The most joyous time of the year has come around again and there is no better way to celebrate family and loved ones than with healthy, balanced, home-cooked meals.
Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims, is not only intended to be a fast from food and drink, but also one of the heart and mind. It is a family month and also a time for self-reflection. Now is the time to reevaluate lives and review family and spiritual relationships.
It is important during the Holy Month to keep healthy – fasting and feasting can put a strain on the body.
Joumana Dabbagh, Nutritionist at Nestlé Middle East provides these six important yet simple tips on how you can prepare a meal for your family with ingredients that will make this year’s fast the healthiest yet.
- Break your fast healthily: Have three dates then a glass of Laban or water to replenish your body’s reserves of fluids and minerals. Follow this with a warm bowl of fiber filled vegetable soup and a crisp green salad. Did you know that the Ramadan Limited Edition MAGGI Potato and Leak Soup is made with natural vegetables, spices and herbs, while delivering the same home-cooked taste?
The main meal should consist of carbohydrates (e.g. one cup of cooked rice) and protein portions (palm size piece of chicken breast of lean meat or fish) besides additional vegetables
- Cook lighter dishes: Adapt to a better lifestyle with alternative healthy cooking methods such as grilling, boiling, simmering and roasting. Add taste and variety to the food you prepare by incorporating a wealth of colorful vegetables, herbs such as rosemary, zaatar, basil and spices such as cardamom, turmeric and cinnamon.
- Add color to your plate: Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to provide your body with all essential vitamins and minerals during the holy month. This can be done easily by including a variety of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peas and green beans not only in the main course but also as part of the soup and the salad.
- Stay hydrated: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water following Iftar until Suhoor every day. Aim to drink at least eight glasses divided in small quantities so as not to feel bloated. To prevent getting thirsty avoid spicy and salty foods and consume fruits and vegetables for further hydration such as watermelon, plums, cucumbers and peppers!
- Be creative and plan ahead: Keep things simple and build up a collection of daily recipes for quick and easy family favorites. Choose ingredients that you can use for more than one meal. Involve your kids in the cooking process by asking them to make a salad, set the table or other simple tasks – research has proved that allowing children to participate in food preparation encourages them to complete their meals
- Move more: Participate in physical activity by going for a walk every day for at least two hours after having Iftar which allows you time to digest your meal.
To make sure your family gets the very best, Nestle has prepared a full month’s worth of balanced, healthy and delicious recipes. (www.maggime.com/en/ramadan-recipes)
About Nestlé Middle East
Nestlé Middle East’s heritage goes back over 80 years to 1934 when the first import operation was set up in Lebanon. Today, Nestlé Middle East owns and operates 18 factories and provides direct employment to more than 13,000 employees who are all committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. It also provides indirect employment to several thousand more.
The Nestlé portfolio in the region currently exceeds 60 innovative product brands in a wide range of categories: dairy products and infant nutrition, bottled water, chocolate and confectionery, coffee creamers, breakfast cereals, culinary products, health science, skin health, and Pet Care, among others. Nestlé Nido, Nestlé NAN, S-26, Progress, Maggi, Nescafé, Kit Kat, Coffeemate, Nestlé Cerelac, Nestlé Fitness, Nestlé Pure Life, Nespresso, Optifast and Cetaphil are just some of the brands available in the Middle East.