Tags: DigIn, DigIn21, Magazine, DigInMagazine, NovDec, Hanukkah, holiday tips

The Food Traditions of Chanukah

Chanukah is a time for traditions and traditional foods. With a few tweaks here and there, you can add more nutrition to your favorite holiday dishes.

Many of the foods prepared during the eight days of Chanukah, or the Festival of Lights, reflect a connection to the oil at the center of the story, but there are plenty of other family favorites enjoyed as well.

Here are our be well with Big Y® registered dietitian team’s tips on ways to add a bit more nutrition to your favorite Chanukah recipes.

  • For latkes, add more color, texture and flavor to these fried potato pancakes with the addition of vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and zucchini.

  • Skip sweetening homemade applesauce with sugar and opt for the addition of complementary fruits like raisins, a little bit of apple cider or plenty of cinnamon sticks for sweet flavoring. Enjoy more fiber and pinkish tint by keeping the peels on.

  • We don’t know how you feel about a good donut like a sufganiyah, but for us— if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. There are a few switch-ups you could make, though, if you please. Substitute all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour for more fiber. Use 100% fruit preserves to reduce added sugar.

  • There are ways to up the nutrition game of traditional kugel. Maybe reduce sugar by a third to start, swap whole fat sour cream, cottage cheese and cream cheese with low-fat versions, choose whole grain noodles or use a reduced amount of heart-healthy buttery spread in place of butter.

For your sanity, and guest’s palates, don’t go for a complete switch over of recipes at once. Tread slowly with one ingredient (or dish) at a time, or simply prepare a tried-and-true favorite like this Kugel recipe from one of our own!



A sweet variation of this holiday treat.

Get Recipe >>

Reviewed 11/21/2023