Slim Pickings: Low-Cal Iftar Options
Iftar buffets can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, especially after 15 hours without food. And eating too much stodgy stuff in such a short space of time, and late at night, isn’t great for your waistline either. Luckily, Dubai’s top chefs have done us proud this year, creating some delicious but different dishes to break your fast with. Thanks, guys!
Harira Moroccan Soup
Good for: Easy digestion at iftar.
After so long without food, it’s important to ease your body back into eating slowly. So starting with a soup is perfect. Blades restaurant’s harira soup is made with chickpeas, lentils and other vegetables, which provide a great mix of slow-release carbohydrates and vitamins. Infused with ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cilantro, parsley, celery and onion, it’s got a bit of a kick too, which we love.INFO: Harira Moroccan soup, Blades, Al Badia Golf Club, 04 601 0111, www.albadiagolfclub.ae.
Good for: Keeping you full after suhoor.
This traditional Emirati fave combines locally reared lamb, vegetables, herbs and spices and is served with fresh bread. It offers a good combination of protein and carbohydrates to keep fasters full for longer and is a popular dish at iftar buffets.
INFO: Lamb thareed, Anise, InterContinental Festival City, 04 2329095, www.ichotelsgroup.com.
Torched Salmon Salad
Good for: Fibre and all of the right fats.
The salmon’s packed with protein and good fats while the salad is full of fibre and nutrients to replace what’s been lost during the fasting hours. The fibre’s great for kick-starting the digestive system after a long spell without food.
INFO: Torched salmon salad, Flavours, Sheraton Abu Dhabi, 02 677 3333, www.sheratonabudhabihotel.com.
White Fish Charmolla
Good for: Everything. The perfect protein and carbohydrate combo.White fish charmolla, served with saffron couscous and Mediterranean vegetables is a fantastic iftar choice for seafood fans. The dish originates from Morocco and features figs, dates and almonds for energy, hammour and hard-boiled eggs for protein, prunes for fibre and spices including saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and ground red pepper for flavour. For carbohydrates, the couscous is the perfect goodness-packed pick-me-up.
INFO: White fish charmolla, Mizaan, The H Hotel, 04 501 8888, www.h-hotel.com.
Spicy Green Chicken Curry
Good for: Lots of iron and antioxidants.
Spicy green chicken curry might sound like an unconventional dish to break your fast, but think again. Eaten without rice, the nutritional mix is ideal. The chicken is a perfect source of protein, while the coconut milk is high in iron, providing an instant energy boost, and the lemongrass adds a natural antioxidant element. Plus it’s delicious!
INFO: Spicy green chicken curry, Spectrum on One, The Fairmont, 04 332 5555, www.fairmont.com.
Good for: Your tummy. It’s light and easy to digest before going to sleep.
The proteins in the fish, fused with the fresh vegetables and the sesame seeds in the tahina, provide a healthy balance of nutrients, vitamins and fats for the body after a long day of fasting yet it’s light enough not to overload the digestive system and leave you too full at bedtime. Plus it’s great for the waistline too!
INFO: Hammour salad, Azur, Raffles, 04 427 1200, www.raffles.com.
Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Arborio Rice
Good for: The jitters. It’s full of Omega 3 fatty acids to calm nerves.This is an ideal protein and carbohydrate post-fast mix. Salmon is considered to be one of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, is extremely high in protein and a great source of vitamin D while Arborio rice is rich in vitamin A, C and calcium, which helps with those jittery moments you might have after a day of fasting.
INFO: Grilled Atlantic salmon, Jigsaw, Moevenpick Deira, 04 444 0111, www.moevenpick-deira.com.
Loin of Lamb with Peas
Good for: The next day. It’s protein-packed to keep fasters full for the following day.
The Plantation Lounge’s loin of lamb, served with peas and pink peppercorn yoghurt sauce, fuses proteins and green vegetables to create a well-balanced dish to see you through to suhoor. Combine it with a small side salad, for extra fibre, and finish with a mint tea to help digestion before bed and you’re ready to go for the next day of fasting. And it’s super tasty!
INFO: Loin of lamb with peas, Plantation Lounge, Sofitel Jumeirah Beach, 04 4484848, www.sofitel.c