RELIGION

24 Easy Ramadan Recipes That Will Keep You Energized All Month Long

06/28/2015 06:57 am ET

As part of the holy month of Ramadan, which started last week, millions of Muslims around the world will abstain from food and water between dawn and dusk.

Muslims keeping the fast typically wake up before dawn and eat a "suhoor" meal, which means they need to make something quickly that will also keep them nourished throughout the day. The "iftar," or evening meal, comes with its own challenges -- families and friends usually gather for big celebratory dinners, which can often be filled with tempting fried foods.

Not everyone knows how to fast well, admits Amanda Saab, a contestant on Fox’s cooking competition “Masterchef.”

The first Muslim-American to compete on the show, Saab knows a thing or two about the challenge of cooking flavorful food on a strict deadline, as well as about the Ramadan fast. Her advice about breaking the fast at iftar after a long day?

"Don't overdo it. Traditionally we have a large spread during Ramadan to break the fast," the 26-year-old Seattle native told HuffPost Religion over the phone. "But stick to a few areas -- a carb, a protein, fiber.”

Nour Zibdeh, a registered dietitian based in Virginia, abides by the same principles.

While fasting has numerous health benefits -- such as giving the digestive tract time to rest and detox and allowing the body to tap into the energy stored up inside fat tissues -- Zibdeh says some people experience the opposite.

“People think that you lose weight during fasting, but some people tend to overeat high-calorie foods and that compensates for the fasting hours,” Zibdeh told HuffPost. “And some people do actually gain weight.”

Saab’s biggest tip is to “keep it simple” by making sure each meal has complex, non-refined carbs, a healthy protein and plenty of color.

“Do not go overboard, try and not waste food," Saab advised. "And share with your neighbors, as that is the true essence of the month."

Saab and Zibdeh shared a number of easy recipes for both suhoor and iftar, including some for those who are in a rush and others for people who have a little bit more time to spend at the stove. Take a look at the recipes below.

Ramadan kareem!

  • You spent too much time on Netflix last night, and now you've only got a little bit of time before dawn. Don't worry, we've all been there.
  • Yogurt With Seeds And Dates
    Nour Zibdeh
    Mix a cup of plain Greek or regular yogurt with one tablespoon chia seeds, two tablespoons pumpkin seeds and three chopped dates.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get more recipes here.
  • Eggs and Avocado
    Nour Zibdeh
    Chop up a hard-boiled egg and combine with half an avocado and two tablespoons of salsa. Eat with a fork and munch on blueberries on the side.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get more recipes here.
  • Spinach and Orange Breakfast Smoothie
    Amanda's Plate
    "Use Chobani Greek Yogurt for extra protein and top with chia seeds for added fiber to help keep you feeling full."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Quinoa Breakfast Bowls
    Amanda's Plate
    "Quinoa breakfast bowls are easy to assemble in your morning stupor. Prepare the potassium, calcium and fiber-packed quinoa in large batches at the beginning of the week. Then add your toppings!"

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Purple Green Smoothie Recipe
    Nour Zibdeh
    An easy way to get a cup of vegetables and healthy oils like omega-3 or coconut oil. Add a scoop of protein to balance the smoothie and make you stay full longer.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Watermelon Cheese Kabobs
    Nour Zibdeh
    This is a simple yet complete meal. Watermelons and peppers have a high water content, which helps improve hydration.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Easy Overnight Oats
    Amanda's Plate
    "A bland canvas packed with fiber and protein! Add your favorite fruits, nuts and granolas for the perfect, quick Suhoor! I like to zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds so it is nice and warm when I dig in."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Super Simple Smoothie
    Nour Zibdeh
    Yogurt is filling, thanks to its protein content. Prepare and store the fruit in a container in advance to speed up the process at Suhoor.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • For the days you have a bit more time to make something special.
  • Date Nut Bars
    Nour Zibdeh
    Dates are a common Ramadan fruit, one that was eaten by the Prophet Muhammad. Balance the natural sugars in dates with almonds and chia seeds in this date bars recipe. The additional proteins and fats will make you feel full longer. The cocoa in this recipe is also bound to make you happy.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Egg Avocado Toast
    Amanda's Plate
    "Toast up some bread, add some avocado and eggs and enjoy! If you want to impress your family at 3 a.m. and make them think they woke up in one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, add some chive blossoms."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe from here.
  • Poached Eggs
    Nour Zibdeh
    "You can’t go wrong with eggs .... If poaching is too intimidating, simply scramble. Serve with your favorite fruit or whole wheat tortilla."

