Adult Muslims, during the Holy month of Ramadan, practice daily fasting from dawn until sunset. They break the fast at sunset with a meal called Iftar and then eat again pre-dawn at Suhoor.
Ramadan is a very spiritual event that forces one to truly evaluate and purify all aspects of their life. It is often seen as a time to practice self-control, self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for those less fortunate.
Foods that are light and nutritious are ideal during Ramadan because someone who's fasting needs good, nutrient-rich food that provides the energy necessary for the priorities of daily life.
Here are some tips for eating healthy during Ramadan.
1. Drink plenty of water and eat hydrating foods during Ramadan
When fasting, you’re slowly being dehydrated over the course of the day, so once you break your fast, 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. Try including fruits like watermelon into your Suhoor to stay hydrated all day. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, because caffeine can make some people urinate more often, which may lead to dehydration.
2. Eat the right foods at Suhoor to last you through the fasting hours
Eat smart at Suhoor. Take unprocessed high fibre, high protein food that will keep you satisfied longer. Replace white meal (rice, bread...) with whole grain and high fat with lean protein. Eating complex carbohydrates, such as fruit and vegetables, beans and lentils, will provide you with a long-lasting source of energy throughout the day. When you have your carbohydrates, be sure to pair them with protein-rich foods like beans, meat or eggs to balance the meal.
3. Avoid Sugary food and junks
How will you have any energy to get you through a long day of fasting and a long night of prayer if your food gives you nothing in return for eating it? That's what you get when you feed on junks and processed foods because they are void of nutrients.
4. Eat healthy and balanced Iftar
Keep it simple. Break your fast with fresh fruits, nuts and water. Also, incorporate plenty of vegetables to provide vital vitamins and nutrients. The aim of this is to release sugar slowly into the bloodstream. Choose whole grains, which provide the body with energy and fibre, take grilled lean meat, skinless chicken and fish. Avoid fried and processed foods high in fat or sugar. Eat slowly to avoid overeating.
5. Do not overeat during Iftar
Remember fasting isn't equal to weight loss (for those trying to use it as a means to lose weight). Fasting all day reduces your metabolism which means you dispense less energy and burn very little calorie, so why would you want to overeat when you haven't even released much of what's still in the body? In general, avoid overeating so you don't end up adding more weight as a matter of fact after fasting.
Planning is the major key to success. So, most importantly, plan your meals properly.