Ramadan 2020

Ramadan is almost upon us and this year it is going to be challenging for many Muslims around the world with the pandemic going on. Please remember to observe social distancing guidelines and stay safe.

For the last few months I have kind of fallen off the Slimming World wagon and have just been eating what I wanted. This Ramadan, I intend on fully getting back on track with my food habits and hopefully will carry on after Ramadan ends too.

I have done my first week meal planner for Ramadan to include foods I enjoy eating and all part of the plan. My healthy extras are mainly being used at Suhoor time with my meals at Iftaar mostly being Free Food or low in syns. All the recipes can be found here on my blog. I hope this is useful for anyone following Slimming World or anyone that just wants some ideas on what to eat!

I will open my fasts everyday with a date (syns) and fresh fruit with plenty of water, followed by the main meal. I intend on keeping active this Ramadan by doing home walking videos. If you’ve not tried this before, do give it ago. It is amazing! There are lots of Youtube videos of walking at home to choose from, I usually follow ‘Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone’. There are different miles to chose from and you can work up a sweat without having to do any burpees or squats! I will do around 3 of these a week.

What are your plans for this Ramadan? Are you going to be following Slimming World or being active at all? Remember this planner is just to give you an idea of what I will be eating, you don’t have to follow it to the letter or follow it at all. Everyone likes different foods and with SW it is so easy to adapt many dishes, it is not all just salad! Plan meals you’ll enjoy eating that fits with the plan. I know some people find there are too many carbs on my planner but with SW carbs are not banned! The carbs included in my Iftaar are Free Foods (apart from the pitta bread on day 7), and if you are a SW member, then you’ll know that Free Foods are unlimited and you don’t have to weigh, measure or count quantities of these foods in any way. Remember the two golden rules of a healthy diet:

  1.  A wide variety of food
  2.  Everything in moderation

If you follow the plan properly, you will lose weight. Measure your healthy extras accurately and count your syns carefully. It is as simple as that!

Hope you all have a blessed Ramadan. Please remember my family and I in your prayers.

Ramadan Mubarak x

Ramadan 2020 Planner Week1

Ramadan 2020 Planner Week1

 

Date & Banana Loaf

I absolutely love bananas, they’re one of my favourite fruit. I am pretty sure I eat them once a day! But once they start going a bit brown, they are no longer edible for me personally but they are perfect for baking. For best results in any banana cake/loaf recipe, make sure your bananas are as ripe as possible for a sweeter, richer cake. The darker they are the better your cake will taste.

With Ramadan just around the corner, most muslim homes will have plenty of dates around so this is a great way of using them up differently. If you can, use Medjool dates. They’re so good for baking (as well as eating them on its own!). And bananas and dates go perfectly well together, making this a great recipe for a lovely Suhoor treat. I love toasting a slice of the loaf when it is a day or two old and add butter to it before eating. It is soooo good! Give it a try! I am the only one that eats bananas in my household so this always lasts a good few days stored in the fridge once cooled.

I like using dark muscovado sugar for a richer bake, but light brown soft sugar will work just as good. Try not to use granulated sugar or even caster sugar for this. You need to get soft brown sugar for better results. Hope you enjoy this recipe, this is a good accompaniment to a whipped coffee.

If you don’t like dates, you can replace them with chopped walnuts or try this recipe here instead.

I used a small loaf tin and it makes around 10 good slices.

Ingredients

  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 140g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 100g chopped dates

 

Date & Banana Loaf, ready for oven

Date & Banana Loaf, ready for oven

Method

Pre heat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a loaf tin and set aside.

Beat the sugar and eggs together till light in colour.

In a separate bowl, sieve together all the dry ingredients and set aside till needed.

Add the mashed bananas and chopped dates to the egg mix, mixing it all well together. Slowly add the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter and ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Leave the loaf to cool slightly in the tin before removing it from the tin.

Date & Banana Loaf

Date & Banana Loaf

 

Bulgur Wheat Salad

I love bulgur wheat and this is a very easy to make recipe. It is perfect for a picnic, lunchboxes or a side dish. You can add any fillings of your choice and change the herbs if you prefer. 40g of feta cheese is a healthy extra A choice, so bear that in mind when adding your cheese. As always, feel free to tag me in your creations. I love seeing my recipes recreated.

