5 Ways to Cure Matzo Belly

bon appétit magazine

The first night of Passover is next Monday, March 29th. We have a guide full of menus, recipes, matzo ball tips--the works. But we have another important piece of advice: Don't eat too much matzo. Sure, you think you can resist: It tastes like a 45-year-old cracker that's been hiding in your pantry. But matzo is sneaky, and when the dietary laws of Passover are in action, this infamous unleavened bread suddenly makes a fantastic vehicle for a thick coating of butter, a drizzle of honey, and a pinch of salt. And suddenly the box is empty.

But resist. Why? Stomach pains. (And that's as far as I'll get into it. Potty humor barely works on South Park and it won't work for me. So that is where my explanation comes to a close. You can use Google if you need more information.)

But it happens. And the best foods to fight it--cereals, whole grain breads, and pastas--are off limits if you're keeping kosher for Passover.

So here are five ways to cure what I call "The Muchos Matzos":

1. Make this Brisket: Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes. This is a fantastic Bon Appetit recipe from the April 2008 issue. I make it for my family's Passover seder because everyone loves it. It also happens to have a magical ingredient--prunes.

2. Embrace Fruit. Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, pears, avocados, and apples are all high in fiber, which helps those "stomach pains." Speaking of apples, I just gave you a fantastic excuse to eat more haroseth (but not on matzo)! Here is Bon Appetit's version of this traditional Passover dish--a finely chopped mixture of fruit and nuts: Braeburn Apple and Walnut Haroseth (pictured above).

3. Learn to Love Quinoa. All of the Muchos-helpful whole grains--wheat, oats, barley, rye--are off limits for the holiday. But rabbis worldwide are down with quinoa for Passover because it is a grass not a grain, and quinoa is high in insoluble fiber. Try our Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro. The beans will help too.

4. Drink the Right Fluids. Drink a lot of water and no coffee. Tea is fine if it's herbal and decaffeinated. You may think coffee helps, but it's only a short term solution; caffeinated beverages worsen dehydration according to our registered dietitian, Dr. Sandra Frank .

5. Cook Spring Veggies. Carrots, asparagus, string beans--all of those beautiful Spring vegetables just coming into season are also high in fiber. Check out our Spring Produce Guide for ideas and get cooking.

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