The Flexible Passover Diet: A Year Round Trend?

As Passover winds down, almost everyone I know is getting excited about eating bagels again. I must admit, though, I’m just getting the hang of the Passover diet. Heck, I’m actually kind of bummed that the holiday is almost over. To clue you in, just in case I’ve already lost you, Passover is one of the biggest festivals in the Jewish calendar. It lasts eight days and during that time we don’t eat grains (other than Matza, which is an unleavened flatbread) or legumes. So, meals are usually based on an abundance of vegetables and protein. Sounds healthy right? Kind of like a Paleo diet? Well, sort of, in theory. That’s assuming you avoid the fake bread and packaged/processed (and not even that yummy) cookies, cakes and sweets. Oh, also, you would have to avoid Matza like the plague.

But Passover can be a great way to ease into a healthier way of eating. In my house we basically enjoy a week full of eggs, smoothies, chicken, fish, beef, grilled veggies, salads, sweet potatoes, quinoa, nuts, and seeds (OK, and chocolate and special treats on occasion too). Sounds like a decent diet right?  Almost. I’m missing some staples, like tahini, hummus and rice, which I cannot wait to add back into our meal plans when things return to normal next week.

If you are celebrating Passover like me, or if you just want to take a step toward eating healthier and feeling amazing, I’ve come up with a list of food items to keep, cut, and add to your Passover diet so you can easily keep it up year round. My favorite part of the holiday, beyond all else, is the limited options available in my cupboard. We just eat less when there’s less to choose from.

Don’t pass on the opportunity to eat like it’s Passover all year round. Just add back the good stuff, cut out the bad stuff, and focus on a diet high in vegetables and lean proteins. Plus, don’t forget to indulge on occasion!

Protein

Keep: lean cuts of beef, antibiotic-free chicken, fish
Cut: high-fat beef cuts, broiled meats, processed meats
Add: organic tofu, organic soybeans. Try my favorite tofu croutons.

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Fruits and veggies

Keep: all things fresh
Cut: enjoy fruit only in moderation – remember it’s still sugar!
Add: eat more vegetables!

Nuts and seeds

Keep: raw nuts
Cut: roasted and processed nuts – keep your servings palm size
Add: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini and try dehydrating your nuts – here’s my favorite way.

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Carbs and legumes

Keep: sweet potatoes, quinoa
Cut: matza, bread, too many potatoes
Add: rice in moderation, oats in moderation, chickpeas

Desserts

Keep: almond flour based cakes, paleo treats, dark chocolate
Cut: too much white sugar, cream, and all gluten based desserts
Add: a moderate approach to desserts – say yes once in a while and savor each bite – here’s a good one

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