Sustainable holidays during lockdown | the ReFab Diaries

It looks more and more likely that Muslims will be marking Ramadan under lockdown restrictions,
once again unable to meet with friends and family as was also the case in 2020 due to the global
pandemic. This means that there will not be the large gatherings for the breaking of the fast as is
customary, which will no doubt be hugely disappointing to those of Islamic faith.

ramadan in lockdown

Enjoying a sustainable Ramadan in lockdown

Last year, Muslims, just like everyone else, had to keep in contact with loved ones through online
communication channels (such as Zoom). During Ramadan, as well as the Eid celebrations that come
straight after, this was especially tough. The evening meal, known as iftar, usually sees friends and
family gather over a buffet-style dinner to break the day’s fast.

With restrictions likely to remain in place this year by the time Ramadan starts on 12 April (subject to
the sighting of the moon), families won’t require as much food for the evening meals when they
would usually have guests round. This means cutting back on waste food and/or getting into the
habit of making use of leftovers for the next day.

Ramadan Food Wastage

In 2012, it was estimated that around 1,850 tonnes of waste were thrown away during Ramadan in
the United Arab Emirates and that figure is likely to have increased over the years. This accounts for
roughly one-fifth of food purchased during Ramadan.
When cooking such large meals, such as the evening meal that Muslims traditionally sit down to
enjoy for iftar, it is common for food to go to waste as the thinking is so often it is better to have too
much than not enough. Following a day of fasting, the natural urge is to stack your plate up high with
as much food as you can fit on it.
Hosting households preparing the meal would not want to see anyone go without, therefore
knowingly preparing more than enough food to go round. With 2021 once again seeing us having to
stay apart, at least for the time being, this is a good opportunity to get on top of food wastage where
we can.

Cutting Down Waste in Ramadan

As the same number of people will be sitting down for the iftar meal every night, this allows you to
prepare portion sizes. Measure out your food and prepare exactly what you need for that evening’s
meal as this will help to keep any waste down to a minimum.

Traditionally, the iftar meal is presented in buffet style, so for those preparing the food, it can be
difficult knowing exactly what and how much needs preparing. Staple foods, such as rice, will likely
make up a big part of the meal with other foods dotted around the table. Each household is
different, so it will be worth experimenting with this to help get your measurements right. If one
evening you find you have prepared far too much, first look into the possibility of keeping food for
the next day before throwing away. Charities such as ILM collect donations throughout Ramadan,
and all year round, distributing funds to help feed those most in need that do not have the luxury of
throwing away waste food.

Also, as you will be cooking for the same people every night, another good way of cutting food is to
ask what their preferences are. Buffet style dinners cater to different tastes, but if everyone agrees
on the same style of dishes this can help to cut down the amount of food that needs preparing.
Have a Blessed Ramadan

Ramadan, unfortunately, is going to be different from the norm again this year, but regardless of the
social restrictions that are likely to be in place at this time, we wish all our Muslim readers a blessed



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