It’s that time again, where our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters abstain from food and water for over 12 hours a day, having to make the most out of their sahur and iftar – the only two meals during this period.
Naturally, when its time to buka puasa, we just can’t wait to stuff our faces with whatever we can get our hands on, but it’s not about the quantity but the quality of food we eat that matters, meaning maintaining a balanced diet without jeopardising our health.
So here are some useful tips on healthy eating you NEED to inculcate during this season of Ramadan.
Eating habit during sahur
#1 Consume food with high fluid content
It is a known fact that water is essential to our body, hence why many stress upon the act of drinking water. Fruits such as watermelons and strawberries, and vegetables such as cucumber, celery and baby carrots are essential in keeping your body hydrated throughout the day, especially with the unbearable humidity these days.
#2 Vitamin-filled sahur
Food with high protein should be on your must-eat list. It takes a longer time to digest and keeps you active throughout the day. Complimentary sides such as eggs, cheese and beans, cook up a Western-like breakfast meal you usually have at a hotel breakfast buffet. And if you’re lactose intolerant, you can always opt for soy and almond milk as an ideal alternative.
#3 Gobble up starchy and fibre-full food
Starchy delicacies are brilliant at keeping you full for long periods of time and also helps curb those nasty indigestions and heartburns. So remember to stuff yourself with oats, high-fibre cereals and whole grain bread. Brown rice and potatoes are good sources of energy which boost concentration – something we all need to be productive for a long day ahead.
Also, never skip on your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, a staple throughout Ramadan as its fibre content will help combat constipation and other digestive issues you would definitely want to avoid.
Yoghurt also helps with the digestion process and is also high in fluids. It is also high in protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals that would serve you well. You can also drop a couple of berries into your yoghurt to add some flavour if needed.
#4 Things to avoid during sahur
As scrumptious as they may look, it’s best we stay away from the greasy food and fizzy drinks in the morning, hence your McDonald’s and other mouth-watering fast foods. This will make you sluggish by noon, which is alarming given you’ve got another few hours of fasting to go. We’ll definitely not be ‘loving it’.
Some of us need to have a whiff and a sip of a nice warm cup of coffee in the morning when we wake up – a routine we must break, at least for this season of fasting. The caffeine content will provide the urge to urinate which in turn dehydrates your body faster.
Eating habit during iftar
#1 Fresh fruits juices
It’s important to replenish your body fluids after a long day, and what better way to do it but with water or some fresh fruit juices – not cordials. Fresh coconut water provides that refreshing and rejuvenating sensation – almost like a breath of fresh air.
Fruit juices are a natural option in regulating blood sugar seeing that your glucose level may be low at this point. It also serves as a soluble source of fibre as well.
#2 Replenish slowly
There is always that insatiable urge to go on a gobbling frenzy once its time for buka puasa. This would only lead to an uneasy stomach by the end of it all. Replenish slowly and take your time when breaking fast.
Start off with some warm meat stew or a vegetable broth to get your stomach going. Add some beans or lentils into your soup if you wish to make your soup a little more filling. Avoid creamy based soup as they may overwhelm your empty belly to the point of uneasiness which would disrupt your iftar for the day.
#3 Fruits and veggies with low acidic content
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and celery are low in acidic content, hence making it ideal to consume as you lead on to bigger and tastier delicacies.
This will not only help you avoid an upset stomach but also acid reflux and gastric which commonly occur during Ramadan.
Watermelons and honeydews would help sooth the stomach and lower its acidity whilst replenishes the fluidity to rehydrate your body. You can also opt for bananas for a boost in energy if you are feeling slightly lethargic.
#4 Fibre and carbs
As your stomach gets acclimatised with the appetisers, ease your way into heavier meals.
You may start stocking up on your carbs now. Dishes such as rice, bread and pasta can definitely be found on your table filled with the array of dishes, and when coupled with high protein dishes such as red meat, fish or chicken, only equates to a balanced diet.
#5 To eat or nah!
By now, iftar should be in full flow and the whole atmosphere is merry after a long day of fasting. As important as it is to enjoy your meal and the company you share a meal with, it is equally important not to stuff yourself to indigestion. Monitor your food consumption.
Consume spicy, salty food, food in high sugar content and greasy food in moderation or if you can – avoid them altogether. Overconsuming them would slow down the digestion process and would get you thirsty, hence leading to a bloated belly. Again, yoghurt with fruits would help to avoid unnecessary digestive issues.
There you have it! A comprehensive diet plan for this Ramadan. Follow this guide and you would be not only healthy but be able to make it through this fasting season – no sweat! One thing to note – it’s not about the quantity but the quality of food we eat that matters.
Blessed Ramadan everyone from CatchThatBus! ☺️