Ramadan Portion Sizes- Eating Out/Iftar






Ramadan is a month of blessing
Ramadan is a month of forgiving
Ramadan is a month of helping
Those who are in needRamadan is a month of sacrifice
Let us all be so wiseHoly month of Islam is Ramadan
Holy book of  Islam is quran
Ramadan is the way to jannat
Let’s beg Allah for his rehmat
      Ramadan Ramadan



Dear Readers,

If you suffer from an Eating Disorder then please seek immediate help from an appropriate mental health specialist or your health care provider.

Sometimes recovery seems impossible but don’t forget there are people out there who’ve recovered. If you’re here reading this post, then you do want to give up your eating disorder. You certainly can defeat this demon. If you don’t succeed try again. Don’t blame yourself, it’s one of the hardest things, you’ll ever have to do. Be determined.

One of the challenge people with Eating Disorders face during Ramadan is Iftar Time and eating out at Iftar Parties. I received a message from a sufferer last night who despite the instructions by her treatment team not to fast, went ahead and fasted. She faced many challenges throughout the day. Her resolution was to abstain from eating typical Asian foods at the Iftar and stick to a healthy diet.

“I binged at the Iftar, I just could not control my self, later I felt horrified and so ashamed of myself. I’ve decided to listen to my treatment team and not fast for rest of the month. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to fast.” (17 year old sufferer UK).

Feasting on special occasions has been around about as long as mankind. Ramadan is not about feasting and overeating. Sadly, we’ve come to a stage where Ramadan has become so much about feasting and throwing lavish Iftar parties.  Everybody wants to do their best and do as much as they can for Ramadan, from dates to drinks to appetizers, everything has to be best, for some this is a way to show love and appreciation for such a blessed month.

I have a reader from Hyderabad India, who suffers from Anorexia Nervosa.

“I  get so panicky around food, I feel I’m choking, I stand around the table simply staring at the food and I always end up purging my food, because I feel in my mind that I’ve eaten too much”.

She asked me if I could show her a demonstration of how I would make my plate at the Iftar party. I apologize this demonstration is a very poor one, but that’s the best I could do. I remember spending most of my Ramadan years abstaining from such gatherings. I found the abundance of food that was laid out before your eyes very overwhelming. I used to find the choice of selecting from array of starters, main courses, desserts and drinks absolutely frightening. I learned from NHS Eating Disorder Unit on how one should eat when attending a dinner party . The Key is to know your portion sizes and try to follow your meal plan. Read this all the way to the end for Iftar Portion sizes. 



Also many many Emails on how to stop overeating during Ramadan.  I’ve added Katie Sheen’s Tip below on how to stop overeating and binging on Iftar foods. All you need to do is  update your perspective about what you want and Inshallah you can enjoy these moments of eating with loved ones without the Eating Disorder fears.

 It is absolutely possible to stay sober during Ramadan. It is possible to withstand the gluttony of food while also taking care of your body.


If you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you may have been referred to a registered dietitian/nutrionist in your area to help you develop a customized meal plan. An eating disorder recovery meal plan is must in your recovery. It’s important to follow the advice of your physician and registered dietitian.   This meal plan is the basis of your recovery; without it, you will not be able to recover.

Please find below guide on portion sizes by Bupa UK. I was taught about portion sizes at the Eating Disorder Unit in England. I remember my nutritionist telling me that these portions are the minimum serving of what one  should be having every day.

Example My minimum serving of Evening Meal: Six Tbsp of Rice (This is 75 grams of rice) with 4 Tbsp of lentils was perfect. Add a serving of Yogurt and a serving of Salad (80grams) and I had a complete Evening Meal.


When I started looking into Islamic Eating Guidelines, 1/3 Food, 1/3 Water and 1/3 Air, I learned that these portion sizes fitted perfectly well with the Islamic portion sizes.  You were simply eating in moderation, in a balanced way and meeting all your daily dietary guidelines.


Example of a Balanced Plate




Starchy foods

Eight to 10 portions per day 

Starchy foods are our main source of energy and should form the basis of every meal.

The following amounts count as one portion (however, you will usually have more than one portion at each meal).

  • three tablespoons of breakfast cereal
  • one slice of bread
  • half a baked potato
  • two small boiled potatoes
  • three tablespoons of boiled pasta
  • two tablespoons of boiled rice
  • 115g cooked noodles
  • half a pitta bread
  • half a scone
  • three small crackers

Recommended Amounts

It’s best to aim for between two and four portions with every meal (to add up to eight to 10 for one day). So, some typical amounts for one meal may include the following.



