Stay nourished, energized and satiated with my top healthy Ramadan recipes – full of classic Middle Eastern dishes perfect for suhoor or breaking your fast!
Check out my favorite 30 healthy Ramadan recipes that I enjoy making every year during the holy month of Ramadan. Below is a list of Middle Eastern foods that all have a simple modern take and provide great nutrition while fasting.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this holy month, Muslims fast and abstain from food and water during sunlight hours. We do this every day for 30 days.
Fasting helps to cleanse the soul, teach self-discipline and empathy for those less fortunate, and encourage acts of generosity. There’s so much more on this topic online. And I can provide more amazing resources if anyone’s interested. I want to focus on the health aspects and Ramadan recipes today.
What are the health benefits of fasting?
There are amazing mental benefits that come from this month-long ritual of sacrifice and self-discipline. But here are some common physiological benefits as well:
- Lose weight.By skipping lunch and not eating until the sunset, you will most likely consume less calories and less fat throughout the month. This may result in weight loss. I usually lose 5 pounds and keep it off for at least a few months.
- Lower blood sugar.One of the immediate effects of fasting is lowered blood sugar. And that can also result in lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. All that means better cardiovascular health!
- Detoxify your body. Not eating or drinking during the day is a method of detoxing your body naturally. It gives your digestive system a chance to cleanse itself.
- Reduce appetite. I’m always surprised by how little food I actually need to feel full when I break my fast. During the month, many people notice an appetite reduction.That’s so important because it can help you restructure your relationship with food, and limit overindulgence.
- Improve metabolism. By skipping meals during the day, your metabolism may become more efficient. We’re giving our digestive system a break. That makes it more efficient. And that means it can better process the nutrients in the food we eat.
How do you stay healthy during Ramadan?
- Wake up for ‘Suhoor.’This is the meal eaten before dawn. It can help you get more nutrients in your body.
- Have well-balanced meals.Make sure each of the two meals includes complex carbs, high fiber food and protein rich foods. These well-balanced meals will help you replenish energy.
- Drink plenty of fluids.You can also do this by eating water-dense fruits or soups. The goal is to consume the equivalent of 8 cups of water to avoid dehydration. I know it’s hard, but try to limit the caffeine, which can stimulate water loss.
- Cut down on processed foodsand those with refined carbs such as sugar and white flour. They don’t have much nutrients and will not give you the energy and nutrition your body is craving.
- Break your fast with dates and water. An average serving of dates has 31 grams of carbs. That will give you the right amount of energy after a long day of fasting. They have high levels of fiber for digestion, and are packed with potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B.
Authentic Middle Eastern salads
One of my favorite Ramadan recipes is one that my mom literally makes every single day during the month. It’s a Fattaoush salad that is made with simple fresh vegetables and toasted pita bread then tossed in a zesty sumac Mediterranean dressing! It’s an authentic recipe I know you’ll love!
Another very popular salad is this traditional Lebanese tabaouli Salad. It’s a fresh Mediterranean appetizer made with bulgur, parsley, mint and very finely chopped vegetables. Because it doesn’t include lettuce, you can make a large batch and enjoy for 2-3 days without the salad wilting.
And be sure to try the Chicken shwarma salad – a salad that is actually a whole meal loaded grilled chicken smothered in shawarma spices and Middle Eastern style vegetables – it’s low-carb, high protein and the perfect meal!
For a salad without any lettuce, try the Mediterranean Couscous salad or a simple refreshing Tomato Avocado cucumber made with only 4 ingredients and a lemon olive oil dressing.
Classic Ramadan soup recipes
The most popular soup recipe during Ramadan is this Crushed lentil soup.It is actually one of my all-time favorite soup recipes and I love to make it all year long.
It’s made with red lentils, short-grain rice, onions, carrots, and cumin and topped with the tangy taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice – comforting, delicious and healthy!
Another popular soup during Ramadan is Chicken Noodle soup with a Middle Eastern twist by using vermicelli pasta.
It’s a classic soup recipe that’s easy to make with simple ingredients and stocked with nutrients for the cold season or the hungry fasting soul!
For more hearty, easy and nourishing soups, try the Vegetable lemon soup recipe and the Mediterranean white bean soup recipe. They’re both loaded with vegetables like onions, carrots and celery, and use simple everyday ingredients.