Ah, Eid time. A beautiful time of happiness, thankfulness, joy and also, a lot of good food! While we definitely should enjoy our food and thank Allah for His blessings, be careful of what lurks around the Eid dinner table! I most certainly don’t want to be the “Grinch of Eid” and tell everyone they can’t eat anything! But, after hours of feasting, many people end up passed out on the couch, a full stomach bloated with food, and feeling nauseous from eating all day long.
What a mess!
We must be careful not to go from controlled and spiritual in Ramadan, to lazy indulgence all day on Eid! Of course, we can enjoy our food, but we must not go so far that you feel like your stomach is about to explode. You should also not gain back any weight you lost during Ramadan, all in a single day of Eid Feasting! I see a lot of poor food choices being made on Eid, that people later regret when they step onto the scale or try on their Eid gift clothing!
I know many people feel that they have gone through all of Ramadan not eating anything, so they “deserve” a day of indulgence. But, again, enjoying your food does NOT mean eating with abandon everything in sight! Islamically, overeating is DISCOURAGED. I find it sad that many people use Eid, a holiday celebrating our obedience to Allah , to engage in actions which are frowned upon in the Sunnah and by our Scholars of Islam, such as overeating, laziness and gluttony.
Imam Shafi’ said:
“I have not filled myself in 16 years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worshiping Allah.” 1
The scholar Al-Hasan al-Basri also said,
“The test of the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was food and it is your test until the Day of Judgment. It used to be said, ‘Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds.’ 2
It is also important to remember that Islam and our Sunnah promote BALANCE and MODERATION in all things, including our food! Let’s not turn Eid into a negative day of overeating! With a little bit of preparation, it doesn’t have to be this way!
1 – Have a light nutritious breakfast
I know most people wake up on Eid and the idea of eating is so exciting after log days of fasting, that everyone charges into the kitchen to grab a snack. This will usually contain sugary cereal, or even some leftover sweets from Ramadan. My advice: Don’t start off on the wrong foot!
We all know you’re going to be having a heavy dinner and probably a party lunch, too. There’s going to be a LOT of food, and probably a lot of sugar. So make sure you don’t overdose on sugar right from the morning! Try and make your Eid breakfast contain NO SUGAR to compensate for the treats later on. Great examples include:
– Green smoothie with cashew/almond milk, fruits & yogurt
– 1 slice whole grain toast with 2 whole eggs
– Fruits, light crème cheese, olives, whole grain crackers, etc.
– Foul beans, whole wheat pita,etc.
Try and eat the very healthiest thing you can imagine first thing in the morning, and don’t fill your whole stomach. There’s a lot of food coming later the day, so let’s keep it light! This is the key to applying BALANCE to Eid and allowing more wiggle room for enjoyment with more calories later on.
2 – SKIP the masjid goodie bag
You know when you’re heading out of the masjid, and a cute little girl tasked with handing out the Masjid “Eid bags” hands you a party bag filled with some treats? Here’s what I’ve found is usually in those bags: dates, hard sugar candies, miscellaneous cultural sugary treats, sugared hard raisins, some nuts or chocolate.
Now, what would you rather have? Your mom’s dessert at home that she spent hours the night before making, OR the hard sugar candies in your Masjid Eid bag? DON’T waste your day’s calories on those hard little sugar pieces! The goal is to keep it light until the feasting begins! If you are feeling peckish, go for any nuts or dates in the bag, and don’t have the rest. If you don’t want to waste… don’t take one at all. And don’t give your kids any, either, if you don’t want them wired on sugar before the day has even begun. I promise the fun stuff is coming later in the day, so why add a little bag of sugar that doesn’t even taste too good?
3 – The “Rule of One” for parties
I get that there will be a lot of decadent food waiting for you on Eid! And, all things can be enjoyed in moderation. But stay in control by using my favorite RULE OF ONE: you an only have ONE of each delicacy on your plate. And, you can only fill ONE plate! So that adds some portion control without you having to think about it. One samosa, or one pakora, or one baklava. This will prevent you from taking multiple pieces of these very high calorie foods – samosas can be up to 600-800 calories a pop, so beyond one piece is just not acceptable! If you want to try a variety of everything, turn this into a RULE OF HALVES and take a half a piece of all the foods you want to enjoy. You will get to taste everything, without regretting it later!
4 – Share a dessert plate with a friend
I know you want to enjoy your id deserts. But beware – Eid desserts are a force to be reckoned with and can stash thousands of calories in small portions! Many traditional desserts especially are EXTREMELY heavy so you need to be disciplined to make this work! Save yourself from going overboard by sharing a dessert plate with a friend, so you can both stay in control while still tasting everything. Remember the rule of one STILL applies – one piece of baklava on the plate means you both get to taste and enjoy HALF. That’s a perfectly reasonable way to have your cake and eat it, too!
“The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons.” 3
5 – Get in touch with what you really want
Remember, you CAN enjoy all foods n moderation. But too many people take Eid as an excuse to pig out all day, and they start eating JUST BECAUSE they are not fasting, and they have permission to eat all day. Put on the breaks. Stay in touch with your bodies needs. Ask yourself if you are really hungry and if you’re not, wait a few hours before you resume feasting! Many people eat all day but drink nothing. It’s easy to confuse THIRST for hunger! Keep a water bottle with you and make sure to stay hydrated by SIPPING WATER throughout the day. This will help you better understand what your body really wants!
Finally, remember that Eid is a day of thanking Allah for allowing us to complete Ramadan in beautiful worship and Obedience to him. When we scoff down food, we are not appreciating it – we hardly even realize how much we are eating! Slow down, and thank Allah with each bit. Slowing down also allows your mind to understand that you are full and prevents overeating! Don’t forget that family, friends and feasting are all blessing from Allah, and we should show our thankfulness by applying the proper Sunnah of food – MODERATION and BALANCE!
About the Author
Amina Khan is the founder of Amanah Fitness, an organization aimed at fitness & nutrition education towards a healthier Ummah! Amanah Fitness seeks to improve health and wellness through health, nutrition and exercise programs of the highest quality. Amanah Fitness has prepared a special HEALTHY EATING & EXERCISE IN RAMADAN eBook – Grab your copy HERE at www.amanahfitness.com/ramadan! Be sure to like Amanah Fitness on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amanahfitness for more free health advice!