Now that the holy month of Ramadan is underway, it’s hard to fast the whole day, specially this time when it has arrived in the summer months. This whole day of fasting includes indulgence of two meals- the Suhoor and the Iftar. While Suhoor is served before the dawn, Iftar is enjoyed after the entire day’s fasting in the evening at dusk.
The idea behind eating Suhoor is to provide the necessary energy to the body to fast for the entire day. The Iftar is served post sunset to break the fast and to give the tired and exhausted body the indulgence of good food after the whole day.
We wish you all the best for your fast and offer you Ramadan healthy eating tips during your Suhoor and Iftar for better energy through the day, improved digestion, and enhanced health. Read on.
1. Have energy boosting food at Suhoor
Suhoor becomes the most important meal of the day as it is what is going to take you through the whole day. While a good Suhoor helps you in going through the whole day just like regular, a heavy or unbalanced Suhoor will give you hunger pangs and a sluggish feel the whole day, and keep you waiting for the Iftar.
- Eat protein rich food in the morning. Protein not only delays hunger pangs but also provides lots of energy for the day.
- Provide hydration to your body partially through food as well. Opt for fruits and veggies with high water content like cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges and watermelon.
- High fiber and carbohydrate food items such as whole meal bread and brown rice takes longer time to digest and hence keeps you full for a longer time.
- Go high on protein but less on fat. Food items like fish, low fat dairy products and less fatty chicken should be your alternative for feasty fat meals.
- Intake of rich in fiber fruits at the start of the day can prevent constipation- a common problem that occurs during Ramadan. Also, they are full of vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals to keep your energized the whole day.
2. Keep yourself Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water and healthy eating during Ramadan is of crucial importance, specially this time when Ramadan has fallen during these hot months. Avoid as much as possible on the sugary and caffeine stuff. They may look an enticing option at the time of Suhoor but will add to your thirst during the day. Ensure you drink considerable amount of water at Suhoor, to keep yourself hydrated.
- Don’t break your routine of drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day. Divide these between the time of Suhoor and Iftar but do maintain your ritual of 8 glasses of water.
- Suhoor must include fresh fruits and veggies or just plain water instead of sweetened drinks.
- Avoid eating hot and spicy food as they tend to increase your thirst during the day.
- Start your Suhoor and Iftar meal with two glasses of water.
- You can keep a bottle of water on your bedside to sip it during the night.
3.Keep yourself busy
The key is to keep your daily routine as normal as you can. Ramadan is all about fasting to become closer to Allah (Almighty), don’t make it all about you by staying lazy and disrupting your regular routine. Staying active and in your routine will not only help you pass your day easily, it will also help in managing the disturbed body mechanism with the lack of food.
- Sleep plays a vital role in shaping up your day during Ramadan. Sleep on time to keep yourself active, fit and energetic during the day.
- Sipping water at least every two hours post Iftar will help you stay active the next day. A hydrated body won’t make you look pale and dull.
- Don’t concentrate your thoughts on fasting the whole day. The more you think about the fast, the hungrier you’ll feel. It’s a natural psychology. Keep yourself immersed in your daily routine and don’t let mind play tricks with you.
4.Don’t skip your exercise routine
If you are into regular exercise, don’t stop it just because you are observing fast. This will not only reduce the regular flow of energy to your body but will also make you feel sluggish. Instead, if you are into heavy workouts, reduce the intensity.
- Remember, your body maintains a muscle mass only as long as you keep giving it instructions through regular workouts. Stopping them will increase the mass and make you feel heavier.
- Carbohydrates help you work out with increased intensity. During Ramadan your carb levels deplete and therefore, it is natural to reduce your workout intensity and take it slow.
- Include some amount of carbohydrate during your Suhoor to give you the required energy at the time of workout.
- If you are into regular high intensity workout, or taking Ramadan as an opportunity to start a work out; try and do your exercise just before the Iftar. It will help you compensate on the lost energy and water requirement post exercise.
- Avoid exercising immediately after Iftar meal. The entire blood flow at that time is concentrated on your stomach and hence, is not advised.
5. Break your breakfast slowly and lightly
It’s a very common complaint that in spite of observing the whole month’s fast, there are many people who gain weight during Ramadan. The reason is what you eat at the time of Iftar is usually more than you eat on a regular day.
- Don’t go all out at Iftar meal. Although tempting, it is better to take it slowly. Your body is already going through a disturbed routine and if you stuff oily, fatty and heavy food suddenly after going hungry for 12-14 hours, it’s not going to have a good effect.
- Exercise some self-control and eat normal sized, nutritious portions at Iftar. Eat in moderate quantities every 2 hours post Iftar and you’ll see its good effect the next day.
- Start your Iftar meal by eating 2 dates. It balances the low sugar level in your body due to the fast of the whole day and helps you gain instant energy.
- Starting with a bowl of soup is great as it not only prepares the stomach for the upcoming meal, but also gives the essential fluids to the body.
- It’s difficult but eat less sweets at Iftar. Too much sugar after the whole day of fast is not good for the body. It’s of crucial importance since you’re fasting the next day.
Everything you eat at Iftar and Suhoor shows up in your energy levels the next day. So, make the most of the eating time you get during Suhoor and Iftar and give yourself a healthy makeover this Ramadan.