Serves: 4

Syns: FREE, when using cheese as part of your healthy extra A choice

Time Taken: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Bulgur Wheat Salad

Bulgur Wheat Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 oxo vegetable cube
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced pepper
  • Tin of chickpeas (drained)
  • Chilli flakes
  • Chopped fresh parsley and coriander
  • Feta cheese

Method

Put the bulgur wheat in a pan with the boiling water and crumble the oxo cube to it. Cook on a low heat, covered, until all the water has evaporated and the bulgur is cooked.

Whilst the bulgur wheat is cooking, prepare and your veg and herbs you want to add to it.

Once the bulgur is cooked, use a fork to fluff up the grains and let it cool completely before adding the veg and herbs.

Mix through some feta cheese and season to taste

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

I posted a poll on my Instagram today asking if people wanted to see my meal plan for this Ramadan, and the majority said yes so here it is!

I have included below my main food plan for Suhoor and Iftar.

I will open my fast every day with water and a variety of fruit – watermelon, berries, mango, grapes etc. and one date (3 syns for each Medjool date). After praying I will eat my main meal with coffee and try to drink as much water as possible (I aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water, not all in one go! This will be drunk throughout the night up until Suhoor). I don’t intend on eating a dessert, although I will be making it for my family. I will be using my syns on dates instead or within my meals and I may have a cereal bar or a chocolatey treat with a coffee.

Hope this helps those following Slimming World plan. For my Food Optimising guide through Ramadan please click here.

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

Ramadan Mubarak x

Banana & Date Smoothie

I know a lot of people usually struggle to eat Suhoor (pre dawn meal during Ramadan) so here is a recipe that although is quite high in syns. it is still within the recommended daily syns allowance. I like to use unsweetened almond milk for this recipe for a nutty flavour but you can use any other milk of your choice. Just remember to check what the health extra allowance is for the milk you’re using. Top tip: try to use the ripest banana you have as this will make the smoothie even sweeter without having to add any extra syns for sweetening the smoothie.

Banana & Date Smoothie

Banana & Date Smoothie

 

Serves: 1

Syns: 13 syns plus part of healthy extra A choice

Time Taken: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, chopped
  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Method

Remove the pit from the dates and mix all the ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Mary Berry’s Cornflake Cookies

My daughter made these cookies over the weekend following one of Mary Berry’s recipe (all credit to Mary Berry for this amazing recipe). The recipe stated you could get 34 cookies but she made them slightly bigger and only got 18 cookies out of the mixture. The whole recipe is 135 syns (using light margarine, more syns if you use regular margarine), if you make more or less cookies then you can adjust the syns accordingly (divide the total syns value by the amount of cookies made to find out individual syn value).

These cookies were absolutely delicious – crunchy on the outside and a soft cake like texture in the middle. I am so glad I took the time to work out the syns, I honestly thought these would work out at much higher syn value! And the size she made them were just perfect and one was enough, even for me who has the worst sweet tooth ever! Not sure if I would have eaten more if I had not been fasting that day but I think if they were smaller I could have easily had a few more in one sitting.

If you do make these and make 34 out of the mixture then each cookie is only 4 syns which is not bad at all for homemade cookies.

Someone on Instagram suggested using Crunchy Nut Cornflakes instead of regular, which sounds absolutely divine and I thought the syns would be higher but it is not! So if you replace cornflakes with crunchy nut cornflakes let me know how they turn out please. I haven’t bought crunchy nut cornflakes in years, it used to be one of my fave cereals. I could easily just eat bowlfuls of them pre SW.

These cookies will be a fab addition to our Eid bakes this year, they’re perfect to give as gifts to friends and neighbours too. Everyone loves home baked goodies and these are super easy to make.

Feel free to let me know how your cookies turn out and tag me on your bakes. Happy baking!

Mary Berry's Cornflakes Cookies

Mary Berry’s Cornflakes Cookies

 

Ingredients

  • 225g light margarine
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 50g cornflakes, lightly crushed

Method

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease or line a baking sheet.

Beat the margarine and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy then add the egg.

Slowly mix in the flour until combined. If the mixture is too soft to handle, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Wet your hands lightly and roll the mixture into balls. Coat with cornflakes. Arrange on the baking sheet with enough space to flatten slightly with your hand (the cookies will slightly spread during baking).

