Friends, family and food: these three components represent a typical Iftar at any Muslim household during the month of Ramadan, or Ramzan. Food plays an important role at Suhoor and Iftar. But, how do you go about planning meals during Ramadan? Let’s find out.
Generally, lavish meals are consumed at Iftar. Sugar-rich, creamy, deep-fried foods are a common sight. However, this approach is unhealthy in the long run. One should aim to consume balanced and nutritional meals at this time.
Breaking Your Fast at Iftar
Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates and water. Dates have many nutritional benefits. They contain several vitamins and minerals, are high in antioxidants and rich in fibre1. Dates are also a good source of quick energy since they contain the natural sugar ‘fructose’. Instead of dates, you can also try other dried fruits, such as apricots, figs, raisins or prunes, or fresh, seasonal fruits.
Hydrate! Ensure you consume enough fluids during this time. Your body needs to rehydrate after long hours without fluids. You can drink water, milk, fruit juices or smoothies. Remember, water is the best option: it provides hydration with no calories or added sugar.
Soups are a great way to keep your appetite in check and avoid overeating. Eat soups made from vegetables, lentils, barley, or chicken. Salads make for great appetisers. If you still prefer to have meat, then prepare them in a healthy way. Steam, grill, stir-fry, and bake your food instead of deep-frying or cooking in creamy sauces.
Ensure your Iftar meal has plenty of vegetables and whole grains, so as to provide the body with vital vitamins, minerals, energy and fibre. Avoid fried and processed foods. Don’t forget to keep a check on your portion size and eat mindfully.
Don’t Skip Suhoor
The pre-dawn meal is extremely important as it enables you to successfully fast throughout the day. During Suhoor, ensure that you drink plenty of fluids. Choose fluid-rich foods like watermelon to stay well hydrated while fasting. Starchy foods like rice or couscous are good for energy. Oats, fibre-rich breakfast cereals, and whole-grain foods will ensure that you feel fuller for a longer duration. Yoghurt is another good option, as it is rich in protein and calcium.
We wish you a healthy and happy Ramadan!
- Rahmani AH, Aly SM, Ali H, Babiker AY, Srikar S, Khan AA. Therapeutic effects of date fruits (Phoenix dactylifera) in the prevention of diseases via modulation of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor activity. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014;7(3):483–491. 2014.