Keeping Kosher for Passover is a no- brainer for those Jewish students who grew up observing the holiday. Some who grew up in a more secular home, however, have a desire to get in touch with their Jewish roots for the first time on campus. The food rules can be confusing, so here’s the rundown. The main principle of keeping Kosher for Passover is to eliminate any food with leavening, commonly referred to as chametz. These foods include 5 grains; wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye. This means that during Passover, all breads, muffins, biscuits, oatmeal, crackers, cakes, cereals, barley, spelt, rye and drinks made from grain alcohol are avoided. It may be challenging to keep Kosher for Passover on campus, but it is not impossible.
Keeping Kosher for Passover is completely a personal choice. Some students choose to follow it 100 percent, while others adapt the rules to meet their needs. Many schools have a Kosher dining option or they provide Kosher food at their Hillel House (a Jewish student organization) making it easy to be sure all of the guidelines are met.
If you choose to eat in the regular dining hall, be aware that corn products are found in a lot of foods you wouldn’t expect them to be in. Corn isn’t Kosher for Passover so watch out for high fructose corn syrup and corn oils in your foods if you choose to be that observant.
For most people, breakfast is on auto-pilot. The most common go-to breakfast is cereal and milk or a piece of toast, but during Passover substitute a veggie omelet or some fruit with cottage cheese or yogurt. Both of these options are super filling, healthy, power breakfasts that are loaded with tons of nutrients to help you get through your day.
For lunch you’ll have to reconsider your usual sandwich. Try to find some soup (without noodles or any of the chametz) with a salad that you make for yourself. A bowl of soup is surprisingly filling, and soup is a great way to load up on your veggies. On your salad, include some leafy greens, as many veggies as you want, and some chicken or tuna salad for protein. Again, you’ve made yourself a healthy and easy Kosher for Passover meal.
Dinner might be a bit trickier during Passover, the typical slice of Pizza or pasta just don’t make the cut. Instead, investigate your options to see what types of potatoes are being served. Ideally, look for some grilled chicken or fish with a green vegetable and roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes. Try to switch it up every night so you don’t get too sick of the same meal! If your dining hall serves quinoa, that’s a great alternative to potatoes and you can dress it up by adding some veggies from the salad bar.
Dessert can be difficult during Passover, but there are options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Some tried and true “Passover friendly” desserts are apples and bananas with peanut butter or a little bit of frozen yogurt. These options are also much healthier than the typical cookies, cakes, and brownies.
You may want to ask your parents to send you a little care package with some Passover chocolate in it. The semi-sweet variety will also provide benefits that dark chocolate has to offer.
Passover provides a great opportunity to branch out of your usual routine! Focus on eating foods that are simply prepared without sauces or gravies, load up on fruits and veggies, and pass on the refined carbs and other processed foods. Chances are, you will feel great and appreciate how good you feel eating wholesome foods!