The end of the holy month of Ramadan is upon us as we celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr. Eid is a glorious occasion as we celebrate, rejoice with family and friends, give to the needy and feast on delicious foods. During the holy month of Ramadan, your body was getting used to a certain routine of food at certain times. By the end of 30 days, good habits usually stick and hopefully you are rid of your bad habits. However, it can be tempting to overindulge in too much food after a month of strict eating as you visit various family and friends and have Eid get-togethers. Returning to pre-Ramadan food habits can shock your body’s system and can trigger undesirable side effects such as bloating, heartburn and the dreaded weight gain. Here we will guide you on how to stay healthy during these holidays.
Traditional Cooking While Keeping it Healthy
Traditional Eid-time cooking can be healthy, but when you’re celebrating, it can be easy to forget and indulge in too much food that has a lot of salt or saturated fat. First and foremost, you need to gradually ease into your normal eating habits. Then, incorporate these healthier cooking habits:
- Instead of using salt to your family dishes, use herbs and spices to add flavor. Chili, garam masala, coriander (dhaniya), fresh lime and cayenne pepper (laal mirch) can all add flavor to your meals with the added health benefits of these herbs and spices.
- Avoid using ghee or butter when you’re cooking. These are the worst types of oils you can use to cook. Instead, opt for vegetable oil such as canola oil or other types of oil such as coconut oil and peanut oil. And if you are baking, use light olive oil.
- When you are grocery shopping for meat, look for the leaner cuts and remove any visible fats before cooking. If you want to make queema, ask your butcher to make your minced meat from leaner cuts of meat.
- You can cook some great low-fat dishes such chicken tikka, baked masala fish and roasted spicy meat. You can cook all this with light olive oil, which is the healthiest oil you can use to cook. These foods can be flavored with good healthy herbs and spices such garlic (lassan), ginger, chili, garam masala, coriander, thyme, parsley, cumin and turmeric (haldi) (
- Desserts during Eid such as kheer, halwa and of course savayya can be delicious. However, if you use less cream, less sugar but add dried fruit, they can be healthier treats and just as tastey.
- Instead of frying your vegetables, try steaming, boiling or grilling them. By grilling, you can use virgin olive oil which can bring out the taste in vegetables such as bengan. You can also lightly stir-fry bhindi. In the end, you can spice it all up with laal mirch, cumin seeds or hari mirch.
- Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals. However, if you overcook them (such as in frying) those vitamins and minerals can be lost. To retain the content of these nutrients, the less time they are cooked the more nutrients there will be.
- Instead of such an oily paratha, make a chapatti on your frying pan with a small amount of vegetable oil. You’ll get the same great taste without the added calories.
- If you are making samosas and other pastries, instead of frying them, why not bake them, while using light olive oil.
Add Fruits and Veggies
Eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables should be on your to-do list every day, but it’s especially important during the Eid holidays due to the various other foods you will be gorging on throughout the days.
- This Eid is a special time as it has fallen in the summer season. Summer brings out some of the year’s tastiest, freshest fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, peaches, cherries, watermelon and of course mangoes.
- Make a delicious mango shake with low-fat milk and serve it as a cooling drink or dessert. In addition, you can make some other smoothies and fruit juices using watermelon, peaches and strawberries.
- Make a salad with various vegetables lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radish (mooli), carrots, peppers and sweetcorn.
- Grill some fruits and vegetables with your main dishes. You can grill fruits such as peaches and apricots and vegetables such as arugula, eggplant and green beans.
- Use garam masala to spice up a fruit salad with fruits like apples, pears, oranges, mangoes, peaches and strawberries.
Keep it Balanced
Throughout all the celebrations, you might forget to eat balanced healthy meals and foods.
- You need carbohydrates to give you energy, so add some sweet potatoes to your meals
- Instead of using white flour (maida), use whole wheat to make your breads and serve your main dishes with brown rice instead of white rice. These will give you extra fiber and nutrients and also leave you feeling fuller for longer.
- Daal and chickpeas are a good source of protein when consumed by themselves as well as give added protein to meat dishes such as daal gosht.
- Eggs are an excellent source of protein as well as vitamin D. Eat two boiled eggs with some laal mirch instead of salt and pepper or make a spicy omelet. You can also add eggs to your rice dishes.
- Use low-fat milk products to make your milky desserts such as kheer and savayya or drinks such as lassi.
- Instead of frying paneer, try grilling it. If you make paneer from scratch at home, use low-fat milk instead of full fat.
Tips to Consider
- Before your Eid prayers, make sure you eat something such as a few dates
- After your prayers, you can eat the low-fat savayya followed by a moderately light breakfast which should consist of boiled eggs, whole wheat toast, wholegrain cereals with low fat milk, and/or a banana.
- During Eid, try eating your main meals as close to suhoor and iftar timings so that the body can gradually get used to normal eating times
- Limit portion sizes to decrease your chances of indigestion and bloating and take your time when eating.
- Substitute your sweet dishes with honey instead of sugar or dried fruits as this offers natural sugar and better nutritional value.
Follow these guidelines and you will have a happier, healthier Eid to celebrate with your family and friends. Enjoy your Eid parties, all the food and make sure you give back to the needy. Of course, we wish everyone an Eid Mubarak from here at Health TV!