Eat Empowered

Healthy Easter and Passover Foods

It has been the meanest and angriest winter in NYC that I can remember. For the past few days, spring sunshine is bustin’ through the city’s armor and my gratitude journal is flowing over with appresh for the much needed thaw.

Are you looking forward to tucking in to Easter or Passover this weekend as much as I am? In the name of spring hopefulness, don’t dread the boxes of matzo or fear the chocolate Easter candy. {Tweet this}

Instead, focus on what you CAN EAT this weekend. Some of my faves are sure to be on your holiday table!


Healthy Passover and Easter Foods

Eggs. Both Passover and Easter use eggs as a symbol of spring, rebirth and new beginnings. Eggs are a ridiculously eggcelent choice as an appetizer—try deviled eggs topped with paprika or capers or jalapenos. Instead of mayonnaise, substitute equal amounts of Greek yogurt or low fat sour cream into your egg salad or deviled eggs. Replace salt with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of white pepper.

One of nature’s most perfect foods, hardboiled eggs are versatile to have on hand and work effortlessly in salads and snacks.  No matter how you like them (check out my fave way here) eggs are a phenomenal source of amino acids and protein, as well as antioxidants and choline (hello, brain health!).

How to Cook the Perfect Hardboiled Egg {tweet this}:

Put large eggs into a pot, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cover eggs with cool water and bring to a boil. Turn the burner off and set a timer for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes has passed, drain the eggs and bring them to room temperature by adding cool water. Peel when they are just cool to touch. (It is easier to peel warm eggs than cold ones).

FYI, if you are still questioning the whole egg and cholesterol relationship, breathe easy. We now know that eating foods with cholesterol does not raise one’s cholesterol.

Horseradish. One of the most under-the-radar and delicious additions to any meal is horseradish. Many people only know the version that comes in a jar, but fresh horseradish is a brown skinned root with bumps and knobs that generally shows up in the market as 6 – 12 inch roots.  Low in calories, it is a great source of fiber and antioxidants including Vitamin C. It is a powerhouse of flavor and adds an unexpected hoo-ya to holiday meals.

If you are new to the world of fresh horseradish, look for roots that are firm to the touch and fairly odorless. Wash the root well and peel the outer beige skin. The intensity of the flavor will vary, and the potency lessens with exposure to air. Grate or chop just before serving and start with a little – you can always add more. Vinegar will help to maintain the flavor and potency, so horseradish does well in vinegar based dressings and mustard.

How to Use Horseradish:

Steam a bunch of broccoli, a pound of green beans or artichokes until just crisp tender. Add a tablespoon of lemon and grate fresh horseradish over the bowl.  As an alternative to conventional dips, mix together 1 part mustard to 2 parts plain Greek yogurt and add a spoonful of horseradish jarred in vinegar to taste. Let the flavors marry for a couple of hours before serving.

Hearts of palm. Decadent and celebratory, hearts of palm decorate my holiday salads whenever possible. Actually the stem of the palmetto plant, hearts of palm reminds me of a cross between white asparagus and my personal fave, the artichoke. Full of fiber, low in calories, a solid source of vitamins and minerals, hearts of palm are tremendously versatile and work well in a classic salad or an unconventional salsa.

Generally sold in 14 oz cans near the artichokes, olives and fancier food aisles, hearts of palm is often packed in water in a can or jar. Fresh hearts of palm are rather challenging to find, and should be consumed pretty quickly, as they do not store well. Look for solid, firm stalks, free from blemishes.

Ways to Eat Hearts of Palm:

Drain hearts of palm and pat dry. Slice on the bias into rings and toss into salads, or pair with tomatoes, avocado and red onion with a splash of lemon or vinegar as a quick salsa. For a great vegetarian go-to, mix hearts of palm, garbanzo beans, fresh herbs and chopped raw vegetables such as cucumber, radish, peppers and carrots.

Happy spring. Happy holidays. Happy eating. Enjoy exploring some of my favorite tastes of spring and I wish you a wonderful Easter dinner and Passover sedar. Cheers!

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