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{RAMADAN READY series #5} Ramadan Menu Planning & Shopping

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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I started this series a few years ago. I have updated each year, adding more tips and suggestions ... and will do so as I go along)


Today is our fifth installment of a series of posts {Ramadan Ready}. There ‘a lot of things going on here these days, with only about 10days until we welcome Ramadan. 

With Ramadan just weeks away, people are in super-hyper preparation mode. And people are trying to get as much done as possible for the arrival of this anticipated and honoured guest.

For those, who are not familar Ramadan is the Holy Month of intense worship for Muslims around the world. It is a month of worship, which requires a Muslim to fast and abstain from worldly pleasures, from dawn to dusk, consecutively for twenty-nine or thirty days. Muslims in this month, may still eat after the hours of fasting . 

While Allah swt is the best of planners and nothing happens without HIS will,  our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) advised us 
tie your camel.

 Suhoura meal eaten before the sun begins to rise and Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sunset.To have food ready on time - we all know Iftar is not as forgiving as a lunch or dinner affair when it comes to serving food on time! Not only does the food have to be ready, but it also has to be in the best condition: fresh, warm and definitely good. If you can relate to this, read on, and learn from the experts.

And while Iftar is a time for family gathering, breaking bread together and spirtual renewel, the thought of making heathly and nourishing meals for your family and guests, while fasting may be daunting for some. While a Muslim is to fast from just before sunrise to sunset, food is still a significant aspect of the fasting month.Muslim partaking in a Ramadan fast should ensure as near to adequate nutrition and hydration as possible during the dark hours, obviously also allowing for sufficient sleep. The right types of foods need to be consumed for a healthy fast and to provide enough energy to sustain the fasting person throughout the day.  So today, instead of a recipe I am sharing some tips and tricks for planning and shopping for your Ramadan month.

 If you want to fast sincerely for HIM, HE will make fasting easy for you during the entire month. Cleanse yourself of any desire to show off during this month. And keep re-checking yourself althrought the month.

While my life is full of spontaneity, I love to write lists. Lists for what I need to do. Lists which lessons I'm teaching at schools. Lists for my hopes, dreams, goals ... you name I have a list for it LOL. Making list maybe typical anale and type A personality, it makes my life run smoother. It makes me calm in the middle of chaos. And in the middle of the pre-Ramadan scramble my lists are right saving my life, my sanity and my deen!

As I mentioned before the key to a productive Ramadan is to prepare for it well in advance. Ramadan is the time for intense worship, not the time to fiddle to spent hours aimlessly wondering what to prepare for iftar, flipping through cookbooks or the Internet or even wasting hours outside shopping, when you should be reading the Qur'an or other acts of worship.

After I have completed my BIG Ramadan clean of my house, I follow 4 steps to simplify my Ramadan Kitchen.

  1. Review my kitchen and tools
  2. Plan menus
  3. Write a shopping list
  4. Go shopping


Before Ramadan is the best time to review all the tools needed for preparing our iftar dinners. Are your pots and pans worn out? Do the handles need to be screwed on tighter? Perhaps replaced with new ones. Do you have enough dishes and service ware to accommodate your family and guests. I know in my house, with children dishes break. Pots get worn. While there is no need to go out and buy fancy china, it is good to have all the needed tools and settings needed. It is very unpleasant and difficult to find yourself cooking or in the middle of iftar finding out you are missing something essential. It is also a good time to check out the state of your fridge, freezer, and stove. Are they in good working condition. If not, before Ramadan is the time to repair them.

Menu planning is one of the easiest ways of preparing for ease in the Ramadan Kitchen. A month (perhaps more) before Ramadan start thinking of your family's favorite dishes. Or even better, ask them what they would like. Having a family meeting to discuss the meals not only tackles the question of what to cook but gives you a chance to talk about the purpose of Ramadan with your children.

When brainstorming think about what in season, what ingredients are readily available and economical. Keep in mind, in the North Hemisphere it's summer or spring, so try to look for lighter meals. And in the Southern Hemisphere you might opt for more heartier meals. Look through some cookbooks or online to get some ideas. Write down your id a as in notebook. Consider testing out new recipes, to see how easy or difficult they are to prepare. But also if your family likes them or not. 

If you are a novice cook, learn how to prepare base recipes, that can be mixed and matched to create several unique dishes with ease.  

 Then set about a half hour to an hour aside to think and plan out the menus. Have a notebook, pen, and calendar ready. Take out your notebook of ideas. Look them over. Cross out any that you know you cannot realistically make for Ramadan. And also recipes you have taste-tested with your family and were unsuccesfful. You should aim to have about 10-15 dishes on your list to work from. Mark the ones your family loves, thos will be repeated during the month.

