I know you’re being really careful about what foods to remove from your home as you prepare for Passover. However, there are a lot of Passover foods approved for the holiday but you may want to consider because their ingredients have more salt, sugar, and oils that can be detrimental to your health.
<Ducking to avoid flying objects>
Kosher for Passover Isn’t Always Healthier
As kosher caterers, we at Mitzuyan Kosher Catering are well aware that kosher isn’t always healthier. For example, manufacturer foods certified as kosher for Passover often add fat or additional to make up for taste lost when chametz (grains and products that cause leavening) are removed. Check the labels and compare them to non-Passover mixes.
Fresh kosher foods are generally healthier than other foods. They can’t contain a lot of the hard-to-pronounce chemicals you see in nonkosher packages. We buy everything fresh—produce, dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, fish—from kosher providers, for both our Passover and unique kosher menus.
The website RealFoodKosher notes that most kosher for Passover foods include at least one artificial ingredient, which we know concerns many of our customers. Now artificial doesn’t automatically mean nonkosher; the rabbis check to see if any ingredients come from unkosher sources. Things like potato starch and cottonseed oil are artificial and may be harmful for some people—but they still pass most kosher tests.
Here are some foods and food products Real Food Kosher says to be aware of:
- Mixes. I tend to avoid most mixes in general, Passover and year-round. A lot of them have extra salt, which no one needs, and hydrogenated oils, which the Mayo Clinic calls a double whammy for your heart health because it lowers the good HDL cholesterol and raises the bad LDL.
- Potato chips. Most are deep fried, which I don’t need to remind you is terrible for your heart and can aggravate digestive and skin conditions. Many have cottonseed oil in them, which has a lot of saturated fat.
- Mayonnaise. Many mayo brands have cottonseed oil.
- Nondairy/Nonsoy whipped cream and coffee creamers. Sadly, full of trans fats.
It’s Passover. Be Creative with Your Food.
I think the problem is that some kosher food manufacturers want to make Passover a little too easy. Yes, it’s hard to give up bread and cereal. But Passover can teach us to be a little more frugal (have you noticed how expensive Kosher for Passover can get?) and creative.
After all, the Hebrews high-tailing it out of Egypt were pretty creative to leave out the leavening so that they’d have something quick and easy to prepare to eat. (It’s not like there was a Rabba’s nearby to stock up.)
What can you do? Make some of this stuff on your own.
- Soup stock. Save bones from chicken and beef dishes and boil them to make stock. I’ll bet you’ll add a lot less salt than the processed stuff has. Experiment with spices: cinnamon really brings out the flavor in meats, and cumin is great for chicken soup. If you want some fire, red or cayenne pepper or hot paprika will clear out the sinuses. Better yet, browse the spices at your local Indian grocer.
- Mayonnaise. It’s pretty easy to make; see the recipe below.
- Use real creams or alternatives minus the fats. Real Food Kosher recommends coconut or almond milk if dairy isn’t an option. Tasty Yummies has a recipe that requires just three ingredients.
One positive kosher for Passover change comes from Coke, which eliminates high fructose corn syrup for the holiday. But you know, coke is really bad for your teeth…!