Eid with Essa Al Ansari

The Emirati fitness star’s life changed with a fresh approach to food

As Eid al-Adha is a holiday that observes the gesture of making sacrifices, we decided to ask Essa Al Ansari, someone who knows all about personal sacrifice, to help us embrace the celebrations.

Back in 2012, Essa, inspired by his twin brother and eager to lose weight, shunned his sluggish lifestyle and fast-food diet in favour of something altogether healthier, devoted entirely to wholesome ingredients and days full of activity.

We teamed up to devise an Eid menu that draws on the influences running through the heart of Essa’s life. Some are cultural (Middle Eastern flavours can be tasted in every mouthful), others adopted (his love of nourishing food is mirrored in the low-fat, veg-packed nature of the recipes), while many tap into a sense of practicality (for Essa, it’s important at Eid al-Adha to strike the balance between making fine food and spending time with family, which is why many dishes can be prepared in advance).

With Eid falling at the turn of the month, there’s still a big window to make plans and perfect your celebrations. For menu advice, get in touch using #AskSpinneys.

Chilled beetroot soup cups with dill-pickled beetroot and walnut salsa

Beautiful beet’s antioxidant properties shine brightly

Broad bean, tahini and lemon dip

Bold colours make for a pretty table and amazingly healthy spread

Searching for the perfect drink to quench guests’ thirst? Serve icy glasses of watermelon water, a new-to-store and nutritionally awesome drink that sees you savour watermelon in its most refreshing form.

Muhammara salad

Muhammara is enjoyed across the Levant. Here, all the classic dip elements have been reimagined in dazzlingly light salad form. But if you can’t bear to break from tradition, any leftovers would be absolutely brilliant whizzed up.

After a no-strain main? Assembling one has never been so stunningly effortless. Our packs of spinneysFOOD Wagyu Beef Kebabs provide all the flavour needed – you just have to cook them. Three to five minutes on a hot griddle pan will do the trick.

Labneh with cardamom and vanilla strawberries

The edible flowers in our range help bring a pretty floral touch to desserts. Keen to make your own labneh? It’s easier than you think.


Follow Essa’s social tracks on Instagram at @fitnesswithessa. You can also read more about his weight-loss journey here