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:
- Drink enough water during the non-fasting period. Try to include at least 8-10 glasses of water before the fast starts again.
- Eat slowly when you break the fast. Your body needs to rehydrate and regain energy from the food and drinks.
- Include fluid-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, soups and stews.
- Avoid salty foods. Salt will stimulate thirst.
- Be sure to eat your veggies! Have at least 2-3 cups of non-starchy vegetables each day.
- 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.
- Divide your meals into 3 meals – iftar, a light snack and suhoor
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!