The month of Ramadan provides an excellent opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Fasting encourages one to learn how to manage their eating habits, improve self-control and practice discipline.
The most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the month of Ramadan is a balanced meal. Often times the meals served during Iftar can be rich in fats, sodium and carbohydrates. One important point to keep in mind is to continue your usual eating pattern during this month as over indulging in rich foods during non-fasting hours can lead to bloating and weight gain. An effective tip to avoid bloating during Ramadan is to start each iftar with sunnah (the traditional Arabic way to break the fast), a combination of dates and water. Not only are dates delicious,they’re also rich in iron and potassium. If you follow this with a balanced iftar that consists of whole grains, pulses, grilled meats, vegetables and fruits you’ll be able maintain a healthy lifestyle and reap the health benefits of fasting!
Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy to sustain you throughout the day. For this reason it is important to include slowly-digesting complex carbohydrates in the suhoor. Complex Carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. Complex carbohydrates are found in grains and seeds, like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, basmati rice, etc. Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit including apricots, prunes, figs, etc. Add protein rich foods as these will keep you alert and will keep you full for longer period of time.