A Healthy Ramadan by @changingmyfatitude
Our focus during the holy month is on worship and how we are going to improve ourselves spiritually. However after fasting for many hours, many of us naturally get caught up preparing lavish meals throughout the 30 day period. With the change in eating routines and habits, we may be oblivious to the fact that we could be putting on weight.
Using the tips below, you can ensure that you have a healthy Ramadan and develop healthy habits that you can continue with after the fasting period.
“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]
Suhoor (Pre Dawn Meal)
• For longer lasting energy this year, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the food you eat at this predawn meal.
• Your Suhoor meal should not be filled with fried foods, across most cultures I know this is difficult however these foods will not sustain you or provide you with energy throughout the fasting period..
• Complex carbs: Oats, wheat, lentils, grains and other complex carbohydrates (like Legumes) are slow-releasing carbs, helping keep your blood sugar steady and giving you a feeling of fullness for the greater part of the day.
• High-fiber foods: Fiber-rich foods are digested slowly and include cereals, dates, figs, bran, whole wheat, grains, seeds, potatoes, vegetables and almost all fruit. Bananas are a good source of potassium and other essential nutrients that help keep your body hydrated.
• Protein-rich foods: High protein foods like eggs, cheese, yoghurt or meat are also recommended as they can help replenish your energy throughout the day.
Iftar (Sunset Meal)
• The body’s immediate need at the time of Iftar is to get an easily available energy source in the form of glucose for every living cell, particularly the brain and nerve cells. Having foods high in carbohydrates can compensate for the reduced glucose levels experienced as a result of fasting.
• Eating three dates to break your fast is a traditional and healthy way to begin Iftar.
• Avoiding sugary foods at Iftar is key because it will lead to a sudden energy drop later in the evening
• Avoid processed foods, these foods will not keep you full and will lead to overeating.
• Avoid fried foods and opt for cooking foods in a healthier way like baking or grilling.
• Enjoy your meal and avoid overeating by eating slowly.
General Ramadan Tips
• Drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor. High temperatures can also make you sweat more, so it is important to drink fluids to replace what you lose during the day (at least 10 glasses). You can also increase water intake by eating hydrating foods. Try adding watermelon to your Suhoor meal or after Iftar.
• Avoid caffeinated drinks, caffeine is a diuretic that stimulates faster water loss, leading to dehydration. It is best to avoid caffeinated drinks such as strong tea,, coffee and fizzy drinks.
• Keep an eye on your calories and do not overeat in an attempt to replace calories that you have missed during the day. You should not be eating more than you would in a normal day outside of Ramadan.
• If you are used to a having a regular and strict fitness routine, do not stop all together. It is not necessary if you are fueling your body in the right way. However you do need to reduce intensity – be that the weight you are lifting, the reps you are doing, or the distance you are running. Remember to listen to your body.
• You have to accept that you will not have the same energy levels while you are fasting, so slow it down as much as you can and rest where possible.