Open your fasts with Fruits or Water. Try to have all your fruits before Sahoor – so that you do not feel hungry quickly during your fasts. Many families like to make a feast of Iftar with several dishes like Soups, Samosa, Fritters (or pakoda), Pastries, Egg Puffs, Fruit Salad, Halim, Desserts and other traditional dishes.
Today we will break the meal planning down into parts to simplify it. What do you usually eat for iftaar? Is it a typical dinner, or do you have special meals prepared just for iftaar.
If you eat your dinner right after opening your fasts, then tomorrow’s email will be a better guide for you. Today we will be discussing the typical speciality iftaars that are made in South or East Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
For Iftaar, try to have up to:
Fruits: 1 – 2 cups – Fruit Salad or Cut fruits and dates or sherbet
Grains: 1 cup – Pastries, bread, rice, potatoes, samosa, fillo dough pies, puff pastries
Dairy: ¾ cup – Lassi, smoothie or Dahi wada
Beans: ¾ cup – Cholay, Lobia (kidney beans), other chaat
Fats: ½ cup nuts and 1 Tbsp Oil or Butter for cooking – If it is tradition in your home to have fried foods or puff pastries then make that only 1 item per day for your iftaars. And have other more healthy dishes with it. Eg. Pakoda, Samosa, spring roll, desserts etc.
Making your traditional dishes more health friendly:
Pakoda, Fritters and Samosa: It is very easy to get too much fat and oil from these foods because they soak up a lot of oil during cooking. Have up to 2 -3 pieces.
- Use either whole wheat flour or Gram flour as the base, you can also replace 1/4th of it with grounded flax seed powder to increase fibre and healthy fat.
- Use many different vegetables in it, and limit the use of potatoes and peas (these are all starchy and will not give you’re the proper nutrients).Eg zucchini (squash, pumpkin or kadu), onions, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.
- You can add nuts for crunchiness, flavour and healthy proteins and fats.
- Instead of frying these, bake them. Use parchment paper or lightly spray the pan with cooking spray (or oil) and bake in the over until crispy. Check out some recipes here but feel free to test out different recipes for baking It is the easiest way to reduce fat.
- Baked Pakoda/Fritter Recipe 1: http://ifoodreal.com/baked-zucchini-fritters-recipe/
- Baked Pakoda/Fritter Recipe 2: http://skinnyms.com/baked-zucchini-fritters/
- Baked Samosa Recipe 1: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-crispy-baked-samosas-with-potatoes-and-peas-223607
- Baked Samosa Recipe 2: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/baked-veggie-samosas/#WDzdOQqwKdVYRtPG.97
Chaat or Lentils/Legumes: Legumes, Lentils and beans are great during Ramadan and during Iftaar time. They are packed with vitamins, protein and fibre, all of which will satisfy your hunger and keep you full for longer. Try to make it a tradition to have a lentil, legume or bean every day or as often as possible. Remember to drink water when you eat legumes to reduce bloating symptoms. Have up to ½ cup – 1 cup.
- Remember to soak lentils over night to cook the next day – it takes planning. If you use canned beans – do not get seasoned or salt added beans
- Rinse the soaked beans under cold water and drain well before cooking
- Examples of Lentil dishes:
- Cholay or chickpeas chaat
- Black-eyed Peas chaat
- Yellow split lentils Salad
- White or Kidney beans salad
- Lentil and Soybean Salad Recipe: http://www.cookspiration.com/recipe.aspx?perma=p3PQ5e5DLf2&g=18
Sweets or Sherbets: Remember to not eat too many desserts and sherbets, because this will spoil your appetite and disrupt your hormones. It is ok to have ½ a cup of desserts like jalebi or sherbets but try to not eat more than that, you should try to nourish your body with important nutrients which are rarely found in these desserts. Ways to make these healthier:
- Use less butter or oil for cooking or replace with a non-hydrogenated margarine
- Use whole wheat versions of the dough
- Add yogurt or greek yogurt to dessert or sherbets to balance the sugars with another food group – so blood sugars are under control.
- Add nuts and seed to desserts or sherbets. To sherbet you can add seeds like Sabja, tukmaria or chia. This increases the protein, fibre and healthy fats in your food while helping you balance your blood sugars.
Fruit Salad: Fruit salads are great during iftaar time. Make sure you use the peels of most of the fruits (apple, pear, plum, peach etc). If you like to make sweet fruit salad with cream, replace the cream with yogurt and flavour it with some honey and vanilla extracts.
Enjoy trying these recipes and let me know some of the recipes you will be using!