18 Recipes for Eating Well (and Feeling Strong!) During Ramadan

June  5, 2017

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.

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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.

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Top Comment:
“We only have about 5 hours to eat and drink up here, so it's really important to make smart choices. I did make a batch of guacamole on Tuesday, though :) ”
— noisette

What foods have you found keep you going and feeling good while fasting? Share your favorites in the comments.

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Trisha J. May 15, 2018
Ramadan Kareem and hello from Saudi Arabia! We live in an expat community here, but have really enjoyed sharing iftar with our Muslim friends and neighbors. Thank you for some suggestions on what we might bring if invited this year.
Matt H. May 14, 2018
This type of fasting sounds outdated. Even Catholics don't follow Lent as fervently as they used to. Is there any movement in Islam to relax the rules? This type of binge eating sounds dangerous considering what we know about psychology, binge easting disorders, and obesity.
Zeinab May 14, 2018
Thank you for this article! I remember emailing the Epicurious Editor In Chief to complain about their lack of Ramadan coverage a year or two ago. Why did they post new recipes and articles for every other holiday but not Ramadan? I never got a reply and sort of gave up. I simply accepted that it wasn't a front page, create new content for kind of holiday. Funny enough, Ramadan can be a literal 30 days of feast in most homes. While not the point of fasting, the fast-breaking meal plays a huge role. Its something we look forward to, something we plan, something we get together for. I cook on most days and trust me, I spend SO much time digging for new recipes that will help us power through and are still delicious to serve to my family and friends. I appreciate this article immensely! Thank you.
Jessica June 5, 2017
I completely agree with Whiteantleers and Rebecca DS. Thanks for this article!
Whiteantlers May 27, 2017
Thank you for this article. I know next to nothing about Ramadan or the Muslim faith. Food is something we all have in common and, to me, a good basis for learning about the culture, beliefs and every day lives of others.
Author Comment
Carmen L. June 1, 2017
Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. This article sheds more light on the month and what it's about http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/what-is-ramadan-and-when-is-it/
Whiteantlers June 5, 2017
Thanks for that link, Carmen! : )
Rebecca D. June 22, 2016
This is my favorite article that I have read on this site. It is so great to see food52 employing people that can relate to a variety of occasions (i.e. ramadan healthy food vs. christmas cookies).
Azora Z. June 13, 2016
Love this, so helpful, Carmen!
Author Comment
Carmen L. June 13, 2016
Thanks so much, Zoe!
noisette June 10, 2016
Thank you for this! I find that protein makes a huge difference in how I feel during the day, so I've been trying to eat more meat, eggs, lentils, cheese, etc. than usual. Last year I was relying too heavily on fruit-based smoothies and things-on-bread, and there were days when I dreaded walking up the stairs to my apartment! We only have about 5 hours to eat and drink up here, so it's really important to make smart choices.

I did make a batch of guacamole on Tuesday, though :)
Author Comment
Carmen L. June 10, 2016
I'm so glad you found this helpful! Proteins are important for sure. Eggs are my bff. Fruit is great as an additional nutrition source! I try to steer clear of empty carbs/white bread and go for things like oatmeal/whole grain breads, in moderation. And guac beats everything so...:)