Freedom From Fat
Wed, 03/17/2010
Editorial Intern

 Two cups of oil. Thirty-two eggs.

This is the beginning of my mother’s matzah ball recipe — and while it serves for the entire week, we still eat two at every holiday meal.

Matzah balls are just one of the heavy, carbohydrate-laden dishes common to Passover meals, and a disaster for a struggling dieter.

“Every year at the holidays, it’s always a question: How can I eat healthy, how can I avoid gaining weight?” said Bonnie Giller, a nutritionist and dietician for 20 years.

“Passover in particular — all the recipes are high in fat, oil, eggs, sugar.”

Giller has for years been creating Passover recipes and menus for her clients — many of them religious — in her West Hempstead, L.I., practice. And now the public can get the recipes for her low-fat dishes in her new book “Passover the Healthy Way” (AuthorHouse, $21.95). With more than 100 recipes, the book provides healthier alternatives and substitutions within the Passover restrictions, from soup through dessert.

Passover may come for just one week a year, but “one of the things I try to teach my clients is that we don’t diet — it’s not something you go on and go off; it’s really a healthy way of life,” she said. “There are always going to be events, holidays, things that come up.”

So with substitutions and alterations to traditional dishes — use applesauce for oil, dried fruit instead of chocolate chips and toast nuts to maximize flavor (enabling one to use less) — the fear of weight gain on Passover can be lifted. Recipes like Quinoa with Peppers and Sweet and Sour Cabbage are both filling and light.

“You can still eat healthy and eat matzah,” said Giller of the ubiquitous Passover ingredient — “as long as you eat in moderation.”