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Staying in Balance at the Passover Table
April 5, 2012
Staying in Balance at the Passover Table

Posted by Alison B. Kaufman
This article was originally printed in The Jewish Advocate

Seder tableIf food was simply fuel for us, like gas is for cars, eating a balanced Passover meal would be easier. But it can be tricky, particularly because of the cultural and ritual meanings many of the Seder foods hold. The tips and meal suggestions below will help you enjoy a healthier Seder meal while including all of your favorite (and necessary) traditional foods.

  1. Eat regular meals and snacks on the day of the Seder meal. It is easy to want to “save” calories before eating a big meal; however allowing hunger to build is one of the surest ways to eat more than planned later on. Instead, arrive at the Seder well-nourished and energized. If possible, eat a snack approximately two hours before food will be served to keep blood sugar more stable.  
  2. Pay attention to how food smells, looks, tastes, and feels during the meal. Tuning in to these cues will enhance satisfaction and make it easier to stay in balance.
  3. Focus on eating the foods you enjoy the most. When introduced to foods only once or twice per year and when introduced to many foods at once, it is easy to approach the meal with an all or nothing mentality. Focusing on the foods you love will help keep you in balance over all.
  4. Serve yourself amounts of foods in line with your needs. Use Seder meal guidelines below as a reference or visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for a personalized food plan.

Here are three sample meals for different calorie levels to use when building your balanced plate for the Passover meal:

1200 calorie meal

Daily needs: 3600 calories
Full time athletes, heavy laborers 

900 calorie meal

Daily needs: 2700 calories
Moderate active males, ages 15-35 or high active males, ages 36-55 

600 calorie meal

Daily needs: 1800 calories
Low active females, ages 26-50 or moderate active females, ages 55 and up 

Pre-dinner

Matzah
Charoset
Other ritual foods

Pre-dinner

Matzah
Charoset
Other ritual foods

Pre-dinner

Matzah
Charoset
Other ritual foods

Dinner

1 gefilte fish with horseradish
1 medium Matzah ball in chicken broth
1 cup tzimmis
1 cup potato kugel
1.5 cup roasted green beans
4 oz brisket 

Dinner

½ gefilte fish with horseradish
½ medium Matzah ball in chicken broth
1 cup tzimmis
½ cup potato kugel
1.5 cup roasted green beans
3 oz brisket

Dinner

½ gefilte fish with horseradish
½ medium Matzah ball in chicken broth
½ cup tzimmis
¼ cup potato kugel
1 cup roasted green beans
2 oz brisket 

Wine

8 fluid ounces

Wine

8 fluid ounces 

Wine

4 fluid ounces 


Alison KaufmanAlison B. Kaufman, MS, RD, LDN is the director of Hunger & Nutrition at JF&CS. As a licensed, registered dietitian helping the community, she has a particular passion for making the choice to eat healthy foods easier for all.

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