100 lb. Club - Pesach approaches

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03-11-2008, 05:29 PM
(Well, no, we've got a month and a half, but still...)

I was in the grocery today and the Passover stuff was out there on display, and all I could think was, "Help!"

So, I have come to the collective wisdom of 3FC. For those who celebrate, how do you deal with Pesach?

I'm not looking for recipes or substitution ideas; really what I'm looking for is how to get through a week that's entirely focused on food. The seders themselves are going to be a tremendous challenge. How am I going to say "no" to mom's carrot pudding and noodle pudding and bubbe's mandel bread? The thing is, I don't think I'm going to want to say no. I eat these things once or twice a year, and I love them.

Do you turn down the egg? Can you turn down the charoset? Do you nurse one glass of wine for the whole meal? Is there any such thing at all as moderation when it comes to Pesach?

In other words, help!


03-11-2008, 08:11 PM
I hope you don't mind me popping into this thread...the title caught my eye. Pesach used to be the most difficult holiday for me food wise - I'm sure you understand why. I used to easily gain 5lbs no problem. I think it's because I used to give myself permission to just go nuts for 8 days. It's harder to eat healthy, or so I used to think.

For me, it's all about portion control and accepting that while I may eat some different foods and more at some meals (Seders!), that didn't mean that I had to write off the entire holiday!

I think I used to be so afraid that I would starve at school/work because I couldn't buy anything, that I would bring so much food and so many leftovers that the "bad eating" would go on and on.

I know that I have to taste all my favourites. Like you said if you only get something once or twice a year, how can you say no? Maybe try to have a realistic goal that says you won't gain weight during Pesach. That should stop you from going all out but still allow you to enjoy a bit.

I splurge a bit at the Seders and then I try to cut right back to more normal food. I can still eat cottage cheese, eggs, egg whites, fruit, veggies, tuna, salads, chicken etc. during the week. I don't need to eat brisket and potatoes for three days! If I eat leftovers, I manage the portions. If I'm starving at work, I could buy some fruit. I don't bring matzoh to work like I used to. Waste of calories for me.

My friends make fun of me but I keep a list of everything that I buy every year and everything that we eat so that I can remind myself of what the healthy options are.

After all this, yes I do still worry about my weight this time of year. It can be very tough!! Maybe we should keep this thread going...I'd love to hear others' ideas on what they eat to stay on track.

Oh, and I wish my stores had their food out already. That doesn't usually happen here until after Purim.

sorry about the rambling...hope this helped!


03-11-2008, 10:50 PM
Hi Lisa. I had a GREAT Pesach last year while losing. I really shocked myself.

For the seder meal, I had plain chicken soup. Apricot chicken and lots of veggies, like brussel sprouts and asparagus. I did completely avoid the wine though. And shhh... the matzo too.

And I didn't eat matzo at all the entire week. I LOVE matzo and butter, in fact it is the only time I ever ate butter. I used to eat boards of it at a time. But I was not willing to gain during the holiday, so I made the choice to do without it all together.

During the week it was egg white omlettes with sauteed veggies for breakfast. Tuna or salmon for lunch with lots of cauliflower. Dinners were chicken breasts and more veggies. Lots of salads too. LOTS. Israeli salad, hearts of palm/tomato/avocado salad, and a spinach/romaine hearts/mango/strawberry salad with balsamic vinegar.

I think you may need to set up some rules for yourself as to what you will and will not eat. HAVE A PLAN IN MIND. Don't leave it til you get there. Maybe one night you will have one "off" item. The second night a different item. But really, really keep to it. And only have one piece of each. Set limits for yourself. Load up on the salads and veggies. They're yummy too.

When the holiday is over and done with, and you haven't gained, you will be thrilled beyond belief.

Elisa, I also keep a list from year to year. I can tell you just how much matzo meal and matzo we went through. I can also tell you my exact menu, as I've got that written down. I can tell you which items were a hit and which weren't. I made many photo copies of my Pesach shoppng list and add and subtract to it every year.

I am worried about my weight as the holiday season approaches. Purim is just a week away.......... And Pesach right behind it...........

I am just getting over a slight gain, (almost back down to ticker weight :carrot:) and at this point I just don't want to overindulge at all. Leaving doors open for me is NOT good. We shall see. I'd love to keep this thread going. Could definitely use some accountability.

03-12-2008, 02:58 AM
I'm going to indulge in my favorites on one occasion each. For me mostly it will be on my yearly seder night. Beyond that, I will eat matzo brei one day, and that is it. The rest of the week will be my regular foods. No matzo on an ongoing basis because it kills me. I have to have it with butter, and just like bread made with white flour, it just means more, more, more. I can't be totally out of control for 8 days, which is what will happen if I eat matzo and all the other sweet / starchy faves.

If you can't give up the treats, come up with a plan of action and a limit on how much of each you will eat.

03-30-2008, 08:34 PM
Do you guys have any healthy Passover dessert recipes you can share with me? I am not going to lie, I am not a great cook. But I would love to bring with a heathy dessert that my family can be like wow great job!

03-30-2008, 09:22 PM
Do you guys have any healthy Passover dessert recipes you can share with me? I am not going to lie, I am not a great cook. But I would love to bring with a heathy dessert that my family can be like wow great job!

Sorry, but in my family "Passover dessert" and "healthy" do not typically go together.

If you think a fruit salad won't be impressive enough, sometimes it's all in the presentation. You could do one inside a hollowed-out watermelon. There are directions on a bunch of websites about how to prepare the watermelon. (google "watermelon fruit salad") It looks like about.com even has a video.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide to make.


