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Ramadan’s must have food items

Ramadan is known as the month of generosity. And usually this is obviously displayed on the table of Iftar and Suhour. To be prepared for this month you could use a guide that helps you shop and store your food properly, giving you a head start on planning your meals. This way, instead of worrying about the ingredients, you will be prepared and have plenty of time to come up with creative and nutritionally complete dishes for your family and friends.

Food can be divided into several categories that can be stored and preserved in different ways, allowing you to shop for food at different times before Ramadan.

2 weeks prior to Ramadan

Start with food that you wouldn't need to store in a refrigerator; think about food you usually stock in you cupboards for example. These foods usually have a long shelf life and may last up to a year if stored properly.

1. Item: Rice

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Basmati and brown rice are the best ingredients you can have for your main dishes in Ramadan. Both are slowly absorbed which controls your blood sugar.

Storage Tip: Keep it in a dry sealed container to avoid anything falling into it by accident.

2. Item: Flour

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Comes in handy when you are preparing your pastries which you can enjoy as an appetizer during your Iftar. Also use whole-wheat flour to increase your fiber intake for a healthy digestive system.

Storage Tip: Keep it in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid, and store in a cool dark place away from sunlight.

3. Item: Legumes

Healthy Ramadan Tip: These are a great source of fibre and protein which contribute to your general health. Especially good for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Legumes include lentils, beans, fava beans and chickpeas.    

Storage Tip: Keep them stored in tight fitted containers for a period of 2-3 months so they maintain their ability to swell properly.

4. Item: Oil

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Make your oils contribute to a healthier you. Choose olive oil for your salad and canola oil for cooking, both of which are rich with heart friendly fats.     

Storage Tip: Keep in opaque container closed firmly to avoid the oil from going rancid.

5. Item: Sugar

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Sprinkle in moderate amounts over your home made goodies and sweets of Ramadan.
Storage Tip: Keep it in a dry place because moisture would make sugar hard and lumpy.

6. Item: Dried fruits

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Specifically dates which are the perfect food to break your fast on.   

Storage Tip: First make sure to cool dried fruits because warm fruits might allow sweating and develop mold! After cooling them, store them in a dry, tightly closed container.

7. Item: Ramadan Drinks
Healthy Ramadan Tip: Jallab, tamarind, qamar aldin, enjoy these delicious drinks during Ramadan in moderate amounts and remember not to let them replace your water intake.
Storage Tip: Keep the bottle firmly closed in your cupboard to avoid them getting spoilt.

8. Item: Ready made soups
Healthy Ramadan Tip: Add to your soup some vegetables in order to boost their nutritional value and they are perfect for replenishing your fluids and preparing your stomach before Iftar.
Storage Tip: Once you open the sachet use it all or close the rest firmly in order to avoid moisture from spoiling the ingredients.

9. Item: Powdered milk

Healthy Ramadan Tip: A great source of calcium and vitamin D, add it to your soups, sweets and other foods.     

Storage Tip: Make sure to store it in a dark place in a properly sealed container to prevent losing the vitamins and minerals it contains.

1 week prior to Ramadan

The second thing to think about is how to organize the foods in your freezer. Foods can last for as long as 6 months if they are properly stored.

1. Item: Frozen vegetables
Healthy Ramadan Tip: They are the second best alternative to fresh vegetables. Plus they can also be made into a variety of dishes when you need. Add them into your soups to add to their nutritional value.
Storage Tip: Put them in re-sealable bags so that the vitamins and minerals are properly preserved in them.

2. Item: Meat/chicken and fish

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Have your meats portioned and stored in an orderly manner. This is how you can avoid thawing unnecessarily big quantities of meat.   

Storage Tip: Date the packages so that you know the exact storage dates, and draw out the air from the bag to avoid meat burning.

3. Item: Nuts

Healthy Ramadan Tip: To decorate your jallab and other Ramadan sweets.   

Storage Tip: Seal the container well in order to avoid them becoming rancid. For more freshness and a longer storage time, store in your freezer.

4. Item: Potatoes

Healthy Ramadan Tip: An excellent source of carbohydrates for energy and potassium, which is important for heart health.     

Storage Tip: Put it in a net or open container in order to avoid it being humid because potatoes sprout when exposed to very warm temperature.

2 days prior to Ramadan

Finally as Ramadan is approaching you might need to think about perishable foods, those that can spoil if bought too early.

1. Item: Fresh Dairy (laban, cheese labneh)

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Don’t omit this group from your food choices during the holy month of Ramadan as it is rich in calcium and helps maintain your bone health.  

Storage Tip: Don’t drink from the Laban container directly if you want to store it. Every 2 days, check the expiry date, so you know when to bring a new batch.

2. Item: Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Ramadan Tip: An excellent source of vitamins and minerals which are necessary for overall health and energy.   

Storage Tip: Allow proper air circulation around them when placed in the fridge in order to increase their freshness.

3. Item: Fresh meats

Healthy Ramadan Tip: A rich source of protein which is essential for body functions. It will also keep you satiated between your meals. This might be very useful during Ramadan since it would decrease your sweet cravings.   

Storage Tip: Directly store your meats in the refrigerator after your shopping and cook within 1 day.

4. Item: Bread

Healthy Ramadan Tip: Great source of carbohydrates which provide your body with the energy it needs after a long day of fasting.   

Storage Tip: If you opt for Arabic bread, you can have it fresh or even store it in the freezer where it can still preserve its freshness.

5. Item: Eggs

Healthy Ramadan Tip: A great source of high quality proteins, vitamins and minerals that would make a great Suhour dish.

Storage Tip:  Store eggs in their cartons because the eggshells are porous and might catch the flavors and aromas of strong foods in your fridge.

This table will help you organize your shopping during the holy month of Ramadan. It will also tell you how to preserve your energy and have the ingredients on hand for cooking. Remember, healthy eating starts with proper planning of your menu and sensible grocery shopping.  

From Nestle Family 

More Ramadan Health Articles:

Are you meeting your nutritional needs during Ramadan?
More energy during the holy month
Enjoy radiant skin during the holy month of Ramadan  
Start your day in a healthy way with Suhour    
How to make Iftar a perfect meal!    
Celebrating a healthy Iftar  
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