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Tips for Channukah

Date: 29.11.15 | Update: 30.11.15

Since a significant portion of the holiday festivities concerns fire and hot oil, Prof. Yehezkel Waisman, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Schneider Children’s, warns about the danger of burn injuries in children, who should be closely watched during these activities.

Children under the age of 9 should only light candles in the presence of an adult, during which long hair must be tied back and clothes with tight-fitting sleeves should be worn. The channukiah (menorah) should be placed on a tray or fire-proof surface separating it from the table cloth or table, and placed away from curtains. It should not be left unattended at any time, as the candles are not intended to be left thus (as opposed to memorial candles). Matches and candles should be placed out of reach of children immediately after lighting the channukiah.

Children should not be allowed to fry doughnuts and latkes (potato pancakes) by themselves, and not be allowed near the stove during frying. In the event of a burn from fire or hot oil, wash the affected area under tap water for a few minutes, cover with a sterile dressing or clean damp cloth, and seek medical assistance. An analgesic such as Acamol or Nurofen can be administered for pain according to the recommended dosage if needed.

Dafna Ziv Busani, a clinical dietician in the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children’s, notes that plain doughnuts contain between 350 to 450 calories. Mini-doughnuts are also available, and it is recommended ‘allocating’ just one or two of these during the holiday, and even better if these are divided in half and shared.

It should be remembered that one fried potato pancake equals about 2 to 2-and-a-half slices of bread, that is it contains about 50-200 calories. In order to minimize caloric damage and to enrich the nutritional value of the pancake, grate in vegetables such as carrots or squash which also provide additional coloring.

We generally light different colored candles and with this in mind, one should speak to children about the different colors of foods in vegetables and fruit and explain the importance of eating 5 different colored foods each day. During Channukah, we have an excellent opportunity to eat onion (white), squash (green), carrot (orange), along with a vegetable salad containing tomatoes (red), pepper (yellow or green) and thus reach the total of 5 colors of vegetables daily.

One of the symbols of Channukah is the miracle of the pitcher of oil. Instead of frying with oil, add oil to salad in its original form and enjoy its healthy properties. Adding two teaspoons of room-temperature oil to salad accords us vital fatty acids, assists in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and helps the body to produce substances that protect the blood vessels and heart. During Channukah, most of the calories come from frying doughnuts and potato pancakes. To avoid extra calories, bake the foods or use various tools that “fry” on the basis of hot air, or those that bake the dough in balls or doughnuts.


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