Although it is only September, fall is in the air and thoughts of upcoming holidays are on my mind.  Plus all of the Jewish high holidays begin this month!

As the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, approaches, we look back and hopefully feel thankful for the past year with all of its ups and downs, while we reflect and plan for the new year.

For most of us, Rosh Hashana (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) includes attending services, celebrating with family and friends and, of course, LOTS OF EATING. Don’t let the Jewish holidays be an excuse to over-indulge. Keep it healthy for these holidays and all of the holidays to come.  Here are some tips to help: :

  1. If you are hosting, include healthy dishes like a roasted vegetable platter, salad and whole grain side dish made with quinoa, farro or whole wheat orzo.
  2. If you are invited somewhere and bringing a dish, be sure to bring a healthy one!
  3. Make traditional recipes healthier by substituting or eliminating ingredients. For example, if you make an egg dish for break the fast, use a combination of eggs and egg whites, use 2% milk instead of cream, reduce the amount of cheese and add vegetables.
  4. When going to the buffet, fill your plate with healthy options like salmon, chicken, salad and vegetables, and have smaller servings of the more decadent dishes. That way you can fill up on the healthy choices and still enjoy little tastings of the not-so-healthy ones.
  5. Include whole wheat bagels and whole wheat bialys for break the fast.
  6. Cool it with the desserts! Have a small serving of one or two and be done. Have a cup of coffee or tea instead of overindulging on sweets.
  7. Do not keep the leftover sweets in your house.  Give them away!
  8. Although your normal workout routine may be affected, make time on holidays to take a long walk to offset the extra calories you may consume.

Here’s a simple, delicious healthy side dish for your Rosh Hashana meal from Giada De Laurentiis. Use only fresh herbs for this, not dried!

Herbed Quinoa

A light and flavorful side dish.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Appetizers, Vegetarian and Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Giada De Laurentis



  • 1 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 2 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In medium saucepan, add quinoa, lemon juice and chicken stock.

  2. Boil over medium-high heat. 

  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.

  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, and season dressing with salt and pepper.

  5. Pour dressing over cooked quinoa.

  6. Serve at room temperature.


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