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Mushroom and Summer Squash Frittata
    Nour Zibdeh
    Make this once and eat it over a few days. It’s easy to reheat in the microwave so you don’t spend time cooking in the middle of the night. Eggs and cheese are an excellent source of protein and it’s an easy way to add veggies to your day. Also try it with spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes or olives.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Egg Salad For Breakfast
    Nour Zibdeh
    Why not eat a salad for suhoor? Hard-boil a few eggs, depending on how many people are in your household. You can eat this over few days -- just store the boiled eggs in the fridge in their shells.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Simple Muesli
    Nour Zibdeh
    Make this mix early in the week and eat it over a few nights. Muesli is a good source of fiber and can be low in sugar if you choose your ingredients correctly. Try this for a cold suhoor during Ramadan. Commercial muesli is expensive, but you can make your own using this recipe.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • When all you want to do is come home and sleep.
  • Chickpea Mango Fusion Salad
    Nour Zibdeh
    "It’s summer and salads are in. This recipe is high in protein, vitamins and fiber. Pair it with leftover chicken or meat or store-bought rotisserie chicken. Buy pre-cut mangoes to save time."

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Baked Chicken Fajita
    Nour Zibdeh
    Throw some chicken tenders, peppers and onions in a baking dish. Toss with seasoning and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with sliced avocado and beans. Make sure you choose beans in a BPA-free carton or can.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Bulgur Wheat and Yogurt Salad
    Amanda's Plate
    "Seriously, this is my new favorite salad. It is so flavorful, light and satisfying. I used Chobani Greek yogurt for extra protein. The bulgur wheat is packed with fiber, B-vitamins and iron."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • How to break your fast like a champ.
  • Two Dinners In One: Grilled Mahi Mahi and Fish Tacos
    Nour Zibdeh
    "The first night is grilled mahi mahi, served with grilled corn and grilled zucchini. The second night is fish tacos that use the fish and corn -- and possibly the zucchini if you have extra left over." --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipes here.
  • Swiss Chard Lentil Soup
    Amanda's Plate
    "I love making a large soup at the beginning of a week and reheating it! This Swiss chard and lentil soup is packed with vitamin K, magnesium, iron and fiber! And it’s delicious, so I’m in."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Lebanese Chicken Tawook
    Amanda's Plate
    "Chicken Tawook and garlic sauce; because I am Lebanese and everyone asks for a good tawook recipe. Juicy, flavorful lean chicken breasts with magnesium-packed garlic sauce. Garlic also is proven to fight colds and we don’t want to be sick during Ramadan! Just be sure to brush your teeth a few extra times before morning."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Quinoa Cakes Over Arugula And Fig Salad
    Amanda's Plate
    "Your hipster friends are coming over and you want to make something to impress them."

    --Amanda Saab

    Get the recipe here.
  • Tomato Olive Cod
    Nour Zibdeh
    Fish is high in protein and protects against heart disease. It also cooks very fast. This recipe can be made from ingredients in your pantry. Pair it with steamed green beans.

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf
    Nour Zibdeh
    "This is another simple yet nutritious recipe. Use shortcuts like shredded carrots and coleslaw mix."

    --Nour Zibdeh

    Get the recipe here.
  • Wholesome Plate
    Nour Zibdeh
    "Start with your favorite turkey or beef burger recipe. Pair with baked sweet potato fries, roasted veggies and avocado. Don’t have a burger recipe? Make a plate like this from leftover cooked chicken, meat, kebabs or rotisserie chicken."

    --Nour Zibdeh

nour zibdeh ramadan

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