Happier halal holidays: making the most of your Ramadan gathering

The most memorable gatherings in the Islamic calendar occur during the month of Ramadan. At the end of each fast, Muslims from around the world gather with family and friends to eat and discuss daily events. Here are a few tips to make your Ramadan gathering memorable.

Happier halal holidays: making the most of your Ramadan gathering

Make a theme of It

  • Theme parties are fun to host and even more fun to attend, so make this year's Eid dinner a themed one.
  • When making preparations to purchase food and party favours, try to stay within a theme.
  • For example, your family may have loved their recent trip to Bali. If so, you can create a tropical themed Eid party.
  • Purchase palm tree cut outs and confetti and create a spread of traditional Balinese meals. These recipes are easily searchable on the Internet.
  • If you want to stay within an Islamic theme, simply purchase Islamic party favours and banners to hang on the walls. Ayat-ul-Qudsi and Bismillah are popular ones.
  • Since these parties are usually segregated, women can host their own theme in one room, while the men have their own theme in another.
  • Just remember to prepare the plan for these themes at least two weeks ahead of time.

Create a healthy and colourful spread

  • After a long day of fasting, there's nothing quite like sinking your teeth into something warm and tender. However, foods served in Ramadan, particularly in certain cultures, contain a heaping amount of oil and salt.
  • These foods usually contain simple carbohydrates, red meats, sugar, salt, vegetable oil or ghee and lots of yogurts. In moderation, these food items are harmless, but when eaten regularly, they can lead to serious health problems caused by obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • They also cause extreme fatigue due to a spike in blood sugar soon after eating them.
  • Avoid these complications by planning out healthier meal options.
  • As a rule of thumb, the more colourful the spread the more nutrients it contains.
  • Incorporate meals that contain lots of green, red and yellow vegetables; low-fat proteins and lean meats; as well as fat-free dairy. Search for oven-baked substitutes to fried foods and steamed subs for boiled foods.

An example of a healthy Ramadan:

  • Baked Samosas - Stuffed with ground white chicken meat and red potatoes.
  • Pulao - Steamed, seasoned brown basmati rice with chickpeas.
  • Daal - Made with lentils, garlic, low-salt vegetable stock, daal seasoning, spinach, herbs and olive oil.
  • Tandoori Chicken - Grilled with olive oil, tandoori seasoning, lemon juice and no-fat yogurt
  • Salad - Made with shredded red cabbage, spinach and romaine lettuce; sliced onions, cucumber, tomato and radish. Top with no-fat feta cheese and olive oil vinaigrette.

Bake takeaway treats

  • Baked desserts are the best options for Eid takeaway baskets. Traditional Ramadan sweets such as Gnafe and Gulab Jamun are often baked in advance and then packaged up for guests.
  • However, if you really want to impress your guests this year create small dessert baskets for them to bring home.
  • These baskets should go with your theme and contain small dessert boxes that can be filled with cookies, pies and cupcakes.
  • A few examples include: mini cherry pies, coconut macaroons, almond tea cakes, shortbread and dark chocolate mocha brownies.

Whatever you choose to do this Ramadan, just remember to have fun and make it memorable for your guests.

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