Ramadan is the holy month, the month of blessings, and a time when devout Muslims all over the world abstain from eating anything from sunrise to sunset. While one of the objectives of Ramadan is to cleanse one’s spirit, body, and soul; it can be really hard to abstain from food and water and can often become a food fest for a lot of people due to the many festive delicacies on hand. However, this Ramadan, we thought we’d help you try a different approach that would help you maintain your health while celebrating the holy month to the fullest.
Eating the right food is important to retain our body strength – when we fast from dawn to dusk, the body utilizes the energy stored from the consumption of Sehri. Once the energy from the Sehri ends, the body makes use of fat and glucose deposits to provide energy till we reach the time to break the fast and so, it is important that what you eat at Iftar provides you with enough nutrients so as to give you energy and vitality.
For preserving your energy more efficiently this year, it is important to pay attention to the quality of food you eat at this pre-dawn meal. Try to eat slowly digestible and absorbable foods which are rich in fiber such as complex carbohydrates (whole-wheat grains, rice, potatoes, pasta and whole wheat bread). These foods give you energy that can last for many hours unlike foods high in sugar which provide energy for only a short time and then lead to a drop in the blood sugar levels, leading to low energy.
Some magical food combinations that you can follow:
- Brown Bread Sandwich + 1 Fruit + 1 Glass Skimmed Milk /1 Cup Green Tea
- Oats Upma – 1 Bowl/Oats Cheela (2) + 1 Fruit + 1 Glass Skimmed Milk/1 Cup Green Tea
- Muesli/Wheat Flakes + 1 Fruit + 1 Glass Skimmed Milk + Tea
- 2-3 Egg Whites (Omelets/Scrambled) + 2 Phulkas/2 Sliced Of Brown Bread + 1 Fruit + 1 Cup Green Tea
- 2 Stuffed Parathas (Radish/Cauliflower/Palak) Without Ghee/Butter/Oil + Curd + 1 Fruit + Green Tea
Always start eating with something light, especially liquids. Liquids (water, juice, soup) also help maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body and replenish nutrients lost during the course of the day. Dates and soups are good sources of carbohydrates and help bring your low blood glucose to normal levels. For more energy, make sure this meal is balanced well by protein from meat or legumes, vegetables as well as fruits.
Whet your appetite with one of the following diets during Iftar:
- 2 Dates +1 Fruit + 5 Almonds / 2 Walnuts + Grilled Chicken (2-3 medium pieces) + Salad
- Chicken Tikka + Salad + Soup
- Sprouts Chaat (1 Bowl) + Mint Chutney + Curd + Salad
- 2 Moong Daal Cheela + Mint Chutney + Curd + Salad
- Chicken Sheekh Kabab + Salad + Soup
- Chicken Sandwich + Soup + Salad
- Paneer Tikka + César Salad + Soup
- Besan Chilla + Mint chutney + Salad + Curd
- Vegetable Daliya + Curd
- Wheat Roti (1) + Vegetables + Salad + Soup
- Soya Granules or Soya Chunks Kebab or Vegetables + Salad + Soup
Advice for Weight Watchers:
People are often understandably concerned about the consequences of consuming festive food for a month. We compiled a list of snacks and meals which will provide you with lots of energy while keeping the calorie count low:
1. Fruit Salad: A bowl of fruits like apple, watermelon, banana and pear can give you a bowl full of energy.
2. Cereal: A cereal bowl with raisins, mixed with honey and milk is a tasty yet energy filled meal
3. Almonds: even a handful of almonds can do wonders for your energy level.
4. Yogurt: 8 ounces of yogurt, if included in your diet, can provide you with a good amount of vitamin B.
5. Boiled Eggs: Boil eggs and eat the egg white (which is a great source of protein).
6. Red or Green Beans : A cup of beans can easily cover half of your daily requirement of Potassium. You can simply boil the beans and add them to a pasta or salad to enjoy a delicious yet energizing meal.
7. Smoothie and Shakes : Milk and fruits combined is a nutrition bomb. Add few seedless dates to your drink before you blend it to make a delicious fruit shake, and enjoy an unbeatable combination of power and taste!
Additionally, remember to…
- Avoid over-eating and consume a good amount of water during iftar and sehri, to avoid dehydration.
- Diabetic patients should keep a regular check on their sugar level to avoid high or low level of sugar
- Reduce caffeine and smoking habits at least one month before Ramadan to avoid addiction issues
- Adjust your medication schedule if you are on any special medication.
Foods to Avoid:
- Deep fried foods, such as pakoras, samosas, and fried dumplings
- High sugar/high-fat foods and Indian sweets such as gulab jamun, rasgulla, balushahi, baklawa
- High-fat cooked foods, such as greasy parathas, oily curries, greasy pastries.
- Whole grains, such as chickpea (plain or with potato in yogurt with a mix of spices)
- Samosas (baked instead of fried), and boiled dumplings
- Milk-based sweets and puddings
- Chapattis made without ghee and baked or grilled meat and chicken.
Ramadan is a time for reflection, spiritual renewal, and peace. It is a time to seek Allah’s forgiveness and share his blessings with the ones closest to your heart. Ramadan is also a time for purifying your body, heart and soul and for this, you need to cleanse your diet too.
Have a health and holy Ramadan!