Complete abstinence from food and water during the entire daylight hours in Ramadan helps the body detoxify of illnesses.But one ought to be careful with food choices made during the early dawn(Suhur) and after sunset(Iftar) meals,especially during the long days in summer.Overeating during Suhur is just as bad to the body as overwhelming the empty stomach with empty calories foods(high fat ,excess sugar)during Iftar.The high fat samosas and pakodas have to avoided at the best;dates,fruits and water are enough to break fast[which is also the Sunnah of the Prophet(pbuh)] followed by a wholesome dinner after the Maghrib prayers.I have to admit the deep fried delicacies were once my indulgence, which most certainly gave me the tummy troubles later,but I have been avoiding them in past two years for much more comforting wholesome foods.
Simple and nutritious Iftar dinner platter like this(and few more in the meal plan below),with whole grains,vegetables,meats,nuts and fruits, should give the idea of eating right during Ramadan.I'm sending the platter over to Ramadan special events : Umm Mymoonah's Iftar Moments ,Mona's Hyderabadi Ramadan food festival and Lubna's Joy from Fasting to Feasting III.
Vibrant Veggie Brown Rice Pulov\Pilaf
Easy to cook this colorful whole grain pulov covers the carbs and fiber in the meal.
3 cups Brown Rice
1 medium onion,finely sliced
1 cup carrots,diced
1/2 cup peas
1 cup Edamame(baby soybeans)
1/2 cup red bell peppers,seeded and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cloves garlic,minced
1/2 inch ginger root,minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoon mint and cilantro, chopped.
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Wash the rice and soak it for 15-20 minutes.Meanwhile heat the oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add chopped onions and cumin seeds.Saute for 4-5 minutes until lightly colored , add ginger and garlic. saute for a minute with turmeric and other spices.Drain the water from rice and add in to the skillet and cook until rice turns pearly white. Now add 4 cups of water, chopped mint ,cilantro and vegetables. Cover and cook until all rice is cooked through about 30 minutes. Sprinkle some apple cider vinegar over rice and mix well. Serve with almond ,tomato or Mint sesame chutney
Baked Chicken with Tandoori Masala and red pepper sauce
The spicy chicken bake provides the essential protein.Reduce the spices in case of heart burn troubles.
2 pounds skinless Free range chicken,cut in medium pieces
2 teaspoon tandoori masala(this was store bought,I prefer Sanjeev kapoor's or Shaan's brand of masala mix)
1 teaspoon salt
for the sauce
1 red bell pepper(can also use green),seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder
1/2 cup fresh herbs,cilantro or mint or parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Marinate the chicken in the tandoori masala and salt for an hour or more.
Prepare the sauce,blend all the ingredients under sauce in a food processor or blender.
Preheat oven to 325F.Transfer the chicken in an baking dish.Bake for about 35 minutes. Get the dish out of the oven and pour the sauce all over the chicken.Cook for another 25-30 minutes until tender and cooked through.Serve warm with the Veggie Brown Rice Pulov\Pilaf.
Mango Pineapple Almond Lassi(Smoothie)
A dessert and thirst quencher in one,the tropical almond lassi is loaded with much needed nutrients from fruits and nuts.
2 very ripe mangoes,peeled and diced
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup fat free yogurt
Blender together all of the ingredients in a heavy duty blender(like Vitamix) until smooth,chill in fridge until time to serve.Garnish with more raw almonds(chopped or whole)
A Sample 7 day Ramadan Meal Plan
The following meal plan was put together keeping in mind the Ramadan Meal plan guidelines,well balanced meals prepared using whole grains,fruits,vegetable.meat,beans and nuts;avoiding excess sugar and fats.Remember to drink lots of water during the non-fasting hours.And keep the snacking between maghrib and taraweeh limited to whole fruits,dried fruits and nuts.
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Whole grain Bagels(store bought or home made) with Chicken Shorba,reduced fat milk,apple
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Methi Buns with Minty Barley soup,Salad Olviye(potato olive salad) , Fruit Chaat
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Pancakes with whole fruits,reduced fat milk
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Salmon with Brown rice and kale,Sprouts and Snap peas Salad
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Flax Berry Smoothie,Parathas with Lamb Shorba
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Matazeez(Saudi Vegetable pasta)with Fish,Almond Tropical Lassi
Snacks:Trail mix(dried fruit and nut mix)
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Green lentil pancakes with nut chutney,Nature's best drink
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Koshary(pasta rice lentils in tomato sauce),Sprouts Olive Salad,Water melon ginger ale or water melon spritzer
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Green Parathas with tomato chutney,scrambled eggs,Almond Cocoa
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Haleem(Meat Wheat Porridge),Moroccan Veggie Couscous,Orange Ginger Drink
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Shakshouka(Eggs in tomato pepper sauce),Banana,reduced fat milk
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Harissa Chicken with Freekah,Orange Carrot Salad
Suhur(Pre-dawn meal) :Ragi or Buck wheat Porridge or beet oatmeal with whole and dried fruits
Iftar(meal after breaking fast):Dates,Sesame Chicken with sauteed Cabbage Salad,Fruit N Nut Quinoa,Low fat Falooda
Snacks:Dried fruit and nuts