Ramadan: your foodie FAQs answered

Got some food-related questions niggling away at you? Not anymore!

As we get ready to move into the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, now’s a good time to take a step back and think about how best to negotiate the change in food consumption, daily routine and appropriate public behaviour. In the hot weather, it’s important to be clued up on how to stay fit, healthy and hydrated. Here is a list of popular questions and their answers:

What advice do you have for feeding a crowd?

There is always someone putting together a full and hearty spread even if they are fasting, which, while hungry and thirsty, can be a challenging task. As you may not be able to taste during the cooking process, opt for meals you know and love. A nice joint of meat is always a crowd–pleaser – like this lamb kabsa that you can leave to cook away for five hours (meaning your time in the kitchen is limited).

For a delicious side, try a dish of rice with spinach, chick peas, pomegranate and dates – if your party is larger than eight, simply increase the quantities accordingly. Roasted nectarines with orange blossom cream are a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth whilst getting some much-needed nutrients (nectarines contain vitamins A, B and C as well as being a good source of dietary fibre); plus, during the 25-30 minute roasting time you’ll be free to entertain guests.

What should I eat at iftar?

It’s common to break fast with dates – high in natural sugars, they will give you the energy you’ll need after a day of no food. Include nuts in your meal as they are a great source of good fats, something your body will be craving. Drink plenty of water or fruit juice to ensure you’re hydrated; vegetables and fruits with a high water content – cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes – are an excellent way to further hydrate. This meal should be well balanced to ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need.

What food gifts can I take to other iftars?

You want food that is easily transportable. Since your host is probably taking care of the main meal, dainty bites are the way to go. This recipe for cheese borek makes 20 and can be frozen, ready to take out when needed; lamb, spinach and pine nut parcels work in just the same way (they make six, but the recipe is easily adaptable for larger parties). And perhaps you’ll want something sweet to offer? Try these orange, date and walnut cookies; they’ll be gone before you know it.

What are the supermarket and restaurant opening hours?

Malls, restaurants and supermarkets extend their opening hours into the early hours of the morning to fit in with people’s change in schedule; many of our stores will extend closing time from 10pm to 11pm, with some staying open until 12am or 1am. Some restaurants in the UAE will be open for breakfast and lunch for those who aren’t fasting.

What can I eat at suhoor?

Try to go for foods that are low in sodium so you don’t feel as thirsty the next day. Foods that are low-GI, like whole grains, nuts, fruits, legumes and non-starchy vegetables are your best option; they release energy at a slower rate, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer. Lean proteins, such as chicken, fish or eggs can also help to keep you from feeling hungry too quickly. Fruits and vegetables will also help with digestion and ensure you get the necessary vitamins and minerals, ready for the day ahead.

If I’m not fasting, can I consume food or drink in public?

This is not allowed during fasting hours in Ramadan. However, some restaurants (around 94) have begun to offer breakfast and lunch inside for those who are not abstaining in daylight hours.

If you want more advice on how to get Ramadan ready, follow us this way. For extra information about essential products for iftar (trust us, they’ll make your life a lot easier!) visit our website, and for any more questions just #AskSpinneys on any of our social channels!