Ramadan Healthy and Sustainable Meals
Enjoy Healthy and Sustainable Meals during the Holy Month of Ramadan
Good for your Health Good for the Environment
For Iftar, break the fast with one or two of the following:
- Water, milk or laban. Water provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. Avoid drinking a lot of juices with added sugars as these can provide too much calories
- Dates are a great way to break the fast as they provide natural sugars for energy, provide minerals like potassium, copper and manganese and are a good source of fiber. You could also try other dried fruits such as apricots, figs, raisins or prunes, which also provide fiber and nutrients. Go for whatever is locally produced, hence dates have sustainable and environmental advantage over the other dried fruits
- Fruits provide natural sugars for energy, fluid and many vitamins and minerals. Try to find locally produced strawberries and kiwis they are excellent sources of vitamin C.
- Soups are a light way to break the fast and provide fluids. Go for plant based soups like lentil or vegetable soup
After breaking the fast, make sure the main dish you eat provides a balance of starchy foods including wholegrains, protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beans, pulses and vegetables. Consume less meat be it red or white:
Besides the big impact on the environment, increased meat consumption has been linked to increased incidence of heart disease, obesity and some types of cancers. Make meat a tasty compliment rather than a center piece of a good meal. Good examples of healthy and sustainable Ramadan meals, are Thareed, Harees, Kussa & Warak Inab, Freekeh, Makloubeh, vegetable or pulses stews with or without meat and chicken.
Complement your meals with daily mixed fresh vegetable salads, buy local and seasonal: you can buy locally produced cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, green leafy vegetables and herbs. Local produce is fresh, no preservatives are added and less energy intense as compared to imported produce
After a long fast it is natural to treat yourself but try to have only small portions of desserts and sweets. Remember that you only have a relatively short time each day to eat and drink to provide your body with all the essential nutrients and fluids it needs to be healthy, so the quality of your diet is especially important during Ramadan.
For Suhoor, drink plenty of fluids, choose fluid-rich foods to make sure you are well hydrated for the day ahead and go for starchy foods for energy, choosing high fibre or wholegrain varieties where possible as these can help keep you feeling fuller and can aid digestion, helping to prevent constipation. Below are some examples:
- Oats, try it in porridge with fresh milk and topped with nuts, it is a high source of fiber
- Starchy foods like rice, or couscous. You could try rice pudding with fruit or experiment with couscous or other grains with dairy or fruit. If you go for savoury dishes at Suhoor then it is a good idea to make sure these are not too salty, or they may make you feel very thirsty during the fast
- Yogurt can be a good locally produced dairy to include at Suhoor as it provides nutrients like protein, calcium, and contains fluid. You could combine yoghurt with oats soak it overnight for a refreshing Suhoor
- Wholegrain breads are better options as these provide more fiber. Avoid combining bread with salty foods like hard cheese, or preserved meats. You could try labni or low fat soft cheese, or banana. As bread is fairly dry, make sure you drink plenty of water or other fluids alongside or you could have fluid-rich foods such as a soups of fruit smoothies
It is very important to maintain good hydration during the month of fasting by drinking 6 to 8 cups of unsweetened fluids between Iftar and Suhoor.