How To Enjoy Traditional Hanukkah Foods With A Healthier Twist

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Keep it Buffet Style!

Hosting a Hanukkah meal doesn’t have to be harried. Keep it simple for you and your guests. Why not try a buffet? A few easy tricks can help you and your guests go from tedious meals to treasured moments with family and friends, all with the joy of overindulging on family and friends, not on dinner and dessert!

  • Use smaller buffet plates. This will allow people to choose smaller portions for themselves, frequent the table at their leisure and spend more time chatting and catching up.
  • For traditional foods like latkes and soufganiot, 1/2 the serving of each. That way, you and your guests can go for seconds, and still maintain your single serving size.
  • Include not only traditional Hanukkah favorites, but also some traditional non-Hanukkah favorites such as Israeli salad, and a sweet date & fig salad as traditional alternatives.
  • Don’t forget the veggies! Broccoli, carrots and cucumber slices add not only color, but a powerful nutrition boost to your wonderful Hanukkah buffet.

Luscious Latkes!

Let’s face it, there is nothing like latkes at Hanukkah! Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, it is the perfect food!

  • If you are making your latkes from scratch, use just a little oil in a non-stick skillet to brown on each side and then bake, rather than deep frying them. You will still enjoy the taste and tradition of the latkes, but without the deep fry fat and grease.
  • Be sure to offer a wide selection of toppings for the latkes, and don’t be afraid to cut the extra fat and calories from these choices. For example, reduced fat sour creme and sugar free apple sauce are wonderful alternatives, as well as fresh apple slices that have been sprinkled with cinnamon and mixed into some fat free vanilla yogurt, or even some homemade apple-cranberry sauce (just puree some apples and cranberries and add a hint of honey)

Splendid Soufganiot!

  • If you are making your own soufganiot (donuts), you can cut some of the fat and calories by using apple juice and egg whites instead of oil and whole eggs. Also, instead of filling your soufganiot with sugary icings, and carb-filled jams, why not fill them with a slice of apple, plum, or pear. Additionally, you can choose to top your soufganiot with a drizzle of frosting instead of filling them with cremes or icings.

Nutritious Neyyapam

These delicious fried cakes come to us from Jewish communities in southern India. Flavored with dried dates, raisins and nuts, this fabulous dessert is worth the effort. To create a healthier version of your favorite recipe, use a whole grain or seven grain flour instead of bleached, stick with almonds in place of cashews, and use just enough oil in a non-stick fry pan to brown the Neyyapam, then finish the cooking in the oven…just splendid!

Tempting Tiropita

O.K., if it were up to me, I would eat Tiropita every day! Filled with rich, creamy cheeses, margarine and flaky phyllo dough, between Tiropita and chocolate…heaven, just heaven!

In the real world however, I know it has to be nutritious, so the challenge…take my favorite Tiropita recipe and create a healthier Tiropita that passes muster, and tastes amazing…not as hard as one might think:

  1. Use egg whites in place of the eggs
  2. Use reduced fat margarine in place of the regular margarine or oil
  3. Spray layers of phyllo dough with cooking spray instead of brushing with margarine or butter
  4. Use reduced fat cheeses in place of whole fat varieties

This dish is so amazing, you will wonder how you could have possibly enjoyed Hanukkah without it!

Comforting Couscous

Admittedly, when we think of Hanukkah, we don’t think of couscous as our first choice for a celebratory meal. Yet, add a little honey, slivered almonds, raisins and chopped dates to whole wheat couscous and voilà! A healthy and oh, so yummy Hanukkah side that’s just perfect with any meal. I often find myself creating this quick and satisfying dish as a side all year round!

Traditional Hanukkah Foods With A Twist

Hanukkah celebrates the festival of lights, the joy of family and treasured memories of the past and hope for the future. Traditions shared, along with new traditions made, Hanukkah is a time of love and laughter, family and friends. I hope these traditional Hanukkah foods with a new twist add to the joy of Hanukkah.

From my home to yours, happy Hanukkah!