Ask the Nutritionist: Are there any Traditional Shabbos Foods that are Healthy?

DSC_3919-EditCongratulations to last week’s winner Peretz Gershbaum. Submit a question and you can be next week’s winner of a free dinner for two at the Reserve Steakhouse ‘heart healthy’ menu ($120). The Reserve Sushi and Steakhouse is proud to introduce a new and exciting menu which provides not only delectable ways to please your palate but is actually healthy and conscious of those looking to stay away from saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs, and other poor health choices when eating out. To submit a question to be featured in the “Ask the Nutritionist” column, email Yossi at Be sure to include your full name. If your question is published, your name will be mentioned and you will be awarded a free dinner for 2 from The Reserve Steakhouse’s brand new ‘heart healthy’ menu.


Are there any traditional Shabbos foods that are healthy?


I can definitely sympathize with someone who finds Shabbos and Yom Tov to be challenging. By the time we get to Shalosh Seudos late Shabbos afternoon we can literally feel ten pounds heavier. But the good news is that yes there are healthy foods. I’m not talking about making the unhealthy foods we eat healthier. That is definitely possible. In fact most Shabbos foods can be made healthier and taste as good as the original (except kishka – STAY AWAY) I’m talking about foods that people assume to be unhealthy but are actually healthy!

One food specifically is…PITCHA.

I know many of you are thinking that this cannot possibly be true. How can a food that looks, tastes, and feels like pure fat be healthy?! But it’s true. Not only is it healthy, it’s also good for weight loss.
Pitcha a.k.a. galleh is made up of basically two ingredients: gelatin and water. Water is well, water. Nothing more needs to be said. Gelatin is a lean protein made from bones which is not fattening at all. Any fat contained in the bones floats to the top when the pitcha is boiled and then scooped out and disposed of (like most of you do with chicken soup).

Health benefits associated with gelatin are increased metabolism, healthier skin, nails, hair, and improved joint health. Even the spices that are added to it are healthy, garlic being the main one.

In secular nutrition journals, pitcha (cows foot jello) is touted as being extremely healthy, dietetic, and even used as medicine. These journals offer a disclaimer that although healthy, you may not like the way it tastes! Fortunately for most of us that is not a problem. Which leaves pitcha as a healthy, dietetic, and delicious food to enjoy on Friday afternoon, Friday night, Shabbos morning, Shalosh Seudos, Melave Malka, Sunday… you get the point.

Now some of you, who do not like pitcha, may think that this article is a waste of your time. It’s not. Understand that just like pitcha is a food that is widely considered to be unhealthy but is in fact just the opposite, there are also many other foods that you would be able to eat if only you knew the facts.

People think that losing weight is about self control and depriving yourself but in truth the most important thing for your diet is an education. It’s not enough to know that too many calories are bad! You need to educate yourself about the ingredients in your food and you need to educate yourself about the fat content in your ingredients. You need to learn which supposedly bad foods are actually good for you and vice versa. Once you learn that, you have to learn the science of metabolism and how to make weight loss permanent.
Education could mean the difference between a diet full of deprivation and a diet that you can actually find easy and enjoy. Education can mean keeping your weight off permanently after working so hard to lose it. And education will allow you to eat foods on a diet that you thought you never could.

So yes, there are many traditional foods that you can enjoy, pitcha being just one. All you need is an education.

Yossi Muller, CNWC, is a nutritionist with a private practice in Lakewood and also gives a college course in Applied Nutrition. His unique approach to nutrition is reaching hundreds of men in local businesses, schools, and organizations. You can call Yossi now at 732-806-7373.


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There are 6 Comments to "Ask the Nutritionist: Are there any Traditional Shabbos Foods that are Healthy?"

  • papa bear says:

    any tips how chulent can be made more healthy?

  • Keep Eating!!!! says:

    What’s wrong with kishka?


  • Dov says:

    How is the winner chosen? The question that lends itself to a good answer?

  • it comes with a hashga no less says:

    Wine is forsure healthy.and so is. Certain fish which contains little Or no mercury and lots of omega 3. Whole wheat challa can be made to taste delcious. Dips which contain mayo are terrible for you.

  • Been there done that says:

    In my experience, dieting will always require deprivation. Whether it’s the quantity of food allowed for your specific diet or the type of food you’re supposed to stay away from – it’s not possible to lose weight without depriving yourself in some way. And it goes without saying that you’ll need plenty of self control.

  • nyc guy says:

    Is there any healthy kishke??