Categories Ramadan, Recipies

Healthy Eating During Ramadan

 

As the holy month of Ramadan started, there are some important nutrition points that we would like to share. Ramadan is a time where Muslims around the world fast during daylight periods. During the fast, no foods or fluids are consumed.

Fasting affects the body in many ways. During the fasting period, our bodies use much of its carbohydrate and fat stores to provide us with energy from the food that was eaten during the non-fasting period. Many people struggle with mild dehydration during Ramadan due to lack of water intake throughout the day. Ramadan falls in the beginning of the hot summer months here in Dubai which means it is easier for dehydration to occur and increases the importance of drinking enough fluid after breaking the fast.

In the evening, after sunset, the fast is broken with the Iftar meal. Iftar is usually a special time spent with family and friends in celebration. After fasting the whole day, most people are extremely hungry and are likely to overeat. It is best not to go overboard at this meal, your body requires time to adjust to rehydrating and digesting food after a full day of fasting. Many people gain excess body weight due to the large portions as well as the deep fried, creamy and sweet foods that are eaten. Portion control often is neglected during Iftar meals which can also lead to additional weight gain.

Suhoor is the meal that is eaten before the day of fasting begins. This meal should be wholesome and provide you with the energy you need throughout the day. Eat a variety of food from a variety of food groups: lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, fruit, vegetables etc. Eat a white range of complex carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats etc.) at this meal. Include some healthy fats at this meal too to help keep you fuller for a longer time. These fats include nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, oils etc. Be sure to drink enough water at Suhoor too!

Top 10 Nutrition Tips for Ramadan:

  1. Drink enough water during the non-fasting period. Try to include at least 8-10 glasses of water before the fast starts again.
  2. Eat slowly when you break the fast. Your body needs to rehydrate and regain energy from the food and drinks.
  3. Include fluid-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, soups and stews.
  4. Avoid salty foods. Salt will stimulate thirst.
  5. Be sure to eat your veggies! Have at least 2-3 cups of non-starchy vegetables each day.
  6. Avoid high fat foods such as deep-fried foods, rich creamy sauces, biscuits, cakes, chocolates etc. These foods add unnecessary calories and fat which can lead to weight gain.
  7. Divide your meals into 3 meals – iftar, a light snack and suhoor
  8. Exercise! Be sure to include exercise during the Ramadan month. Add a workout right before iftar or even go for a jog a while after your iftar meal.
  9. Include protein at each of your Ramadan meals. Choose leaner proteins such as fish and chicken or plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu etc. Protein is important for your muscles and also will help with satiety to keep you fuller for longer.
  10. Keep meals similar to what you would have on regular days. Try avoid or limit buffets or appetizers and desserts.

 

Looking for help to stay healthy during Ramadan? Meet our qualified nutritionists & dietitians in Dubai and Abu Dhabi today! Call now!

Categories Health, Nutrition Advise, Ramadan

7 Steps to Healthy Eating During Ramadan


The holy month of Ramadan stands for mercy and forgiveness, but we should also make health a priority and make sure to eat healthy during Ramadan. Fasting can have beneficial effects on our overall health if we follow these easy steps:

Step one: Break your fast with a few dates and eat the main meal after prayer

After long hours of fasting, dates are the perfect food to break the fast as they provide simple sugars that the body can digest and absorb easily. They provide you with quick energy and prepares your digestive system for the meal that will follow. Let your stomach take a rest after breaking the fast and continue with your main meal after prayer.

Step two: Make healthy food choices and avoid overeating during Ramadan

Ramadan banquets offer a variety of tasty dishes and we would like to offer good and plenty food to our families and friends. Still, we should rather think of simple yet complete meals that contain all the important nutrients our bodies need. Overeating during Ramadan will otherwise result in weight gain as the body stores excess calories consumed at night as fat even if we don’t eat during the daytime. Include plenty of vegetables and complex carbohydrates like brown rice into the meals served. If in doubt, ask our nutritionist to help you with your diet plans.

Step three: Sleeping is great – but don’t skip Suhoor

Suhoor is the most important meal during Ramadan as it provides the energy for the upcoming day. Eat a breakfast-like meal including complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. For example, whole-wheat bread with white cheese, boiled eggs, olives and fresh cucumber and tomato slices or plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruits and a handful of nuts and seeds.

Step four: Stick to your eating structure

Your normal eating structure including 3 main meals should remain the same during Ramadan, just the timings will change. Iftar will be the equivalent of your dinner, and Suhoor equals your usual breakfast. Before going to bed, you should have a light meal that can be considered as lunch. All the meals should be wholesome and include complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Step five: Consume plenty of vegetables and fruit

Try to include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in your 3 main meals. You can consume them raw in form of salads or cooked as soups or stews. Fruits and vegetables provide you with important nutrients like vitamin, minerals and fiber. They also make you feel full without adding too many calories to your diet – which is great when you are looking for weight loss. Choose several types of fruits and veggies every day – eat the rainbow!

Step six: Eat less sweets

Many Ramadan desserts are especially high in fat, sugar and calories. Safe these treats for special Iftar events or invitations and try to stay away from them on ‘normal’ nights. Instead of having sweet deserts, rather indulge in fresh fruits and refreshing fruit sorbets.

Step seven: Drink plenty of water

Drinking enough water between Iftar and Suhoor is a must during Ramadan to reduce the risk of dehydration, especially when fasting during the hot days in Dubai. Drink at least 2-3 liters of liquids. If you exercise, add an extra of 500 ml per hour of exercise. Liquids can include natural juices, milk, laban and soups, but your main beverage should be water. Reduce the consumption of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea and cola or energy drinks.

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