Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar. This year it begins on June 6th and will end around July 5th. I have received several requests on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to write some tips on Ramadan Preparations.
For those who are unfamiliar with the month of Ramadan, here is a quick overview:
Muslims who are healthy and of the age of maturity, fast (abstain) from food and drink from sunrise to sunset each day during the month. We break fast at sunset and are able to eat and drink until the sun rises again. Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint. And the month is a time for reflection and prayer and is seen as a time to rid oneself of bad habits. During this month, Muslims give generously to charity.
If you want to greet your Muslim friend, colleague or neighbor during this month, just say “Happy Ramadan” or “Ramadan Mubarak” 🙂
Before I can go into food prep, I have to share my thoughts on food during Ramadan.
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” Quran 7:31
In some communities, Ramadan has turned into a daily food feast. With these extravagant dinners comes gluttony, and extreme waste. While family gatherings are important, the excess and waste is counterproductive. In Muslim countries such as Dubai, food waste nearly doubles during the Holy Month. :(!!
It is also important to remember that not all Muslims have the ability to make extravagant dinners for their families each night.
“The Pew Research Group holds that 45 percent of Muslim Americans have a household income of less than $30,000 per year; a figure that closely corresponds with the legal poverty line.” (Ramadan in the Shadows: Fasting While Poor, Khaled Beydoun)
Proper nutrition in the holy month is important and if we are lucky enough to have more than we need, we should work towards helping those who do not have enough.
Here are a few organization you may wish to donate too:
Tips for Ramadan:
- Keep it simple! We tend to think we are going to eat more than we are. Less is definitely more.
- Plan your meals with important food groups in mind; protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. This way you are ensuring you are getting proper nutrition without having to make several entrees and sides.
- Plan ahead! Write down a meal plan for the week. This will eliminate the “what should we have for iftar?” “I don’t know” conversation :D. I like to shop at the Farmer’s Market, so I usually meal plan for 3 days at a time. Do what works for you!
- Keep it light. No one wants to feel weighed down with fried, or fatty foods, especially when there is little time between sunset and sunrise.
- Cook to what’s in season. Visit your local farmer’s market when possible and create dishes using the fresh fruits and vegetables that are packed with flavor!
- Make a large batch of your favorite soup (lentil soup) and reheat throughout the week. This will help in your daily cooking time!
- Share what you don’t finish with friends and neighbors. Also, repurpose left overs (this is a great way to get creative).
- Everyone should have a job. Please don’t try to hold the burden, of shopping, cooking and cleaning all on yourself! With every great team, together everyone achieves more 🙂
- DO NOT shop while hungry. I am guilty of this and have ended up with more snacks and treats than we could ever eat. Try to go shopping early in the day and stick to your shopping list 🙂
- Enjoy the process! Cooking should be fun, don’t let that get away <3
With that, I want to wish all my Muslim sisters and brothers your families a very blessed month of Ramadan. May all your prayers and fasts be accepted inshallah! ♥ Please keep me in duas 🙂