03-30-2008, 09:29 PM
I'm not Jewish and therefore don't celebrate Pesach, but there was a recent very very similar thread about Easter ... I think on this very board. How to deal with holiday eating in general, when those family special meals are made - often things that you only see once a year - and how to deal with the whole "celebrate with food" mindset that a lot of families have.

Do a search on "easter" in thread titles - and in the meanwhile I'll see if I can find it again and link it. There were a lot of good points as well as some hints and tricks that people mentioned to help deal with holiday meals.


03-30-2008, 09:32 PM
Mmmm... brisket...

03-30-2008, 09:33 PM

Found it!


04-10-2008, 04:35 PM
My thought about the healthy dessert...in addition to fruit...would be meringue cookies. There's sugar in them, but egg whites and usually no fat (unless you put in chocolate bits or nuts)

Here's a recipe I just found:

"Recipes for Passover

from a low-fat cookbook MealLeaniYumm! (now Healthy Helpings) These guilt-free treats taste a lot like lemon meringue pie! They're easy to make and fat-free. Each cookie contains just 14 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrate! It's the perfect ending for any meal, Passover or year ‘round. Enjoy!

3 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp. lemon juice
6 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 250°F. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large glass or stainless mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Drizzle in lemon juice and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar 1 tbsp. at a time. Continue beating until stiff and shiny. Fold in lemon zest. Drop cookie mixture from a tablespoon onto baking sheet in small mounds.

Bake at 250°F for 1 hour. Turn off heat but don't open the oven door. Leave cookies in the oven 1 hour longer. Remove cookies from oven and cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies. These can be frozen, or store them in a tightly covered container."

By the way, thanks for this thread. I'm determined that I will not lose my focus and momentum this year...Passover's been hard for me in the past.

04-10-2008, 09:38 PM

Check out the website listed above. It's a fat free Vegetarian Passover Recipe site. Some interesting looking stuff there, including dessert.

04-10-2008, 11:35 PM
Oh, that's an awesome site. Thanks for sharing it. I'm going to go send it to my vegan cousin.


04-11-2008, 08:58 PM
Okay, so I have a seder plan. I let it percolate for a while, and today I sat down and wrote it out. Here's the plan:

matzoh ball soup - half bowl & half ball
gefilte fish - half piece
matzoh - only when required by seder
charoset - only when required by seder
karpas - yay celery
egg - yes
vegetarian chopped liver - one spoonful
vegetarian tzimmes - small portion
carrot kugel - one small piece
potato kugel - half piece
noodle pudding - half piece
veggies - as desired (if cooked healthy)
poultry - none
wine - half glasses
anything cousin S. makes - none (as always)
desert - one tart or two halves
halvah - one small piece
fruit salad - a few strawberries, if I really want
chocolate covered jellies & marshmallows/candied fruit slices - none
macaroons - none

And dear lord, that's a lot of food. It's hard to believe that in previous years, I've easily eaten twice that. I guess that as I've gotten on and stayed on plan, it's started taking a lot less food to fill me up. So I may not actually eat all of the above, but I feel better for having a plan with definite limits.

I fly up to the folks' house in NY on Thursday. The last time most of my family saw me was at Thanksgiving, 33 pounds ago. I think they're in for a surprise :) I like Florida, but it's hard living so far away from the family, so I'm really looking forward to the holiday.


04-12-2008, 08:20 AM
Lisa, isn't that site great? But don't think of it as only a vegetarian site. There were some GOOD recipes there that we can all use. Did you see that fat free brownie recipe. I can't imagine how it tastes, but I am going to make it. I'll let you know.

Instead of all those kugels, I am making Maple Acorn Squash with apples, walnuts and raisins. It's sooooo good and no fat, tons of fiber and nutrients. But then of course, it's in my house, my kitchen and I get to do the cooking. Kugels are oh so yummy, but just sooo darn calorie heavy. I have vowed to do without them. Maybe you should have the poultry (protein) and do away with some of the kugels, just a thought.

So just how strict are you with getting in "all your matzo" at the seder? I for one, kinda fudge it. Shhhh.

04-12-2008, 09:46 AM
Robin, in my family the prevailing theory on matzoh seems to be that you should eat a piece when required, but it doesn't really matter what size a piece you eat. (Although if somebody doesn't eat it, nobody cares.) By the time the afikomen comes around, we're talking pieces the size of a quarter.

I thought about the poultry vs. kugel issue, but the truth is I never seem to eat much of the poultry at pesach anyway, and I would feel very deprived if I skipped the kugel altogether. But the protein issue is why I decided to leave in the egg. It's early enough that it will have a chance to start filling me up before the main course comes out. Actually, maybe I should change the fish to a whole piece also, for that reason. Hmm.

Also, I was talking to my mom yesterday, and she mentioned that she's not actually making the carrot kugel (which sounds like it should be healthy, just like carrot cake :), right?) So that's one gone right there, which I will not replace with anything.

I'm skeptical about those brownies. I've used applesauce as a substitution before, but bananas and raisins make me wonder whether the chocolate taste will be overwhelmed, especially given the comparatively low amount of cocoa powder. Definitely let us know how it comes out.


04-12-2008, 10:09 AM
Yeah Lisa, the fish has more protein then the egg, but not as much as the poultry. I can be like a broken record sometimes, can't I?

Those brownies do sound a bit skeptical, I'm with you on that. I'm going to reduce the sugar in it. I'm going to bake them and other things tomorrow & freeze it. I will definitely have to have a nibble to see how they are. I'll let you know.