Bake for around 20 minutes until browned around the edges. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies will get crunchier as they cool.

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

Paneer is one of my favourite foods! I don’t cook it often as it is quite high in syns so making it in Ramadan is perfect for me as I don’t tend to use syns like I normally would. There just isn’t enough time to eat any snacks!

25g of paneer is 4.5 syns, I used 150g in this recipe for 3 of us but there was enough to feed 4 people. I guess we just don’t eat as much as we normally would in Ramadan! If your serving is for more or less people then adjust the syns accordingly. We had this served with a pea pilau & salad.

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

Chickpea & Paneer Curry

 

Serves: 4

Syns: 7 syns

Time Taken: 25 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 150g paneer, cubed
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp bassar (or any curry powder of your choice)
  • 2 Maggie seasoning cubes (or salt to taste)

Method

Spray a pan with low cal spray and fry the paneer till its lightly golden and set aside.

Fry the onions with the chilli flakes and cumin seeds till golden. Add water if the onions are starting to stick to the pan. Add the ginger/garlic paste, tomatoes, seasoning cubes and bassar. Cook for around 5-8 minutes (adding a bit of water if needed) till the tomatoes have soften. I then blitz this with a hand blender so that there aren’t any lumps in the sauce. You don’t have to this, it is completely optional but we prefer it this way.

Add the tinned chickpeas without draining the water, cook for a few minutes till the sauce reduces and then add the fried paneer.

Ramadan Meal Planner v.2018

One of the best ways to be successful at food optimising during Ramadan is to plan, plan and plan. Planning is the key to success.

I already have a 7 day planner I did last year. Please click HERE to see the 2017 version of the planner. That page also has a lot of information on how to food optimise during Ramadan. I will be tweaking the planner slightly so it fits into my routine this Ramadan.

As the days are so long and the time we can eat & drink in is really really short (approx. 9pm to 2.30am), I intend on planning my days from iftar to suhoor.

So, fasting starts this Thursday. For me personally I’m changing my view of the ‘day’ – the time in which you can eat. I’ll try to explain:

The suhoor meal I will have on Thursday I will be counting the syns/healthy extras on Wednesday. That means everything I eat from iftar on Thursday night till suhoor very early on Friday morning will be counted as the same day.

You don’t have to follow my logic if it doesn’t make sense to you. Ramadan Mubarak!!!

Ramadan 2018 Meal Planner

Mithai!

Mithai an Indian Subcontinent Sweet

Mithai

One of the most common syn value questions I get asked quite often from both my members and other people is the syn values for Mithai and related products. These delicious treats originating from the Indian Subcontinent are often eaten at special occasions like weddings and Eid. Well you can eat (and buy them) them all year round if you wish but be careful of over consuming these lovely delicacies as they are extremely high in sugar and fat content!

To get accurate syn values for mithai is not an easy task. Mithai vary from shop to shop, there are many variations in recipes, different sizes and unfortunately they never come with nutritional information on the boxes.

I have done some research and tried to work out average syn values for common mithai so my members can have an idea on how many syns roughly to count for them. I hope this is useful especially with Ramadan coming up, the Eid celebrations straight after and then particularly the summer Wedding season. Please bear in mind that these are average syns values, not exact figures so please use your best judgement and adjust syn values accordingly. If you are still not sure of syn values, it is better to over estimate rather than under estimate to protect your weight loss.

The values are per one standard ‘shop bought’ piece unless specified.

I have to admit I was so shocked with the syn value for Halwa Puri with Chana. It is crazy how high it is!

Balushai – 6.5 syns

Barfi – 6.5 syns

Bessan Ladoo- 7 syns

Boondi- 13.5 syns

Jalebi – a single piece weighing on average 25g is 4.5 syns

Gajar Halwa – 13.5 syns

Gulab Jamun – 7.5 syns

Habshi Halwa – 41 syns

Halwa Puri with Chana – 60 syns

Kaju Katli – 3 syns

Kheer – 1/2 cup serving 14 syns

Ladoo – 12.5 syns

Patissa – 7.5 syns

Rasgulla – 9.5 syns

Shakarpara – 6.5 syns

White Cham Cham – 9 syns