Now grab your calendar. Start filling in the calendar with the meal ideas. Also include suhour ideasn extras like beverages and bread. And don't forget  meals for members of your family who aren't fasting like young children, the elderly and menstrating, pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you have people in your family who will not be fasting, also plan for them. Keep in mind, you may have leftovers, these can be served for suhour, the next iftar or given as sadaqa. Post your calendar somewhere visible in your kitchen.


Now take out your notebook again, and start writing down ingredients you will need for your meals. Calculate the ingredients according to the amounts you need for your family. Remember to adjust recipes according to your family's size. While most tedious aspect of the whole Ramadan preparation, it is an essential step to save you time and money.

Remember to check out the local adverts for bargains.

I usually do two different shopping trips. One trip for non-perishable items that I can store easily once before Ramadan. And weekly trips for fresh food items like vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, and eggs. It is easiest to have a large sheet of paper, writing down on one side all the non-perishable items. Remember to include sometimes missed must haves like cleaning supplies, storage containers, food storage bags, Eid decorations, craft supplies (if you will be doing some Ramadan/Eid crafting with your children) oil, napkins, water , dates, supplements, medicines and also any kitchen tools you may need. And on the other side (right-hand side) write all the fresh items that need to bought.

Before Ramadan is also the time to do all your Eid clothing and gift shopping. Beat the crowds. Beat the prices increases. Save yourself hassle and time away from worship and shop early. Will you be making Eid cookies and sending them to family, friends, neighbours or even to the mosque? Remember to also include all non-items like cookie trays, plastic wrap, conditioners gift wrap and tape if you will be wrapping them. Write all these on your shopping list, on the left-hand side with all the non-perishable food items.

Post the list to your fridge, so you can easily add more items as needed.


Shopping for Ramadan may vary depending on the area in which you live. But also your schedule. Think about the places near you that you may go for your pre-Ramadan shopping that offer more efficient shopping and better bargains.  Plan to do your major shopping before Ramadan. Buy all or as much as you can, from your lists, from the items written on the left-hand side (non-perishable foods and non-food items) You may still need to do some shopping Ramadan, but with the most of it out of the way, there will be less hassle for you. 

Opt for places where you can buy all your items in one area like a a open farmer's marketplace, a supermarket or mall. Buy your Eid clothing and gifts too, before Ramadan.

Look for supermarkets open late and near your local mosque. So you can easily do some of your shopping after the prayers are offered, while beating the heat of midday sun. And also shopping after eating, we probably will not be tempted to buy useless items not on our list. 

Check out the local religion-based programs malls may be having during the month. They may be benefical but entertaining for children. 

Many Muslim countries change their opening hours during Ramadan, so find out the shopping hours where you live, so you can shop with ease. And not have to make severals trips. 

Optionally, if you find you need to do shopping during Ramadan, go to open markets early in the morning for all your fresh foods like meats, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Going early, you will be less tired but also beat the heat of summer. Optionally go right before the closing of the market, as vendours tend to sell their goods at lower prices before closing.

And ther great option is buying ingredients you know you will be using in large amounts in bulk like meats, potatoes, onions, etc. You can also team up with another family to buy in bulk, then split the ingredients. This can save alot of money. Optionally, buy in bulk and donate the excess to the mosque or a soup kitchen. This can earn you reward from Allah.

Consider buying food items like bread or milk, that normally people buy daily in larger amounts, then freeze. These can easily be frozen and thawed out when needed.

Be sure, you are able to bring your purchases back home easily. If you don't have a car, consider going shopping with someone who does. Or if you know someone without a car, offer them a ride. This is another great way to earn reward.

Remember to bring your list. And stick to it.


Once home, break down your purchases. After you have cleaned out your kitchen cabinets, fridge and freezer you should have enough room for your new items. Portion out your meats and other frozen foods so that you have the amounts you need for recipes. This makes life easier. Store newer items in the back, while putting older items in the front makes sure you waste less. And be sure to label and date your portioned out foods, this makes life easier. 

O Allah… make my prayers, my deeds, my sacrifice, my life, and my death for you alone…
Don't forget to check out my Ramadan boards on Pinterest. Ramadan ReadySuhour RecipesIftar Dinner RecipesEid al Fitr and Oriental Sweets. Feel free to share your ideas on Facebook.

REMEMBER Ramadan is not about temporary change but rather a much needed jump start to a year of positive change, inshAllah! Bismillah.
If you liked or benefited from any part of this site, please consider commenting and letting me know! Your comments really encourage me and make smile. And don't forget to remember me in your dua and prayers. 




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