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Tisha B’av & The 3 Weeks 2019

What to Eat During the Nine Days? Dr. Rina Granot Suggests a Complete Menue

What are we eating today? If you encounter this question again and again (or you yourself are asking it) and if you are fed up with a 9-Days Menu based on bagles and pizza, you are invited to hear nutritionist Dr. Rina Granot’s ideas

| 01.08.19 | 16:37
What to Eat During the Nine Days? Dr. Rina Granot Suggests a Complete Menue
The Nine Days are here. Five days have so far passed, but we still have four ahead of us. Since according to Jewish law we do not eat meaty foods during the Nine Days, you may think you have already exhausted all possible options: you emptied the supermarket shelves of dairy products, ordered trays of pizza from the pizzeria, and filled yourself up with pareve hotdogs. The companies that market vegan products are reporting higher earnings due to the surge in sales. And what should you do now? What should you eat for the next few days?

If you are the head of a family, you know that the task is daunting. "It’s never easy to prepare a menu for a large and active family," says nutritionist Dr. Rina Granot, "and during the Nine Days, when one is not allowed to eat meat or chicken, it is even harder. Not only do you have to vary the menu and prepare something that all your kids will like (and who doesn’t have fussy kids at home?) but you also have to consider the subject of nutrition. Kids shouldn’t eat junk food all day long. We have to provide them nutritious alternatives."

So what should we do?

Dr. Granot emphasizes that it is important to be aware that we may suffer from iron deficiency during the Nine Days, because we normally get iron from animals (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.). For this reason it is important to eat two eggs a day, and try to eat fruits and vegetables with a red or purple color, like purple grapes and beets which contain a lot of iron. Green leafy vegetables and some dried fruits also contain iron.

"In addition," she says, "it is important that your body has enough Vitamin C to absorb the iron, and therefore you should eat simultaneously tomatoes, gambas, etc. In the summer, there are no citrus fruits in the market, which are the best source of vitamin C."

Breakfast: Providing Today's Energy

"Don’t ever skip breakfast," stresses Dr. Granot, "but when it comes to the Nine Days, breakfast is even more important because lunch is often less satisfying, and one needs another meal or two a day."

So what should one eat for breakfast?

"For breakfast, it is recommended to eat mainly whole grains of any kind (e.g. granola), some protein (e.g. eggs cooked any way), dairy products (cottage cheese, white cheese), and whole wheat bread. If there is no time to sit down for a real meal, then whole wheat crackers with cheese or hummus will provide the body what it needs."

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And if you have a few minutes to spend on breakfast, Dr. Granot recommends also preparing a refreshing smoothie: "Take yogurt, add a little milk and two tablespoons of ground almonds, mix everything together and you’ll get a very tasty smoothie. You can blend in dates or bananas, and the kids will really enjoy it."

Dr. Granot points out, "A child who did not eat breakfast will be hungry, and he will fill himself up with snacks and sweets instead. Children who eat breakfast will get the nutrition they need, as well as vitamins and minerals. Studies also show that if you eat breakfast, it helps improve one’s thinking and one can function better during the day. Eating breakfast even prevents obesity, because one snacks less during the day."

Snack: Stock up on fruits

Who is not familiar with the craving to snack during vacation? When it comes to the Nine Days, the boredom is usually greater, so naturally one feels hungrier.

Dr. Granot recommends giving children almonds or walnuts or sliced ​​fruit. "You can make a rule that ten or eleven in the morning is snacktime, so the children are not buzzing around all the time and asking for food," she suggests.

Here too, if you have a few minutes to spare, you can upgrade the fruit by sticking them on toothpicks or skewers to make them more attractive to the children.

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Dinner: Put some thought into it

"There is no doubt that lunch is the biggest challenge of the day," says Dr. Granot, "because during the Nine Days one can’t prepare a meat meal." Still, it turns out that the vegetarian world offers excellent alternatives. "To receive all the necessary nutrients, make sure that lunch includes a main dish and side dishes, "she explains, and emphasizes that it is best to avoid frying foods in oil as much as possible when preparing lunch. It is preferable to bake instead of fry, and if it is not possible, try to cook using olive oil on a low flame. Today it is well known that frying is unhealthy for the body.”

Ideas for the main course:

Fish - Not all kids love fish, but Dr. Granot recommends first soaking the fish in salt and lemon juice and only then preparing it. It will remove the strong fishy smell and make it more tasty. The fish recommended for children are salmon, cod or tilapia.

Soup - Although it is the summer, a delicious soup is always timely. Try to diversify - lentil soup, pea soup, vegetable soup, or any soup that your children like.

Non-meaty stew - Prepare a stew from legumes like beans, lentils, etc., along with potatoes and simmer in a pot over the morning.

Tofu - Tofu is made from soy milk that was curdled (similar to the way cheese is made from milk) and it is a wonderful substitute for meat and poultry. You can season it like you would season chicken or beef and cook it over low flame. It can also be mixed in a salad.

Ideas for side courses:

Side dishes should include vegetables and carbohydrates.

Possibilities for vegetables: steamed vegetables, stir-fried vegetables, corn, peas and carrots (preferably frozen instead of canned), quiches, antipasti, sweet potato chips, and more.

Options for carbohydrates: rice, millet, quinoa, pasta (hard wheat is healthier) and baked potatoes.

Options combining vegetables with carbohydrates: majadra rice with lentils and beans, pepper stuffed with rice, a whole wheat crepe filled with stuffing, and any other combination that you can imagine.

Dr. Granot has a tip: "When children come for lunch, it’s a good idea that cut vegetables should be waiting for them on the table. When they are busy with the vegetables, we can leisurely finish preparing lunch and serve it. "


Afternoon: Healthy snacks

Dr. Granot recommends giving almonds and walnuts, watermelon and other summer fruits for an afternoon snack. She suggests a recipe for a healthy snack that can be prepared at home:

Healthy chocolate balls
12 dates (preferably Majoul type)
1 cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut + 1/3 cup of coconut for coating the balls
1/3 cup of coconut oil (can substitute milk)
1/3 cup of cocoa

Soak the dates in water for about an hour, remove the pits and mix in a food processor along with the almond powder coconut oil, coconut and cocoa until you get a uniform mixture. Transfer to a bowl, form balls, roll in the coconut and freeze. The balls are very tasty and will freeze well for about a month from the date of preparation.


Supper: Finishing the day

"In the afternoon, when we are anyway with our children at home, we should let them share in preparing the dinner," recommends Dr. Granot. "Children love to eat the foods that they prepare themselves."

What can we prepare with them?

"For supper I would recommend slices of bread with hummus or cheese, decorated in the form of smiling faces (olive eyes, nose from a carrot, mouth from gamba pepper), or muffins with vegetables. You can prepare potato or cheese pancakes, or you can decide on simpler fare like pita with a spread like tuna (up to twice a week), peanut butter, tahini, avocado and the like.