I was amazed this year to hear how many eggs people were ordering (up to 300 for one family!) and sacks of sugar they’d demolished (4 for a different family, but to be fair here in Switzerland sugar is sold in much smaller amounts than back home). The 300 eggs are not being used for egg salad or the like, but according to my mother – who I turned to for an explanation after being utterly confounded – for Passover baking where a cake recipe may call for up to 8 eggs!
Add to that matzah meal or potato starch and not only does the calorie count skyrocket but you’re digestive tract may not be too happy.
My secret to coming out of Passover feeling healthier than ever is utilizing the opportunity for a cleanse. It’s rare to have an 8-day block where you can’t give in to certain temptations – no matter how weak-willed you normally are.
Focus your menu on fresh produce, eggs, poultry and fish, and chances are you’ll end Passover feeling rejuvenated and slim, not round and sluggish. Of course this means little to no matzah or white potatoes, which translates into no Pesach kugels, cakes or cookies.
How to replace these calorific, filling items? First, by starting your meals off with a soup course you’ll satisfy your initial hunger and feel less pressured to serve a larger main. For sides, alongside fresh salads of which there are copious variations, experiment with filling vegetables, like artichokes, asparagus, beets and roasted sweet potatoes. Another key ingredient is quinoa, a highly transformable grain-like seed that can be used in salads, herb patties or as a pilaf.
And in place of pastry, dessert will be variations on fruit (salad, compote, or simply fresh & sliced) and flourless cakes (like meringues or our all-time favorite chocolate idiot cake). The brilliant thing about a torte is that it’s so decadent one 9″ round can last for several meals.
The toughest part of this regimen, however, is not the meals but the snacks. Even I can’t resist a piece of matzah smeared with butter and dusted with salt for those moments between meals, when a yogurt or fruit just isn’t cutting it. But if that remains a treat rather than the basis of your meal, you’re still a long way in the struggle against matzah overdosing!