Traditional foods for Hanukkah including latkes and doughnuts and healthier food choices: roasted chicken, salmon, brisket, whitefish, seasonal vegetables.
The Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, is almost upon us, and with it, eight days and nights of tradition, remembrance, food, family and fun. While it is considered one of the “lesser” of the Jewish holidays, it has gradually become more of a celebration, thanks to its timing right in the middle of the winter holiday season. Another reason to spend time together over a table loaded with good food? We’re in! So, what is Hanukkah, other than menorahs and dreidels and gifts? Essentially, Hanukkah is the celebration of the rededication of the Jewish Temple and the miracle of a single night’s worth of oil burning for eight nights. A classic story of the underdog triumphing! While we find that fascinating, what we’re really ready to dive into is the culinary traditions of this festival. Tables laden with platters of steamy food to be shared with all our favorite people in the glow of the menorah. Wait, most of the traditional food is fried, you say? Deep fried in oil to signify the importance of the oil in the story? The latkes? The sufganiot (jelly-filled doughnuts)? The fritters? Even some of the vegetables? Eight days of that could put a serious dent in the old healthy diet…
Indulge in a taste here and there of the traditional deep-fried delicacies, try healthier versions of those same treats, leave the oil for the menorah, and treat yourself well this Hanukkah with these Food Friendzy favorites that can be a delicious and healthy addition to the Hanukkah table:
Roast Chicken – Juicy, tender and flavorful, roasted chicken is perfect for a simple entrée as well as leftovers the next day. When you choose the lean, white cuts of chicken, this option can be an easy fit on your plate whether you’re trying to lose weight or just wow guests with something delicious.
Salmon – Grilled, broiled or baked, this heart-healthy fish entrée can be topped with a low-fat yogurt and herb sauce for flavor and as a nod to the cheese and dairy foods that are often associated with Hanukkah.
Brisket – If this classic dish is a must on your table, request a “first cut” from your butcher for all the flavor with less fat. Marinate the brisket overnight with herbs and spices to tenderize and add flavor. To limit saturated fat, stick to a smaller serving, consider it a side dish size instead of a main dish size, or pair with vegetables.
Whitefish – Similar to salmon, whitefish can be an easy and healthful entrée to pair with such sides as a baked potato, zucchini latke or brown rice pilaf. Whitefish is lean and can help you feel satisfied without added fat and calories.
Seasonal Vegetables – Root vegetables, squash, kale and similar seasonal vegetables are all a natural fit on the dinner table. Try roasting, baking or sautéing these colorful and nutritious choices to dress up the table and pair with your healthy entrée. They are loaded with filling fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and can help calm cravings for any doughnuts or cookies that are lying in wait.