A Guide To Eating Well During Ramadan (Plus Recipes!)

Eating the right foods at suhoor and iftar can make for a better (and easier) fasting experience. Here are some tips from a pro.
A Guide To Eating Well During Ramadan (Plus Recipes!)(Photo: iStock)

Ramadan is upon us, and Muslims around the world will observe this holy month by abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset each day, engaging in more charitable acts and focusing on heightened spirituality and worship. It can be difficult to maintain the same levels of energy and hydration when fasting, which makes it all the more important to be mindful of what you eat during the hours between iftar (breaking fast) and eating suhoor (the early morning meal).

Huda Amareh, an Ottawa-based registered dietitian, is used to getting a lot of questions prior to Ramadan. Most of them centre on how to eat nutritious and filling foods but, also, whether it’s possible to still indulge in cultural dishes—which remains a big aspect of Ramadan, with various cultures having their own customary meals specific to this month. "It's all about encouraging people to know that at the end of the day, food is not your enemy. Food is something that makes you happy and is a big part of your life. There are definitely ways to eat what you want to eat by just having a sense of balance," she says.

Amareh, who provides dietetic care to clients in Ontario through her website Amana Nutrition, broke down what types of foods you should focus on for both suhoor and iftar to stay full and healthy without compromising taste. Read on for her tips, along with some Chatelaine recipes to make it easier for you this season.

What should I eat for suhoor?

“The best practice for suhoor is to, first of all, have it,” Amareh says. Many people opt out of waking up to eat the early morning meal in favour of precious sleep time, but you’re doing yourself a disservice in the long run. There's a reason why Islamic tradition calls for us to have suhoor, she adds. "There's a scientific reason. It’s because if you have something to eat, particularly something that has protein in there, complex carbs [and], you'll feel fuller for longer."

Drinking water is also very important. Amareh suggests people try to shoot for eight to nine cups of water per day, broken up at various times—two cups at suhoor, two cups at iftar and the remaining four cups throughout the night.

As for specific dishes, she says when she was still a student and had less time, her suhoor would include an omelet with a lot of vegetables, whole grain bread and water. These days she prefers Greek yogurt (which has more protein than regular yogurt) with granola and fruit. "It's great because Greek yogurt gives you protein, granola would give you whole grains and that fibre you need to sustain yourself [and] I would also have fruits, in particular berries, as they're not only yummy but also a good source of fibre.” If she’s in a rush, she’ll settle for a breakfast smoothie with protein powder.

What should I eat for iftar?

"We're all so used to seeing the food prepared right before iftar and wanting to eat it as soon as possible. [But] how often are you actually able to function right after having a huge meal, right after you've broken your fast?" While it may be difficult to do, Amareh says iftar should be light. A date, some fruit and water are good before going to pray maghrib and then returning to eat dinner. That break between iftar and dinner allows your body to digest what it's been given.

For the post-maghrib meal, she tends to refer people back to Canada's Food Guide, which she says is a great tool for planning meals. As per the guide, each meal should include half a plate of fruits and vegetables, one-fourth plate of proteins and one-fourth plate of whole grains. Having the fluidity and freedom to make what you want is important, Amareh says, because Ramadan is an international occasion. "There's always this misconception that cultural foods aren’t healthy. And that's not the case at all. It's all about figuring out if it's in line with health recommendations.”

As for particular dishes, she says it could include something like chicken curry with whole wheat naan and veggies, maybe asparagus, spinach and bell peppers. Amareh, who is Somali, recommends chicken or beef paired with sabaayad, or Somali flatbread, and some berries or fruit. "It's all about finding what works for you, as long as you have those key components," she says. And, of course, don’t forget to drink water.

We’ve gone through the Chatelaine recipe archives and found some recipes fit for suhoor, post-iftar and snacking in between. Ramadan Mubarak!

Suhoor recipes

Overnight Chia Oatmeal

Wake up to a healthy, filling breakfast waiting for you in the fridge. Get this overnight chia oatmeal recipe. (And here's a handy how-to for more information on overnight oats). 

Overnight chia oatmeal in three different mason jars—two short and one tall—on a yellow table beside a sliced banana and yellow spoons and a carton of oat milk(Photo: Christie Vuong; Food Styling: Sage Dakota; Prop Styling: Andrea McCrindle)

Quick Quinoa Porridge

This hearty quinoa porridge is the perfect base for berries, toasted coconut, nuts, dried fruit and maple syrup. Get this quick quinoa porridge recipe. 

A Guide To Eating Well During Ramadan (Plus Recipes!)


