Healthy eating during Ramadan
Ramadan 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. Since a typical 3 meals a day diet changes drastically during this fasting period, here are some tips to guide you to healthy eating during Ramadan for easier management of your health and wellness.
1. Do not skip Sahur (pre-dawn meal)
This is an important meal to keep your body fueled throughout the day. You will likely feel dehydrated, lethargic and restless If you do not consume adequate, appropriate and nutritious food to last you till Iftar (i.e., time to break fast). Not eating well during the pre-dawn meal may also result in overeating during Iftar. This could potentially cause unhealthy weight gain and risk subjecting your body to high level of post-prandial blood glucose levels (post meal spike in blood sugar).
So, here are some of our dietary tips to help you during the period of Ramadan:
2. Consume higher fibre and a protein-rich meals
Fibre-rich foods keeps you full longer as they take more time to digest. Protein on the other hand, provides satiety and helps you to feel full quicker while consuming less calories. It is important to make sure that Sahur (pre-dawn meal) is nutritious and filling enough to keep you full for longer without overeating in a single meal. Hence, a high fibre and high protein meal is a good way to start the day.
For example, making roast chicken and baked potatoes is a lot healthier than opting for fried samosas and chips.
For iftar, try to consume more fibre with some tasty salad greens and/or 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. Including a rainbow of colours for fruits and vegetables is a good way to ensure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its optimal.
Ramadan 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. Since a typical 3-meal-a-day diet changes drastically during this fasting period, here are some Ramadan fasting tips to help you eat well, making fasting during Ramadan manageable for your health and wellness.
3. Do not skip the carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are also essential for a balanced meal. One of the primary functions of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy. Carbs also help to reduce muscle breakdown and provide glucose as energy for the brain, so it is essential that we do not skip the consumption of carbs.
However, not all carbs benefit our bodies in the same way. Carbs that are unrefined, like wholegrains and complex carbs with higher fibre are better options for our carb choices. If you are not a fan of brown rice, here is great news for you.
Here’s a simple Nasi Kunyit Rice recipe that is made healthier with
Alchemy Fibre™ For Rice, a halal product, that is appetising, fragrant and
perfect with any side dishes to share with the family during suhur.
4. Opt for lower GI food options
Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) release sugar more slowly. This causes your blood sugar to increase more gradually. Low GI foods are especially important for people with diabetes as they can help to regulate their blood sugar levels. Examples of low GI foods include whole grains, chickpeas, and oranges.
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 (read: low GI) – 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.
5. Cravings for sweets and sugar during fasting hours
Have you ever experienced that deep sweet craving in Ramadan? Chances are, you answered yes to this question.
There are several reasons we crave sugar more than other types of food during this period of fasting. One of which is a physiological reaction to restriction and “starvation” that occurs when we are fasting. Also, in times of hunger our brain sends signals to the body for energy as sugar is its primary source of food. As such, we crave sugar rich foods.
During sahur, we might find ourselves overconsuming sweets regularly in the evening that can possibly lead to imbalances in blood sugar, sugar crashes, eating too much, and excess thirst. To counter this healthily, Alchemy No Sugar Added Premixes promises:
- Sugar-free treats
- Increase dietary fibre
- 30%-50% less butter or oil to create the same great taste and texture
Homebaked treats are often healthier than store-bought and baking at home can be a lot of fun. With our premixes, you get to enjoy sugar-free treats like muffins and brownies.
Fasting in general can potentially throw our health off balance. By making wise and mindful choices, fasting during Ramadan can be extra meaningful when our body feels good during the day.
6. Drink as much water as possible between Iftar and Sahur
Try to consume at least 8 glasses of water and fluid (e.g., juices, milk, soup etc) before dawn and after sundown, so to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are best avoided as these beverages have a diuretic effect (the need to urinate and hence losing more water from the body). Consuming fruits before dawn also helps to keep the body hydrated as they are high in water content.
The key to keeping your body fueled through the day when fasting during Ramadan is a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Make careful choices for your meals and be sure to rest enough before waking up for Sahur as sleep is important for the body to properly function too.