This post is sponsored by Zabiha Halal
by Mona Ismaeil
Ramadan is upon us and that means gathering friends and family for Iftar. It is a wonderful time to come together, share delicious food and to reflect on all of the blessings Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us. At the same time, hosting an Iftar can be a big task. This is especially true if you are fasting or you have other large responsibilities like a family with young children.
How can you make this task easier?
1. Plan Ahead:
- Make a list of the dishes you plan to cook. Be specific, not just salad, or veggies. Plan well what you will make so that you have clear idea of what you, what you need and perhaps what a guest can bring with them. Try and focus on 1 or 2 main meals. They should be healthy and hearty and the rest of the dishes should complement the meal. If you choose to make too many large and complicated meals, you will be overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do and will have so much left over or wasted food.
- Grocery shop ahead of time. If there are items such as pastas, legumes, spices, dates, etc that you may use over and over again during Ramadan, be sure to stock up so you don’t have to keep revisiting them. Just one less thing to think about.
- Start your meal preps early too. That means washing and cutting veggies. Also, marinating meats and poultry so they are tender and flavorful.
- Guest list. Be sure you know how many people will actually be coming. Do not leave it open for guests to just show up or bring along friends without your knowledge. There is a big difference between cooking for 5 and 15. Also, ensure you know of any allergies. You wouldn’t want to have someone come and not find enough dishes they can enjoy.
- Prepare your outfit, your children’s’ outfits, etc. Nobody wants to deal with a fight over which dress to wear or search for leotards that are in the wash just before guests arrive.
2. Day of:
- Start cooking early. Start with the dishes you know will take the longest and also the dishes you know can be reheated just before.
- Ask for help. That can mean you bring your younger sister to watch the kids, or send your husband out with the kids so you can finish. Perhaps you bring a friend to come cook with you.
- Have a clear outline of timing for yourself. That means knowing that you need to have your meals completed by what time. Or What time you need to start getting dressed. What time are guests arriving? What time is Iftar? What time is Taraweeh?
- Plan for anything to happen! Although we all pray that things will go perfectly, we have to consider that things can go awry! Have some simple frozen meals on hand. Have some extra chairs and seating. Have an extra outfit ready.
- Create an environment that goes beyond the food. Yes, Iftar is a big thing but encourage conversation about Ramadan. Perhaps you can play some nasheeds for the children and your guests. Make sure Maghrib is part of your plan and if possible, encourage guests to go to Taraweeh.
3. Engaging the Children:
- Have a space for them to play that is out of the way. This could be a bedroom/playroom, basement, back yard, etc.
- Print some coloring pages and have some crayons.
- Play some nasheeds that they may know.
- As kids get tired with the late Iftars, perhaps have a movie they can lay down and watch
- HAVE KID FRIENDLY DISHES!!!!!!!!
What tips do you have for a successful Iftar?
Inshallah we wish that your Iftar is a total success and your family and friends come together in the love and generosity of Allah (swt).
About the Author
Mona Ismaeil is the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a witty 3 year old girl and a sweet newborn boy. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.