Latest update: March 20th, 2014
Although Purim is only one day long, many dieters or people who are just careful with their intake during the year have a hard time on this day. Below are some tips to help you get through it successfully.
Mishloach Manos: If you receive one that contains chips, sugary snacks and commercialized juices, either re-gift it or donate the items to people in need. Do not see it as an excuse to consume any of these items as it will probably not end at “just one” – there will be many more, and once you start eating you will likely crave sugar and have a hard time stopping.
Menu Planning: If you are hosting a party, there is nothing wrong with providing your guests with healthy choices. Try serving freshly squeezed juices instead of sodas, whole wheat dinner rolls instead of regular ones, oven-cooked chicken instead of fried and dressings on the side for the freshly prepared salads.
Parties not hosted by you: If you are going to a party at a neighbor, friend or even at your local shul, try your best to find out what is going to be served and prepare accordingly. If the choices are not the best, try eating at home so that when you get to the party, you won’t eat as much. You can also try bringing some healthy snacks with you – almonds, walnuts or raisins. Think of it as your very own fruit and nut mix.
Wine drinking: Purim is the holiday of wine drinking, but be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming – 4 oz. of red wine has 100 calories. Just imagine if you drink three cups – you will consume 600 calories from wine alone!
Hamentaschen: I realize that the hamentaschen are traditional on Purim, but that doesn’t mean you have to consume dozens of them. One or two will satisfy the taste buds without contributing too many calories. I suggest consuming them late in the day, so you spend the whole day craving them. A recipe for a lower calorie version of hamentaschen is below.
Have a happy and healthy Purim!
59 calorie each Hamentasshen
Ingredients for filling
¾ cup pitted prunes
1/3 cup raisins
½ cup water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped apple
¼ cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Ingredients for cookie dough
½ cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
To make filling:
Combine prunes, raisins and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the prunes are tender but still firm and liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Combine the prune mixture, apples, walnuts, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
To make cookies: Beat sugar, oil and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed in a medium bowl until smooth. Add egg and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and beat until blended. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in another medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture until just combined. Gather the dough together into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Divide the dough in two and refrigerate one half. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut into circles using a 2½-inch-diameter cookie cutter. Place ½ teaspoon of the filling in the center of each circle. Bring the edges together to cover the filling, forming a 3-cornered cookie. Pinch the corners together to seal.
Place the cookies about 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the tops are golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
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