Healthy Holidays

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:04

A Manhattan nutritionist proposes some Passover and Easter alternatives

Holidays and dieting aren't usually found in the same sentence. But there is some good news for the health conscious: Local caterers do have flavorful, authentic foods for Easter and Passover minus the fat and calories.


People are looking for an alternative to brisket and here it is. For the first time, Fairway has on its kosher menu a new item: poached chicken breast with dried fruit. This seven-ounce chicken breast is cooked in chicken broth -- not fat -- with herbs and dried fruit. Add a side of colorful spring vegetables, made of asparagus, peas, fennel, string beans, baby zucchini and gourmet carrots, and you won't miss the fatty kugel.

Zabar's also has a new Passover healthy dish. Instead of the traditional high-fat stuffed cabbage, try the all new slow-roasted leg of lamb with herb crust. Marinated in wine and herbs, this tasty entrée with a side of honey grilled carrots with Ras El Hanout, a north African spice, will leave you satisfied.

When you are tired of matzoh ball soup, you won't find a healthier soup than Fairway's root vegetable puree. Made without oil or butter, this soup is made from pure vegetables, a dieter's delight.

Sweet tooth after dinner? Try Fairway's flour-less gluten-free cookie. Made mostly with egg whites, nuts and potato starch, you have the flavor without the fat.


While ham is the food most associated with Easter, health conscious shoppers have altered their table in the past few years. Fairway is selling more grilled and poached salmon to Easter customers than ever before. Put the dill sauce on the side, add grilled asparagus and wild rice with cranberries and pecans, and you have a healthy Easter Plate. Zabar's new item, roasted brussel sprouts, is made with a drop of oil and salt, a low-calorie alternative to many of the prepared salads and vegetables that already come with dressing.

So for the upcoming holiday, try a new healthy dish instead of the usual, you will be coming back for more next year.

Shari Portnoy is a nutritionist and licensed dietitian who runs the food labeling site [](