Muslims around the world look forward to the month of Ramadan, a time within the holy calendar not only to restrict yourself from food and drink from sunup to sundown, but also to reflect and refocus. For 30 days, we get up before the sunrise for a meal and the first prayer of the day, and fast until sunset.
Every year, the Islamic calendar shifts up a few days from the Gregorian calendar, and in the United States, this makes a big difference in the number of hours of fasting and heat levels. This is the most challenging time of the year to be fasting: The days are long, and the weather is hot. While it’s always necessary to keep track of your eating and drinking habits during Ramadan, it is especially critical to monitor what you eat, and when you eat it, in these hot summer days.
For me, Ramadan is a great time to remind myself of self-restraint, and to reset any of my autopilot tendencies. When you’re around food all day, like I am on set at Food52, you start to think about what you would eat if you weren’t fasting, and you reconsider your everyday choices. It also makes you more appreciative of everything you have access to. Oftentimes, my reflections on my eating decisions translate into all things—time management, the way I speak to friends, family, peers, and even strangers. While it’s always very important in Islam to practice kindness, it’s particularly essential during Ramadan to be considerate and aware of your thoughts and words. Hopefully, we keep the habits we redevelop during Ramadan throughout our lives.
There is plenty to think about during the holy month of Ramadan, dietetic and otherwise. Keeping your body in good shape by feeding it (and hydrating it!) well when you’re permitted to eat and drink means you can focus on your religious and personal goals. Here are 18 recipes to prepare for breaking the fast at iftar, once the sun goes down, and suhoor, in the early morning before starting your fast.
This article was originally published in June last year. It has been updated to include more recipes.
What foods have you found keep you going and feeling good while fasting? Share your favorites in the comments.