What foods should you have during Iftar?

For Iftar  (breaking of fast)

Iftar is the time you replenish energy levels so every effort should be made to consume foods from all major food groups. Iftar needs to provide a quick release of enough energy. Iftar should include the following foods:

For Iftar (dinner) Breaking of fast

1. Dates

Traditionally during Ramadan, dates are eaten at the start of Iftar to symbolise the breaking of the fast. Dates are a quick source of energy. They are high in fibre, calcium, iron - rich in potassium – However, limit the number of dates as dates are high in sugar.

2. Complex carbohydrates

It is recommended to eat meals based around small portions of starchy carbohydrates such as whole grains,  rice or flatbread in small portions.  Have whole grain sources of starchy carbohydrates, such as lentils, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgar wheat or couscous.

 3. Meats and alternatives

Incorporate protein-rich sources such as lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and low-fat dairy products.

4. Healthy meals

Avoid the usage of deep fat fryers during Ramadan. When using oil for cooking, try to measure oil and avoid deep frying. Reheated oil becomes saturated fats which are bad for your heart.  

Avoid having starters at Iftar especially if based around fried snacks such as samosas. If you have starters, keep them based around salads, fruits, lentils or soups as this will allow you to eat your main healthy meal of the day.

5. Reduce intake of processed foods

Avoid deep-fried foods, foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries, biscuits and baklavas.

Avoid fatty foods such as processed meats,  burgers,  fried chicken and chips. Limit sugary foods at Iftar. Only eat small amounts of foods like Baklava and Khunafa cakes. 

6. Salt

Reduce intake of salt and salted food, such as dressing, sauces, salted nuts and crisps. Dehydration is a risk due to limited fluid intake during the day, and high salt foods can further increase this risk.

7. Fluids

Drink plenty of water at Suhoor and Iftar. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 cups of water between Iftar and Suhoor so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time for the next day.

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as tea and coffee as these can make you lose more water by going to the toilet more. Avoid sugary drinks such as orange, apple, tropical fruit juice and fizzy drinks. Diet drinks and non-sweetened drinks such as unsweetened lassi or labaan drinks are a preferred option.