Written by Pliro
Aug 11, 2019 Last updated: Aug 19, 2019

Eid al-Adha is here (August 11 till August 15) and in this article we’ll explain its importance and give you some suggestions for healthy and delicious meat-based dishes to try this year.

Eid al-Adha is the holiest time for the Muslim culture. During this time we remember and honor Ibrahim’s sacrifice. According to holy scripture, god commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of his faith. Before Isaac could be sacrificed, a messenger of god stopped Ibrahim and proclaimed him as god fearing man. At the end, a ram was offered instead of Isaac.    

We celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing an animal (a cow, camel, ram or sheep for those who can afford it), dividing it in 3 parts and then giving 1 for the less fortunate, 1 for your household, friends and family and 1 for the one who provided the animal.

Is not uncommon for families to not sacrifice animals, many scholars do not consider it necessary and also, depending of location, there may be financial or legal limitations making this practice very difficult or even dangerous. 

The most important part of this celebration is to meditate on the idea of sacrifice and faith.  

Health and Meat

Meat is a very efficient way to obtain a great number of nutrients including Zinc, Iron and vitamin B12; however, because of this efficiency, is very easy to eat way more meat than necessary.

Recent studies recommend being careful about how much red meat is consumed during the week. A daily intake of 90g is usually associated to a slight increase of the mortality rate, therefore, several governments and international organizations recommend eating less than 70g of red meat per day.

Not all meat is the same of course; in general fat content is an important indicator of how much of a certain type of meat you should. Following that logic: Pork should be avoided or eaten in very small amounts, cow can be eaten more frequently and chicken and fish contain the least amount of fat, making them safer to eat regularly. 

In moderation, meat is an important part of a balanced diet and a great source of protein and several essential vitamins.   

Top Healthy Meat-Based Dishes

1. Chicken Shawarma

As we mentioned before, between all available types of meat, chicken is the healthiest. Considering this, chicken shawarma is a great and delicious option to enjoy during the holidays.

This dish can be low fat and include: A small amount of chicken (250g), pita bread, onions, tomatoes, green chillies and parsley. If you like, a light yogurt-based sauce can also be included.

The spices used can be left to your personal taste, usually: salt, pepper, garlic paste and curry powder are popular for this dish.

The chicken takes 4 hours to marinate in the selected ingredients, once that is ready the rest of the recipe shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

2. Chicken, Veggies and Rice

This dish is meant to be eaten as a full meal without any sides. White rice is the most commonly used or this recipe, however, brown rice is known to contain more nutritional value. 

The way to make this dish is to first prepare the rice and save it while you heat a mixture of sliced onions, green beans and bell peppers. Once the onions are brown is time to add the rice and chicken (280g). When the excess water is gone is time to serve.

You can spice this dish however you like, many recipes include some kind of nut to top it.

3. Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebab

Lamb is not the healthiest meat to eat but considering it’s such a popular ingredient during the holidays, it wouldn’t feel right not including at least 1 item with this delicious animal.

For this recipe you’ll need to mix ground lamb (450g) with onions, chopped parsley, olive oil, cumin and black pepper. We recommend eating this with a side salad.  

This is a particularly heavy dish, so, if you want to keep yourself below the recommended 490 g of meat per week, you could reduce the amount of ground lamb or limiting your weekly intake to this one item. 

4. Chicken Flat breads

This is a simple, quick and inexpensive ground chicken-based recipe. The full recipe for making the bread and preparing the chicken can be found here or you can just buy the bread already made.

The recipe usually includes cinnamon, but we recommend against this ingredient because of its effect over blood pressure. Other popular ingredients include: onions, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin and red peppers.

5. Chicken Burgers

This is also a simple recipe. The preparation of burgers from ground chicken is fairly common knowledge and you can even buy them already made so we’ll not focus on that.

The burger is complemented by cooking it in olive oil and adding onion, coriander, pepper and flakes. Other added ingredients include: garlic and yogurt (as the burger is cooked).

As we’ve mentioned before, the recommended daily intake is of 70g, you can plan your portions taking this number into consideration.

In general if your goal is to celebrate Eid al-Adha without falling into bad eating habits, there are a few simple things to keep in mind.

  • Avoid eating the internal organs of the animal, they are full of fat.
  • Avoid pork and sheep.
  • Is better to eat meat during the day.
  • Each meal should be complemented with other types of food, not only meat.
  • If possible try to schedule periods of physical activity before and after each meal
  • Grilling with coal is not recommended, the intense heat burns meat and produce potentially harmful compounds.
  • Eat fruit for dessert.
  • During this period, avoid sugary drinks like sodas.

In case, you are feeling ill, do not hesitate to book an appointment with a doctor or a family physician.