Last Updated on:
July 13, 2022

Ministry of Health Eating Recommendations for the Holiday Season

Ministry of Health Eating Recommendations for the Holiday Season

Translations like these are why our Healthcare Division is needed!

The Ministry of Health has published recommendations for the holiday season, including some questionable (and sometimes comical) translations, like:

  • "Skipping meals can cause a reaction in which hunger is felt, a state that leads to devouring large amounts without being able to control this."
  • "It is worthwhile to be wary of 'tearing into' large amounts of food."
  • Some odd menu choices such as "​Pumpkin baked without oil" and "Green cowpea cooked without oil".

While these translations get their point across and may be funny because the content is not that important, imagine if all of your critical healthcare information in English was translated in the same way! Our healthcare division in memory of Shira Pransky z"l exists to provide quality information to Israel's English-speakers so that they can better understand and navigate the Israeli healthcare system.

The Ministry's complete recommendations appear below in their unedited form:

Recommendations for Rosh Hashana and this season’s Festivals

​Rosh Hashana and the remaining festivals of this season allow us to enjoy splendid things such as being on holiday, family and excursions. However, alongside all of this is worry of the effects of disturbance to the normal daily routine and diet, and consequent worry about weight gain.

The many festive meals, rich in courses and calories, together with free time and hospitality, could lead to uncontrolled eating and to putting on several unwanted kilograms. It is reasonable to assume that it is not always only the type of food eaten that causes weight gain, but also the quantities consumed in this period.

During this period of Jewish festivals, it is recommended to adopt some basic behavioral rules that could assist you in maintaining wise dietary habits and avoiding weight gain and various digestive tract problems. Below are some useful tips:

Prior to and during the festivals, as well as throughout the year

  • It is recommended to eat proper meals and to avoid a situation in which one “forgets” to eat. Skipping meals can cause a reaction in which hunger is felt, a state that leads to devouring large amounts without being able to control this.
  • In states of excess fatigue, which are characteristic of many people in this period (mainly those who are hosting guests), the natural reaction is - over-eating. It is worthwhile to be wary of “tearing into” large amounts of food. It is recommended to take a break during preparations, drink water, and if you feel hungry, take a slice of whole bread, and spread it with a thin layer of something that you like. It is also possible to prepare a bowl of sliced vegetables or vegetable soup for “emergencies”.
  • It is worthwhile to increase physical activity and to get into an exercise routine that also continues during the period of the festivals. It is advisable during the period of preparations for the festivals to go on errands by foot or by bicycle.

Physical exercise close to home and on excursions in the bosom of nature

  • The period of the festivals is a good season for going out for a brief trip near home or for a family excursion in the bosom of nature.
  • It is worthwhile to set aside at least half an hour every day for enjoyable activity alone or with the family, and to prefer active recreation to going to a restaurant, e.g. walking, cycling, bowling, ball games, playing tag and excursions on foot. This habit can be internalized and also continued after the festivals!
  • During the festival period, it is worthwhile to discard the excuse “I don’t have time” and to make time also for planned physical exercise.

Caloric Values of some Festival Foods

​FoodUnit​Calories​​Apple​1 medium​60​Honey​1 teaspoon​20​Dried dates​2 small​60​Pomegranate seeds​2 spoons​25​Gefilte fish​1 fish ball​155​Pumpkin baked without oil​Medium serving (serving spoon)​50​Grilled chicken thigh and drumstick without skin​1 serving​225​Oven-baked peeled potato without oil​​Medium serving (serving spoon)​380​Beef cooked in wineMedium slice​240​Mullet fish in tomato sauce - “chraime”Medium serving​395​Chopped liver3 spoons​95​Fried leek cutlets​​2 cutlets​282​Hummus salad​4 spoons​70​Rice fried in canola oil​Medium serving​330​Green cowpea cooked without oil​Serving spoon​120​Lamb head​50 grams - 2 small slices of meat​157​Head of mullet or trout fish​50 grams​70​Quince baked in sugar​​1 medium​150​Purchased honey cake​Medium slice​90

These recommendations were originally published on the Ministry of Health website. Click here to view the original page.

For information on healthy Yom Kippur fasting, click here.

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