Ramadan meal plan: a week's worth of healthy iftar and suhoor ideas

If you want to use your time during the holy month to reset your health, these dishes can help

Nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary, who lives in Dubai, provides a week's menu for healthy eating during Ramadan. Photo: Rashi Chowdhary
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As well as being a spiritual time, Ramadan, for many, is also the month to reset health.

For those wanting to ensure they are nurturing their bodies with healthy, nourishing food during Ramadan, following a meal plan can not only help to keep your body healthy, it can also help the mind.

Nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary, who lives in Dubai, believes the holy month is the perfect time to retune your health and develop new habits.

“Ramadan is not only a time rich with religious benefits, but also a time plentiful in spiritual and health benefits,” she says. “During the month of Ramadan, the separation between man and food for 30 days allows us to break the habit of leaning on food when in an emotional state. Come to think of it, we trust a source internally to take care of our physical needs of hunger and thirst.

“As meals are limited to one or two during the fast, there is less time to eat and think about food, which subsequently leads to a clearer mind, giving us more time to organise our thoughts and become more in tune with ourselves and our needs and wants.”

Chowdhary says following an anti-inflammatory plan will “dramatically help gut microbiome, too”.

“There is no denying the fact that our gut and brain are connected,” she says. “Eating well will help our gut to heal and therefore will help our mind relax, too, so we can focus on the essence of Ramadan.”

Here is a five-day anti-inflammatory meal plan:

Day one

Suhoor (3.45 am)

Two slices of sourdough bread with smashed avocado and two to three whole eggs, plus some mixed nuts.

Break the fast (6.45pm-7pm)

Coconut, plus coconut water and mango chaat.

Iftar meal (7.30pm-8.30pm)

One cup of rice, two cups of green vegetables, plus any meat curry.

Small snack (10pm)

Golden latte: One cup of almond milk with turmeric and cinnamon powder, with two to three dates blended together.

Day two

Suhoor (3.45am)

One cup rice with chicken curry and a small glass of banana milkshake made with banana, almond milk, dates, cinnamon and almond butter blended together.

Break the fast (6.45pm-7pm)

Handful of mixed nuts, three dates and lemon water (avoid sugar, replace it with manuka honey).

Iftar meal (7.30pm-8.30pm)

Two whole eggs, veggies and two slices of sourdough bread.

Small snack (10pm)

Vegetable soup, small portion of chicken or one whole egg.

Day three

Suhoor (3.45am)

Chicken and potato tikkis with fattoush or tabbouleh.

Break the fast (6.45pm-7pm)

Almond yoghurt, chopped fruit and mixed seeds (one teaspoon of sesame and one teaspoon of chia seeds).

Iftar meal (7.30pm-8.30pm)

One to two jowar rotis (made with sorghum flour), any meat of your choice and any vegetables.

Small snack (10pm)

Bone broth and a handful of mixed nuts.

Day four

Suhoor (3.45am)

Two whole eggs with a bowl of gluten-free granola and almond milk.

Break the fast (6.45pm-7pm)

Mango smoothie with almond milk, a scoop of unflavoured vegan protein powder, and dates or manuka honey.

Iftar meal (7.30pm-8.30pm)

Sourdough bread sandwich with chicken and vegetable soup.

Small snack (10pm)

Sauteed shiitake mushrooms with roasted sesame seeds and mashed potatoes.

Day five

Suhoor (3.45am)

Protein chocolate smoothie made with banana, almond milk, a scoop of vegan protein, unsweetened cocoa powder, dates and cinnamon.

Break the fast (6.45pm-7pm)

Chia seed pudding made with crushed nuts, almond milk, chia seeds, manuka honey and a ripe banana.

Iftar meal (7.30pm-8.30pm)

Chicken biryani with almond yoghurt raita.

Small snack (10pm)

Bone broth, one whole egg, and a bowl of blueberries.

Chowdhary's pro tips

- Drinking as much water as possible between iftar and suhoor reduces the risk of dehydration during fasting.

- Break your fast with electrolytes and healthy fats because it regulates cellular fluid balance and will help you to avoid overeating at the big iftar meal.

- A wholesome blood sugar balance meal is the key to healthy fasting during Ramadan. Try and make sure most of your meals have all major macros.

- Eating mindfully and listening to your body for fullness cues will put less stress on your body‘s digestive system and gives you more energy. Eating smaller quantities once the fast is broken works as a better strategy for your gut than eating very large meals in one go.

- Cut down on caffeinated drinks as they have a diuretic effect and promote fluid loss.

- Avoid consuming processed foods as they cause sluggishness and fatigue. Excessive consumption of inflammatory foods may also result in indigestion, poor absorption of nutrients and could lead to unhealthy weight gain.

- Practice mindful activities — be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Negative thoughts will make you feel drained. Focusing on positive thoughts will not only smoothen the whole process but will also improve your physical and mental health and well-being.

- Celebrate! This is the most joyous and religious month of the year. Enjoy meals with others, exercise goodwill, and be patient with your body and with others.

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Updated: April 13, 2022, 12:17 PM