Fasting in all religions is a spiritual and a religious experience. It is viewed as a sacred practice but in Islam, fasting is not just about stopping to eat or drink in the month of Ramadan. Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to dusk for 30 days, calling it Ramadan but they also practice being patient and indulge in more good deeds. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic Calendar and brings the best out of us Muslims. These 30 days are like a spiritual cleansing period for the Muslims. This is the reason it is celebrated with generosity, devotion, and religious fervor.
The month of Ramadan, along with its blessing, also brings a chance to enjoy food that normally we might avoid or eat once 3 or 4 months. We make special arrangements for Suhoor and Iftar and having guests over on either one of them is a normal affair. Having said that, last year Ramadan in Pakistan was a weird experience due to the COVID-19 crisis, and 2021 is set to be the same. But one thing that has changed is how we do shopping irrespective of the month or the occasion. Carrying on from last year, this year looks to be a good one for online grocery shopping as well. Now there’s more online grocery store in Islamabad and Rawalpindi then there were before COVID. Even if you want a bakery item, you can just order a tehzeeb home delivery.
But for many, online shopping is still a bit confusing. For those people, following tips and a shopping list for both Suhoor and Iftar will be very helpful.
Suhoor Shopping list
Suhoor or Sehar is a vital part of fasting and special preparations are made to eat a healthy meal to sustain the energy levels throughout the day. A good Suhoor will keep your energy reserves high and also prevents dehydration. In our part of the world, Ramadan has been experienced in the summers for the last decade or even more. But this time around, the weather will be a little better. However, the suhoor shopping list doesn’t change much.
- Yogurt: No matter the season, this is a product without which Suhoor is incomplete. Yogurt is known for its nutritional value; a bowl of yogurt in Suhoor will not only keep your energy levels high but will also keep your body cool and hydrated. Online marts all over the country have packaged yogurt, making it easier to buy fresh. Don’t worry if you buy it in bulk; since packaged yogurt comes with a long life storing them is not an issue; just remember to store them in your refrigerator.
- Wheat Flour: How can our Sehri be complete without bread? Yogurt and bread go hand in hand in Ramadan, and wheat flour is used to make it. Wheat is highly fibrous nutrition; it is important to consume it to not feel those hunger pangs in the afternoon. The best thing to do when doing grocery shopping for Ramadan is to buy the complete quantity required as it would also save you some money.
- Milk: Whether you prefer a glass of Lassi (buttermilk), a cup of tea, or just a glass of wholesome milk, this is one item that will keep you energized throughout the day. Due to Ramadan falling in the summer months, Lassi is the preferred drink to keep you going. Lassi is made from yogurt and milk, making it the perfect energy drink for summer fasting. Many people believe that drinking tea also doesn’t make you thirsty throughout the day. You can buy big bottles of milk that can be refrigerated and used for a few days at least.
- Vegetable Oil, Butter, and Ghee: Expect there to be some oily delights during the Sehri. Be it bread smeared in butter; there is going to be something made out of oil. If possible, avoid them since these can make you thirsty but if you cannot resist them, try buying organic. Use Olive, corn, or some other vegetable oil, because they are nutritious and don’t damage the body as opposed to some other oils. The same goes for butter and ghee; if they are organic, they will boost your energy levels. Online marts have all these items, organic items may cost a little more but they are sure healthier.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Nobody can deny the importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. Since Ramadan is falling at the start of the summer season, there might not be enough fruits and vegetables but those that are available should serve the purpose. Make a carrot juice or an apple milkshake in your Suhoor and feel the energy throughout the day. Try both vegetable and fruit juices; if not possible, try and eat some; both do the same thing. Online grocery stores in Islamabad and Rawalpindi now have fresh fruits and vegetables, so you don’t have to compromise your health during this Pandemic.
These are the basic items that will make your suhoors nutritious and economical. Remember, hydration is the key to surviving summer Ramadan; always eat light and drink juices that keep your stomach light and body cool.
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Iftar Shopping List
Suhoor’s are mostly kept at minimal but most households go all out for their Iftar preparations. No matter the season, Iftar is always full of delicious food and energy drinks. Have a look at the following items that are necessary for your Iftar table:
- Chickpeas, Lentils, and Beans: The most essential item on your dining table has to be Chaana or Lobia Chaat. This delight is the reason why those nasty hunger pangs take hold of us during that final hour. Mixed with yogurt, onions, tomatoes, and chilies, it is nutritious, delicious, and irresistible. Lentils are used for making Kebabs and other additives for Chaat, like Dhai Bhalla. When shopping for these items, buy them in bulk according to your family size and consumption. These items, when bought in bulk, cost less.
