Part IV of the series is for all of the women who will be cooking this Ramadan. You may be stressed thinking that you have to cook extravagant feasts, and if you have been you should stop. Meals should be simple, as the whole aim of Ramadan is gaining taqwa and you can’t do that if you don’t feel the pain of hunger. Don’t waste your precious time standing for hours in the kitchen, planning out elaborate meals, or spending your time fasting in the grocery store.
Here are 15 practical tips in relation to time utilization when thinking about or preparing food to help you stay out of the kitchen and focus on what matters most during Ramadan, pleasing Allah!
Search fun, simple and quick recipes to use during Ramadan. It took me a long time to find quick, simple and good recipes but it was time well spent.
Check out the Ramadan Resources section for recipe books for simple, healthy, and tasty recipes!
Try and prepare meals that depend on putting something in the oven or slow cooker that doesn’t necessarily need you slaving over the stove and monitoring it constantly. You can even create freezer meals in advance that only need to be dumped into a slow cooker and will be ready in a matter of hours.
Limit frying as much as possible. It wastes time and is not healthy anyway. If you do feel you want to fry a meal, choose a healthier cooking oil like grapeseed or olive. These both are higher in poly and mono saturated fats which are much healthier than other alternatives that are packed with saturated fat which can increase your cholesterol levels and cause weight gain.
Children’s breakfast, lunch and snacks during the day should be healthy but choose options that require no cooking like raw fruits and yogurt, veggies with hummus, healthy smoothies, sandwiches like nut butter or tuna salad. Do you want to make healthy meals for your baby but don’t feel that you have the time? Read this article on Muslim Mother Source Muslim Mother Source ‘Healthy, Home-made, & Halal Baby Food Recipes’ for some tips
Limit extra sweets, so you don’t cook more and more importantly so we actually feel what poor people go through. Opt for more fruits, like melons, berries, and peaches, as they are very hydrating and will curb your after iftaar sweet tooth craving.
Minimize extravagant outings, like meals at restaurants, for the same reason as above, cook at home and save the money to feed another family or another form of charity. Ramadan isn’t about more food, it should be about consuming less because we recognize and appreciate the overabundance of food we are blessed with. We should hardly care about it except to give us energy to continue.
Explain your plan to your husband and children so everyone knows what to expect, ask for their support and to make this Ramadan about remembering Allah, being grateful, and making it to jannah in shaa allah, NOT the feasting and food.
Minimize having guests over or going to dinner, and if you do try and make it so everyone going makes a dish so not one person is left with all the cooking to do. If you have gatherings try and get some spiritual benefit out of it even if you just share one hadith with them. There is much blessing in joining to eat and feed another fasting person, just be mindful and do not go overboard.
Don’t forget to put an intention while cooking that you are making iftaar for a fasting person, even if it is your husband and children. Before cooking recognize that you are making a very special meal and ask Allah to allow the food to provide nourishment for all who are eating.
Listen to a lecture or Quran recitation while cooking. Or simply just spend the time in quiet reflection, remembering Allah and making zikr or dua try not to waste any time.
Cook meals now and freeze them if possible. Even if it’s something simple, like making a meal with mince, make extra and freeze half. Later on just boil some spaghetti, add red sauce and the frozen mince, and make a salad and you have a healthy meal that didn’t take much time or thought.
DON’T waste any food, eat leftovers and don’t cook any new meals unless you have finished the previous one. If you have small children, use the leftovers for lunch or safely pack clean leftovers to give away as a meal for someone else.
Try not to cook every day if you can avoid it and cook for at least 2 days in advance. Doing this will save you time and give you more energy to focus on fasting, making dua, salah, and remembering Allah.
Plan out your grocery trips so you are not making unnecessary trips to the store every day. Make a list that will include the meals you intend to make for subhoor and iftaar with the ingredients required. This way, you can gather the food you need for at least a week or two without having to worry about grocery shopping.
Stock up on staples like pasta, rice, lentils, beans and quinoa. Buy your cooking oil, herbs and spices, and other necessary items. If you can stock up on these for the entire month, you will only have to go out for fresh fruits and vegetables which will allow you to spend less time at the market.
Overall, just keep remembering that Ramadan is NOT about the food. It can be difficult after fasting all day to not look forward to a full course meal with a tasty dessert and sharing in festivities and good cheer with friends and family. It is ok and actually encouraged to take meals with other believers, as long as we are being mindful of our blessings. Fasting is the only thing that we do for Allah. Everything else we do, salah, zikr, deeds, are all for us. Let us humble ourselves so that we may remind others in shaa allah.
May Allah help us keep our intentions to fast for His sake, and let all that we do be for him in shaa allah.
About the Author
Halah is the founder of The Hearts of Light and mother to three beautiful children, masha allah. When she is not mothering or making beautifully inspirational creations, she enjoys writing to inspire sisters. Please make dua for the health of sister Halah and her family.