Kosher Dieting

Great tips to stay healthy.

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Food Ideas

trimming your stomach

However, armed with a few basic kitchen skills, preparing wholesome meals at home can take less time than watching an episode of The Office, and will almost always taste better than a delivered kosher frozen burrito.

Afraid of spending hours to prepare kosher, healthy dishes? The Jew & The Carrot blog has plenty of quick, diet-friendly recipes, such as Cardamom-Scented Oatmeal for breakfast (10 minutes), Roasted Potato Salad--just add a few cubes of feta cheese to make this into lunch (25 minutes), and Noodles and Tofu with Sesame Peanut Sauce for dinner (30 minutes). For some really easy options, try chopping a big vegetable salad and adding beans to make a satisfying lunch, or air-popping your own popcorn for a crunchy snack.

While you're in the kitchen, you can "lighten up" some of your favorite traditional Jewish recipes by substituting hydrogenated oils, butter, and cream with healthier ingredients like canola oil, applesauce, almond milk, and low-fat yogurt. For healthier versions of some Jewish classics, try MyJewishLearning's recipes for Tzimmes, Vegetarian Chicken Soup, Sweet Potato Kugel, and Apple-Pear-Cranberry Kugel. Rubin's website, Healthy Jewish Eating, also offers many additional tips and recipe modifications for traditional cooking.

Of course, there are some convenience products on the shelves that kosher dieters can turn to for quick and tasty nutrition. Satisfying Larabars and Pirates Booty from Roberts American Gourmet make tasty snacks. Westbrae produces high-quality organic beans, and Pacific Natural offers delicious soups--both turn into meals in minutes. Carefully inspect labels at your local natural food store; you might be surprised to discover other healthy products that have kosher certification.

Finally, keep in mind that kosher keepers trying to lose weight do have some advantages. At the basis of kashrut lies the question: "Is this food fit for consumption?" If applied not only to the ritual aspects of food, but also to the health aspects, kashrut actually serves as a brilliant guide to mindful eating. With a little forethought and culinary know-how, kosher Jews can enjoy healthy and delicious meals at home and away.

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Leah Koenig

Leah Koenig is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Gastronomica, Jewish Living, Lilith, Culinate, Beliefnet and other publications.