Bread Baked potato Boiled potatoes
Nine tablespoons – about the size of a tennis ball

(three portions)

Two slices of toast or a sandwich

(two portions)

One medium baked potato

(two portions)

Four small potatoes, each the size of an egg

(two portions)




Pitta bread
Nine tablespoons – about 60g

(three portions)

Six tablespoons – about 75g

(three portions)

One block of dried noodles

(one portion)

A filled pitta bread

(two portions)




A day’s amount may include nine tablespoons of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and six tablespoons of rice with dinner. Try to go for wholegrain or wholemeal versions of starchy foods as they are likely to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Remember you can adjust these amounts to suit your own needs.

Meat, Fish and other Proteins


Two to three portions per day – with at least one portion of oily fish a week

This group includes non-dairy sources of protein, which is important for growth and repair. Try to include one portion in at least two of your daily meals. One portion counts as the following.

Lean meat


100g raw/75g cooked – the size of a deck of cards 75g oily fish or 150g white fish is the size of a cheque book Two medium-sized eggs

Baked beans


Five tablespoons is half a tin Four tablespoons of pulses (eg lentils or chickpeas) is a heaped handful Two tablespoons is a small handful

A day’s worth from this group might mean two eggs with breakfast and a piece of fish for dinner; or a chicken salad for lunch and half a tin of baked beans with dinner. Try to limit your intake of red and processed meat because they can be high in saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol and cause heart disease.




Three portions a day

Dairy foods contain calcium for healthy bones and teeth, and are also a good source of protein. Try to include one portion with every meal, and go for lower-fat options when you can. A portion includes the following.

 Milk  Yoghurt  
Hard cheese

Cottage cheese
200ml is a small glass 150ml is a small pot 30g is the size of a small matchbox 90g or about two tablespoons

The milk on your cereal and in your tea all counts. Go for lower-fat cheese and yogurts, and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. These contain just as much calcium as full-fat versions.

Fruit and vegetables

At least five portions a day

One portion is 80g of any fruit or vegetable. Examples include:

Large fruit

 Medium-sized fruit

Small fruit  Grapes and berries
One or two slices of large fruit, such as mango, pineapple or papaya One medium-size fruit, such as an apple, orange, banana or peach Two small fruits, such as kiwis, plums, satsumas or clementines One to two handfuls of grapes or berries
 Fruit juice and smoothies  Mixed veg  Salad leaves
150ml (a small glass) – this can only count as one portion a day Peas, carrots, sweetcorn and mixed veg – three heaped tablespoons One dessert bowl Three heaped tablespoons – this can only count as one portion a day

Have a glass of fruit juice with your breakfast and snack on fruit throughout the day. If you have a sandwich at lunchtime, include some salad as it will contribute towards another of your five a day.




Source: Produced by Rachael Mayfield-Blake, Bupa Heath Information Team, November 2012. Adapted



Now to Iftar


Try to enjoy these Ramadan parties without the fear of the demon of Eating Disorder, be realistic about what you really can or cannot eat. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings if you don’t eat food they prepared. If the person insists you take some, put the food on your plate, but just a small taster.


According to The Religious Affairs DirectorateDiyanet Head Prof. Mehmet Görmez : “Ramadan itself is euphoria … But we should not be turning Ramadan into [something]entertaining or into a show … Ramadan meals should not be turned into wasted meals.” 


Breaking Your Fast with Sunnah


Milk With Honey is Excellent Drink and is best for anxiety. It’s healing and is a Sunnah. So Please do not skip this vital drink of paradise.




Drinks Drinks Drinks


With rising temperatures, believers are set to undergo a tough month of fasting, with officials strongly advising the consumption of a minimum of 2 to 2.5 liters of liquid during sahur and iftar

There are always selection of drinks from fruit juices to milk shakes to soft drinks to Rose Water Drinks. Always start off with water. You’ll often find Rose water drinks at such parties. This is excellent and really quenches your thirst. You’ll also find Aryn/lassi/Leban at the futoor. You can have this with your main meal.

Best Drink Rose Water at Iftar Parties

Best Drink Rose Water at Iftar Parties

I always add a shot of Wheatgrass synergy to mine.

With a Shot of Wheatgrass

With a Shot of Wheatgrass


On Mindful Eating, Please read my mindful tips for Ramadan:



How to Chose your Starter?  So many Choices…


I  find Katie Sheen’s Tip from Soul Nutrition Very Helpful- Always Include a serving of Salad or Fruit with whatever you eat. This prevents you from overeating and going for the seconds.

