Whether it is Eid al Fitr (the Eid that directly follows Ramadan) or Eid Al Adhr (the festival of the sacrifice), Eid is a time for family and celebrations. However, that doesn’t mean that Eid can’t also be healthy.
This year Eid Al Adhr will take place from the evening of Sunday 11th August, and ends on the evening of Thursday, 15th August. We’ve put together some tips for you to enjoy this time with your friends, family and community, whilst still eating a healthy balanced diet:
1. Even if you are sharing food, plate yourself up a healthy balanced meal with at least 50% non-starchy vegetables and at least 25% protein, as per the Second Nature Healthy Balanced Plate.
2. Choose a healthy protein source. If you are having meat, opt for grilled or baked meats rather than fried e.g. kebabs, tagines or curry, or make the most of this lovely summer weather and enjoy a big barbecue.
3. Limit your serving size of carbohydrate. If you are having a traditional lamb or goat meal with rice, your rice should make no more than 25% of your plate. If you find you are still hungry at the end of the meal, you can always have more meat and veggies to fill yourself up
4. Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables! If you have a barbecue, make lots of side salads and dips e.g. moutabal, babaganoush, Greek salad, tabouli and fattoush. Soup is a nutritious option for a starter. If you’re making a tagine or curry, add lots of vegetables, or make a 2nd tagine or curry with beans and vegetables only. Beans and non-starchy vegetables go well with rice and couscous dishes too.
5. Eat mindfully. Take your time with your meal, chew each mouthful thoroughly, and put your cutlery down between mouthfuls.
6. Avoid sugary sweets and drinks. Take along some fresh fruit with cream and cinnamon, or yogurt bark so that you have a healthy dessert alternative. For drinks, always check the labels, and opt for drinks with less than 5 g sugar in 100 g. Chilled sparkling water with berries, sliced citrus fruit and mint can be a really delicious alternative. Iced tea, made from a mix of decaff and fruit teabags with fresh lemon, is also a refreshing option. There’s also a number of naturally flavoured sparkling water products on the market now too.
7. Plan your Eid days as well as possible, so that you know where you will be eating and when. This means that you can plan other healthy meals accordingly. For example, if you know you are going for a big family meal on the first lunch of Eid, make sure you have a satisfying, healthy breakfast such as an omelette or oats with nuts and seeds to keep you full throughout the morning
8. Be aware of your choices. For example, ‘I will allow myself to have X desserts’; ‘I will allow myself to have X soft drinks on X night and then will drink water on X night’. Setting yourself small goals like this can help you to enter a situation with more confidence.
9. Use this opportunity to get active with friends or family. Arrange some fun games and activities to get the whole party active.
10. Have a wonderful time! Research shows that having a strong community of friends or family around you will keep you healthy for longer.