July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Tips for the Holiday Weight Control Seeker

Dear Jenn,

I spend a great deal of time preparing meals for the Yom Tovim. Once Rosh Hashanah begins, the food fest commences. I enjoy these moments and meals with people I love, but they are fattening and seem never-ending. After the holidays, I’m 10-plus pounds heavier—happens all the time. And I struggle to lose the weight. Can you suggest ways to avoid holiday weight gain?


Weight Control Seeker

Dear Weight Control Seeker,

Eating is a big part of the Yom Tovim.” It’s difficult to control diet with large, frequent meals and lingering dining room table conversations. Let’s explore strategies to wade through this challenging season.



The seudahs begin with kiddush: wine, challah and apples. Other foods and dips may be displayed on the table depending on your customs. To avoid weight gain, consume enough kiddish to fulfill the mitzvah: a kezayit of challah, a slice of apple dipped in a teaspoon of honey.

Note: Challah can be high in calories. However, the kosher Fiber Gourmet company markets low-calorie challah rolls (100 calories per roll). They taste good, too! If you make your own challah you can control your ingredients and keep the calories reasonable. (See recipe below.)

Appetizers: Soup, Fish, Eggs, Liver, Salad…

An overabundance of appetizers adds the temptation of unnecessary calories, which turns into weight gain. Consider a light vegetable soup and a tossed vegetable salad to “whet the appetite.” For tighter calorie, limit portions to 4 ounces of the soup. Salad is healthy and low in calories. It’s the “dressing” that adds unwanted calories. Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and other favorite spices make a healthy salad dressing. Diet salad dressings are also available. Lightly drizzle dressing on salads.


Main Meal

Cook with lean meats and remove skin from poultry to reduce calories. Fish is reasonable in calories and high-quality proteins. Most importantly, do not prepare food with high calorie sauces and do not deep fry food. use sugar and salt sparingly. Instead, prepare food with water, fruit juice, unsweetened cooking wine and spices to add moisture and taste. Avoid high calorie kugels, kishkes and vegetable loafs. Prepare instead fresh steamed or roasted fresh vegetables, including potatoes and squash. If you do fry, use PAM spray or fry lightly and remove excess oil to reduce calories.


Portion Size Control And Other Tips

1. “MYPLATE” is a guide of how your plate should look. Notwithstanding the dairy item, unless consuming milchig, this is how to plate food. Note: grain and protein are equal in size on the plate; vegetables are the largest portion and the fruit the smallest.

2. Portions: A protein portion is approximately 4-6 ounces or the size of your palm. Vegetable portions are liberal. A portion of starch is approximately 4-6 ounces (e.g., 1 small potato). A fruit (e.g., apple or orange) or ½ cup is a portion. The “Diabetic Exchange List” developed by a committee of the American Diabetic Association and American Dietetic Association, offers information on portions that can be applied to MYPLATE.

3. Control the urge for second helpings. Keep the MYPLATE and “Rule of One” (one selection for each food group on your plate) in mind at meals.

4. Eat slowly and mindfully, one bite at a time. Put silverware down while chewing. Savor tastes and textures of foods. Allow the brain and stomach to synchronize fullness. It’s good for digestion, too!

5. Concentrate on conversation and relationships during meals.

6. Drink low-calorie fluids: Ice water with fruit slices, seltzer and club soda. This fills you up and helps slow eating.

7. Dessert: Fresh fruit. Sip hot tea. Avoid high-calorie cakes, pies and cookies. If you want a sweet, take one small portion and no seconds! Note: By desert time, you are not really hungry—it is an emotional desire.

8. Don’t linger at the table after dessert. Invite guests to another room to continue “calorie-free conversation.”

9. Understand: Hunger shortly following a hearty meal is “emotional hunger.” True hunger is the biological need for nutrient replenishment. It occurs hours after your last meal. Distraction is a way to allow the emotional need to eat a chance to pass. Take a walk, talk to a friend, or read. Stay away from food! Train your brain to ignore the urges.

10. Out of sight, reach, and out of mind. Don’t leave yummies on the kitchen counter to tempt you. Out of sight, out of mind.

Invitations to Eat Out

Invited out for a meal? Share your holiday weight gain challenge with the host. A caring host won’t want to jeopardize your health goals. Most hosts will be happy to serve a natural, less complicated, and healthier meal. Use MYPLATE and Rule of One tactics at all meals and in all places. Control portion size, eat mindfully, slowly, and avoid high-calorie desserts.



It may not be realistic to lose weight during the Yamim Tovim. Focus on “maintaining your current weight” * Below are some recommendations:

1. On Yontif, walk off excess calories.

2. On Chol Hamoed, lift weights and exercise. Maintain muscle mass and burn off Yontif fat!

3. Reduce stress with yoga, tai chi and stretching exercises.

General Thoughts

During the holiday season, take care of yourself. Control your diet and make time for exercise. “Center” emotions with stress-reduction activities. Consume adequate fluids and get enough sleep and rest to avoid cravings.

Nutrition Transformations can help you start your Rosh Hashanah resolutions. Improve your life by eating healthy, achieving desired body weight and becoming fit. Call now for an appointment. We use FDA-approved medication to jump-start weight loss.

Yours in good health and Shana Tova!


Founder of Nutrition Transformations


[email protected]



100-Calorie Challah Rolls

Minutes to Prepare: 30

Minutes to Cook: 300

Number of Servings: 24


  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 ¼ cups white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Sesame or poppy seeds


1. In a large bowl, whisk yeast, ¼ cup white flour, and warm water. Let it stand uncovered for 10-20 minutes, until it begins to puff up slightly.

2. Whisk 3 eggs, salt, honey and oil into the yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir in remaining 1 ¼ cups of the white flour and 2 cups of the whole wheat flour. (Add all the flour at once.) When you can no longer mix with a spoon, knead by hand in the bowl for no more than 5 minutes. Dough should be very firm.

3. In the same bowl, allow to rise for 2 hours until doubled in bulk (approximately 2 hours in a warm kitchen).

4. For individual challahs, separate into 24 pieces. Weigh the dough and divide by 24 to figure out how big each piece should be—about 35 grams each or a rounded tablespoon. Shape each piece into a loose knot, pressing the two loose ends together. You can also separate into three loaves, braid each one, and cut into 8 pieces each when you serve. Let rise on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or in individual oiled muffin tins until doubled in size, another 2 hours.

5. Baking: Brush the loaves with egg from the final egg. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Bon appetit! Good Yontif!

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