The Istanbul Public Health Service has announced that a healthy diet throughout Ramadan is a must, and people should avoid greasy, salty and heavy meals because warm weather can pose a health risk.  Only put on your plate modest portions of the foods you like the very best. For example, after adding a serving of salad to my plate, I select my starter. I always make one selection and if I like something else, then I’ll add another to my plate. I always always add a serving of Yogurt to my plate to aid digestion.

My Example:

One Samosa on my plate with salad and a serving of yogurt

One Samosa on my plate with salad and a serving of yogurt

Don’t forget to Add a serving of Salad to your Plate.

If you want to try different things, then 1/2 the portion sizes. I find that modest portions can be even more satisfying than large portions because you really get to enjoy and savor your food.

Presented with many choices. half your portion sizes. you can then enjoy bit of everything.

Presented with many choices. half your portion sizes. you can then enjoy bit of everything.

Eat Slowly- Eating quickly almost always leads to overeating because you have consumed the food before your stomach registers a feeling of fullness.

Main Course


This is overwhelming, as there will be many choices from rice dishes to array of breads to meat dishes to curries.

Those who fast through the day will have low blood sugar levels, which will make them want to eat too fast and too much. (Istanbul Public Health Sector)  Take control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate. Don’t taste or eat everything offered. Try to meet the dietary guidelines as best as you can. You’re eating for health and well-being. These kind of foods are no longer  precious rarities. You’ll have other opportunities to eat them but Ramadan is not the time for indulgence. Your digestive system won’t be able to handle such strain.

The recommended serving for vegetables is about one cup or the size of your fist. A single serving of meat is about 3 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. A single serving of cooked pasta is one cup or about the size of a tennis ball.



Always aim for a Balanced Plate



My Iftar Party plate- this is not a very good example, but the best I could come up with.

1 serving of salad, 1 serving of yogurt, 2 x serving of Rice with a piece of protein.

typical Serving Spoons at Asian Iftar. I take two. This is what we had at the ED Unit.

typical Serving Spoons at Asian Iftar. I take two. This is what we had at the ED Unit.


My Serving of Rice With a piece of Chicken

My Serving of Rice With a piece of Chicken

My Iftar Plate- 2 x serving of Rice with Salad and Yogurt

My Iftar Plate- 2 x serving of Rice with Salad and Yogurt

Ideally the plate method divides a dinner plate into one half non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc.) but these are never available at the Iftar party. You divide the other half between protein (lean meat or poultry, chicken, fish or meat substitutes) and starchy foods (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, beans, corn, etc.)

When you eat what is on your plate, you are finished.

Say Alhamdulilah!



Dessert Dessert Dessert

Again always add a serving of fruit to your dessert, this will prevent the overeating and going for seconds. Preferably try to add some watermelons, or melons, 80grams. This really helps in digestion.

Don’t Make a Mistake of Having a Large Piece of Cake by itself
You can just have this cake by itself or

You can just have this cake by itself or

 Instead quarter it and have it with some fruit.
Mindful Dessert- Katie Sheen's Tip. Add a serving of Fruit.

Mindful Dessert- Katie Sheen’s Tip. Add a serving of Fruit.


Ideal Way to End your Meal Melons battikh- aids in digestion.


Watermelon can help improve sleep. By eating a few slices of this fruit after dinner can extend the deep stages of sleep by 27%

Prophet (s.a.w.s.): “Whenever you eat fruit, eat melon, because it is the fruit of Paradise and contains a thousand blessings and a thousand mercies. The eating of it cures every disease.”


Be sure to focus your energy on the purpose of the Ramadan and the togetherness of family and friends and praying. Food is  a source of nourishment and a blessing of Allah and should not be a prime focus of Ramadan. Try to Enjoy the beauty of Ramadan. Did you know that Muslims across Istanbul  rushed to Blue Mosque to perform Tarawih prayers on Saturday to welcome the holy month of Ramadan. Tarawih prayers, an extra prayer specific to Ramadan, according to the practices of Prophet Mohammed, performed by Muslims following the obligatory night prayer known as ‘Isha.

You too want to Enjoy your Tarawih Prayers without these Eating Disorder Fears. Keep your defences up by boosting your health and your well-being.  Everything depends on it.

Please remember that anyone recovering from Eating Disorder or in recovery feels stressed. What you don’t need to do is to go back into the same old behaviours to relive the stress. Make sure you’ve changed your patterns, said goodbye to those ingrained eating disorder rituals, stay away from all the triggering bits and pieces you have, and taken on a new identity as you, the one no longer under the slavery of the demon of Eating Disorder. This Ramadan work with your loved ones to continue supporting the new, improved you.

Breathe deeply with a relief and Relax with a cup of Mint Tea or Green Tea. You Deserve it.



About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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