- Dairy: Both yogurt and milk are used in preparing for iftar. Yogurt more than milk because it is used in Chaat, while milk is used mainly for making shakes. You can also have cream in the iftar, mix it with fruits and enjoy the most energy-packed food on the table.
- Flour: There are some serious Pakora and Samosa lovers on the Iftar table; this is for them. While they might not serve the same nutritional value as some of the things mentioned above, never the less they cannot be ignored. Made from vegetables and sometimes chicken, both Pakoras and Samosa have a cultural value. But remember to eat 3, 4 times a week during Ramadan, and in small quantities, because first eating them regularly will harm your health secondly, you might feel thirsty the next day. Buy 1kg each of the desired flour from an online grocery store in Islamabad and Rawalpindi like ‘GradeOneMart’.
- Low-fat Oil: It is a fact that fried items cannot be resisted and missed during Ramadan. Be a little smart and buy low-fat oil for all your fried food. This will not affect your body as badly as regular oils. Health is very important; never compromise on buying low-fat oil; it might be a bit expensive but rest assured they will keep the cholesterol levels under control. Online marts have a variety of high-grade low-fat oils; buy them from them to get the best quality and good rates.
- Beverages: In summer Ramadan, water is the only drink that will quench your thirst. But to bring up the glucose levels, you will need some high-energy drinks. The most famous among Ramadan beverages is Rose syrup, commonly called Rooh Afza; as the name suggests, it’s made from the essence of rose petals. You can also have fresh juices and other drinks as long as they have nutritious value and replenishes you. It is not recommended to consume carbonated drinks; they will have a bad impact on the kidneys. Including lemon, mint in your drinks is also recommended.
- Fruits: Fruits are pretty much self-explanatory in their importance. Chop and mix some fruits to make Fruit mix. When different fruits are mixed, the nutritional value multiplies and it will also taste great. Mix it with a little cream and feel the energy coming back to your body in seconds. Fruits should always be bought fresh rather than stocked in quantity; if going out daily is a problem, online grocery stores in Islamabad and Rawalpindi will deliver them to your doorstep. These stores also have a wide variety of frozen berries; mix them in yogurt or eat with your oats.
No doubt Iftar is sometimes irresistible but beware of how much you eat. Ramadan is the perfect time to shed a few kilos but if you do not monitor what you eat, you will end up gaining a few instead.
General Shopping List
While the above items are categorized for Suhoor and Iftar timings following are the general items that are a must to complete your Ramadan shopping list.
- Meat: Chicken, mutton, and beef are all healthy and high in proteins. Proteins make up your muscles which in return produces energy and energy is something that you have to maintain during the day. Have some meat in your Sehar’s and Iftar’s and preferably in a curry or boiled form. A little meat will give your body the protein it needs to function on an empty stomach.
- Condiments: These include all your favorite spices, ketchup, and sauces. Eastern cuisines are never complete without them and so are the Iftar tables. Apart from flavors, salts and spices are rich in fiber, potassium, iron, and magnesium, which are an important part of your body chemistry.
- Sugar: Muslims worldwide have a sweet tooth and our dining tables are never complete without some sugary delights. Sugar also maintains insulin levels in our body which is essential after a whole day of fasting. Remember to buy sugar in quantities of 5 and 10 kg as they will cost less.
Summer Ramadan is a test of endurance and self-belief, which is the whole point of Ramadan. Following tips will be helpful for an easy Ramadan:
- Take proper care of your water intake, too much water will only swell your belly, and too little will make you thirsty. Be a little smart and take juices and milkshakes during Sehar and Iftar.
- When going out for work, cover your head so that you don’t suffer a heat stroke.
- During this COVID crisis, avoid going out for grocery shopping, order from an online grocery store in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
- Buying online can save you some extra cash which you can donate to the poor.
- When doing grocery shopping, always buy packaged products that can last the complete month; since it’s Ramadan, most of the items will get short at some point. To avoid the hassle, buy for the whole month.
- Always order fresh fruits and vegetables from online stores; they usually have the best rate and deliver at your doorstep.
- After buying meat, always store it in the deep freezer; this would keep the meat fresh and prevents rotting.
Ramadan is a month of feasts, but health is equally important. Always eat small portions and after Iftar, drink water moderately. Buy your groceries online and with the saved money, buy ration for the poor.
How Online Grocery Shopping Works?
Complete List of Ramadan 2021 Shopping:
- Wheat flour
- Vegetable oil, Butter, and Ghee
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Chickpeas, lentil, and beans
- Flour (All-purpose and preferred ones)
- Low-Fat Oils
- Condiments (Salts, spices, ketchup, and sauces)
The items on the list are the basic ones that a household might need during the Ramadan month. Additions can be made according to your budget and choices.