I really want it, everyone else is eating it” or “it’s only a little piece, I’ll make up for it later.”  The reality is that the food in front of you tempts you to try it and eating generates immediate rewards (and other “gains” as well), while the rewards from watching what you eat might take weeks, months or even years!


Secrets to Popping the Perfect Popcorn – WIN...


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My relationship with popcorn started innocently enough.  When I was younger, I began seeing Orville Redenbacher.  As I grew older, I discovered Paul Newman. He was hard to let go of, but over the past couple of years I found new varietals popping up in the grocery store and farmer’s market.  With names like Autumn Blaze, Sunset Fire, Blue Heron and Black Hills, popcorn has gone gourmet.

Popcorn varieties are broadly categorized by either the shape or color of the kernels, or the shape of the popped corn.  While the kernels may come in a variety of colors, the popped corn is always off-yellow or white.  According to the Star-K, raw kernels do not require kosher certification.