Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar during which Muslims fast by abstaining from all food and drink from dawn to sunset. During this month, those who are on fasting eat two meals: pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk (Iftar). As there is long gap of around 10-12 hours between the Suhoor and Iftar careful planning of meals is required to remain healthy, fit and enjoy the nutrient rich food during these days.
Diet Mantra share some diet tips for healthy eating during Ramadan days.
- Treat yourself with complex carbohydrates, high fibre foods: Including foods such as barley, wheat, bran, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice in the diet help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting and thus keeping one satiated through the fasting time.
- Focus on lean protein by including eggs, cheese, peanut butter, beans and meat. Inclusion of protein in the pre-dawn will help in delaying hunger pangs.
- Consume sufficient vegetables and fruits at meals: Including fruits and vegetables in the meals would add healthy nutrients and vitamins to the meals. Include fruits in the form of juices.
- Avoid refined, processed, and junk foods that contain refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour) like cakes, biscuits, chips, chocolates and sweets, rich oily desserts.
- Keep yourself hydrated: During fasting, the body gets dehydrated over the course of the day, so it is important to keep the body hydrated during the non-fasting hours. Drink sufficient water between Iftar and sleep time, eat water rich fruits like watermelon, plums, sweetlime. One can also have fruit and vegetable juices, soups, coconut water, fruit smoothies, coolers in addition to water.
- Avoid too much intake of caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate the body.
- Avoid too spicy and high fat foods like puris, paranthas, samosa as they can cause abdominal distension and gastric irritation.
- Use baking, steaming, grilling, boiling as methods of cooking rather than deep frying. These methods are healthier and helps retain the taste and original flavour of the food, especially chicken and fish.
One can start Sahur with light and wholesome meal like oats/porridge or whole wheat toast with 1-2 servings of milk and some unsalted nuts. 1-2 servings of fruits after 15-20 mins will add good amount of nutrients. Iftar can start with few dates, followed by plenty of water, which helps rehydration and reduces the chances of overindulgence. Main course can be non-veg 1-2 portions, with whole wheat bread or brown rice with vegetables. Fruits can be included in the fruit based desserts.
Most importantly, it is recommended to engage in some kind of light exercise, such as walking, yoga, stretching etc. to maintain the body’s metabolism and good health.