Ramadan 2017 is here, and we now find ourselves in the most incredible and blessed month once again; a month filled with reward, blessing, giving to others and, yes, fasting.
Many people come to dread the iftar part of the fasting. More often than not, during the month of Ramadan, we are inclined to indulge in heavier and richer foods than we normally would which can lead to feeling sluggish and tired.
This bloated, lethargic feeling often goes hand in hand with eating greasy food on an empty stomach – which can make you feel even worse if you opted for a fizzy drink to wash it down with.
So, in order to try and help introduce some balance into our food regimes during Ramadan 2017, here are some healthy eating tips to consider:
- It is traditional to open the fast with dates and a glass of water or milk; aside from the religious recommendations, there is also great reasoning behind this. Dates contain many nutrients and health benefits including reducing blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and colon cancer and relieving constipation. Dates also fill you up pretty quickly and are a great source of slow-release energy - keeping you going for longer. Try opening your fast with a handful of dates and a glass of milk before taking a break to recite salaah; you’ll find you won’t feel as hungry after you pray.
- Due to the slow energy release in dates, it is a great idea to introduce this into your suhoor meal too. The ideal suhoor meal would consist of oats or porridge and some dates.
- Avoid caffeine during suhoor. Caffeine makes you urinate frequently which means you dehydrate quicker – opt for a milkier drink if you need something warm or simply water.
- Avoid carbonated and fizzy drinks; these will dehydrate you very quickly
- For iftar, ensure you eat plenty of tasty salad greens and vegetables to go with your main meal. By ensuring at least half of your plate is full of healthy nutrients, you’ll get the energy and vitamins you need. Remember to eat your veggies first!
- Many people prepare for the month of Ramadan in advance by making and freezing food that can be cooked later. Don’t do this! This is a great way of spending more time with your family at meal times.
- As Ramadan 2017 falls in the summer months once again, stock up on fresh watermelon – it is great for rehydration and fills you up well, too! (Best served cold)
- Hold the salt while cooking during Ramadan; too much sodium can lead to bloating, leaving you feeling uncomfortable as you make your way to the Mosque for congregational prayers.
- If you prefer to eat lighter meals but don’t want to miss out on flavour, try adding a halal chicken stock cube to plain boiled rice and serve with some lightly buttered broccoli and seasoned diced potatoes. Simple, light and easy, full of vitamins and long-lasting energy.
- For iftar, keep some plain, natural yoghurt on the table; it is great for aiding digestion.
- Making roast chicken and baked potatoes is a lot healthier than opting for fried samosas and chips – just think about how horrible you will feel after all the grease!
- If you are a dessert lover, fresh fruit and ice-cream is a lighter alternative to chocolate or pastry desserts.
Obviously, there are many hundreds of other ways to keep healthy during Ramadan and we’re sure you will share your tips with us.
While you open and close your fast this year, we urge you not to forget those in need during Ramadan; those who don’t have the option of eating healthy or otherwise. You can donate to Muslim Aid’s Feed the Fasting campaign here.
P.s. There is nothing wrong with indulging a little on Eid after your abstaining efforts during Ramadan!
Ramadan Kareem to all our supporters and wishing you all a blessed Eid.