Huevos Rancheros

This recipe, if used with whole-wheat tortillas, will give you something healthy to look forward to in the middle of the night. It's also a great option for vegetarians. Get this huevos rancheros recipe.

huevos rancheros salsa refried beansPhoto, Sian Richards.

Vegan Chickpea Omelette Omurice

We turned omurice–a traditional Japanese omelet and rice dish–into a vegan version by turning an easy chickpea flour pancake into the omelet wrap. Get this chickpea omelette omurice recipe.

vegan omurice on round neutral plate on pink backgroundPhoto, Carmen Cheung.

Southwestern Beans On Toast

Filling and tasty, this is an easy way to get what you need without compromising taste. Get this southwestern beans on toast recipe

How to use a can of beans: Make southwestern beans on toastPhoto, Roberto Caruso.


Green Smoothie Bowl

Simplify your morning with an energizing smoothie bowl and a pared-down, stress-free routine. These easy, eye-pleasing meals begin with a fruit and yogurt base and are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins. Get this green smoothie bowl recipe. (If green isn't your colour, check out our gallery of 9 energizing breakfast smoothies.)

Green goddess smoothie bowlPhoto, Sian Richards.

Iftar recipes

Sheet Pan Orange Chicken with Sweet Potato

There is nothing better than a one-sheet quick post-iftar dinner, and this one involves baked veggies paired with sweet and tangy chicken. Get this sheet pan orange chicken with sweet potato recipe.

A Guide To Eating Well During Ramadan (Plus Recipes!)Photo, Erik Putz. Food styling, Matthew Kimura. Prop styling, Madeleine Johari.

Vegetarian Bengali Khichuri

This meal is perfect when you’re in a rush but craving something satisfying. Get this vegetarian Bengali khichuri recipe

Vegetarian Bengali Khichuri. Radiyah Chowdhury, Assistant Editor.Produced by Irene Ngo.nPhotography by Maya Visnyei. Food styling by Michael Elliott. Prop styling by Catherine Doherty. Makeup and hair by Sophie Hsin. Wardrobe by Space Vintage. Creative direction by Sun Ngo.

Baked salmon with acorn squash

A tangy and savoury seafood option with all the elements of a nutritious meal. Get this baked salmon with acorn squash recipe

baked salmon with squashBaked salmon with acorn squash. Photo, Erik Putz.

Skillet Shrimp Tikka Masala

One-pan wonders bring big flavours to the iftar table (with less mess)! Get this skillet shrimp tikka masala recipe.

skillet shrimp tikka masala with frozen peasPhoto, Erik Putz.


Roasted Chickpea Salad

Full of flavour and easy to make, this is a salad that doubles as a meal. Get this roasted chickpea salad recipe.

Roasted Chickpea Salad recipePhotography by Erik Putz. Food styling by Matthew Kimura. Prop styling by Madeleine Johari.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Ready in 35 minutes, this recipe delivers all the things you're looking for in a warming bowl of chili: it's filling, saucy and spicy. Get this vegetarian chili recipe

Vegetarian Chili in blue bowl with fresh cut limes and jalapeños on side as garnishPhoto, Erik Putz. Prop Styling, Catherine Doherty. Food Styling, Michael Elliot.

Snack recipes


Hummus is a delicious and healthy substitute for many other types of spreads that tend to be high in fat. (It’s packed with protein, and it’s also a good source of folate and fibre.) Eat with whole wheat pita bread or vegetables. Check out this guide on how to make hummus and get this hummus recipe

Overhead shot of chickpea light brown spread in a white and grey bowlPhoto, Carmen Cheung. Food styling, Ashley Denton. Prop styling, Madeleine Johari.

Creamy Labneh With Spiced Nuts

This thick and creamy Middle Eastern yogurt cheese is the perfect snack. Serve with mixed veggies and flatbread. Get this labneh with spiced nuts recipe

Labneh with dukkah and fresh vegetablesPhoto, Roberto Caruso


Mushrooms On Toast

The plant-based cooking chronicled on Bri Beaudoin's Evergreen Kitchen blog never feels like a compromise. Case in point: this hearty toast with fungi, a mighty B.C. crop. Get this mushrooms on toast recipe.

white bean spread on toast with mushrooms on topPhoto courtesy of Anguel Dimov and @evergreenkitchen.

Chocolate Date Truffles

These may look fancy, but they're simple to make and make a great snack you can keep on hand. Get this chocolate date truffle recipe.

A Guide To Eating Well During Ramadan (Plus Recipes!)

Originally published in 2021; updated in 2024.


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