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Nutritional tips for Ramadan

Nutritional tips for Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan can improve one’s health, but only if done in the proper manner. But if done incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good. This Ramadan, we give you wide range of nutrition tips to follow. Learn how you can eat healthy at Iftar and Suhour and ensure adequate nutrition and continued good health. Follow our Tips to make a few lifestyle changes to get the best out of this Ramadan. Let this season be a time of revival in spirit, soul and body.

A healthy Iftar goes hand in hand with the traditions: starting with 2 dates, then a glass of water or laban, then start the meal with a warm bowl of soup, a salad and the main course. Of course moderation is key to health!!!

Starting your Iftar meal with a warm soup comforts the stomach after a long day of fasting, replenishes your body with fluids and help prepare the digestive system for this blessed meal.

A balanced main dish at Iftar should contain a source of carbohydrates like rice, pasta, potatoes or burghul, as well as some form of protein like beef, chicken or fish, in addition to cooked vegetables. Balance and moderation are key to health!

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the holy month of Ramadan. At least 8 glasses distributed in small quantities so not to feel bloated.

To prevent getting thirsty during Ramadan, drink plenty of water, avoid foods that are too spicy or salty, and consume more fruits and vegetables that are refreshing!

Some people tend to be more sedentary during the month of Ramadan. To burn extra calories, make sure to be active by at least going for a walk everyday, 2 hours after having Iftar which allows you time to digest your meal.

Some people tend to eat more during Ramadan and this can lead to weight gain. Eating a healthy Iftar, eating starters and sweets in moderation, choosing more fruits and vegetables, avoiding sweetened beverages, and being active everyday will help you maintain your weight.

Suhour is a vital meal in Ramadan. It gives you strength and vitality for the day and can make fasting easier and tolerable. Make sure that this meal is rich in slowly absorbed Carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, rice and whole grain cereals that can help maintain your blood sugar levels.

For plenty of vitamins and minerals vital to good health, make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables during Ramadan, and to include a variety of vegetable in your soups!

People who suffer from headache or dizziness due to low blood sugar levels during the fasting period should break the fast at Iftar time by starting with 2-3 dates which will help replenish blood sugar levels.

Eating your soup and salad slowly at Iftar will help you feel full and prevent you from overeating later from the main dish and sweets.

Delightful sweets in Ramadan are hard to resist. To avoid consuming too many calories, indulge and enjoy with your family the tasty and creative delights while making sure you always practice portion control and moderation!!!

Choose dates, dried fruits and nuts as part of your diet during Ramadan. These provide healthy nutrients and are packed with energy, thus helping you keep your vitality during this month.

To make your dishes lighter during Ramadan, adopt healthy cooking methods such as grilling, boiling, simmering and roasting and add taste to the food with a wealth of vegetables, herbs and seasonings.

Eating sweets immediately after Iftar will increase the size of your stomach and cause a delay in digestion. It will also cause a fluctuation in the blood glucose level, which will lead to you craving for more sweets. That’s why, it is recommended to have sweets in moderation 2-3 hours after Iftar.

Planning your meals and Ramadan recipes ahead will help you be organized during this month, maximize your energy and strength and gives you ample time to choose a variety of foods and healthy recipes to delight and nourish the family.

For balanced nutrition, try not to rely solely on Iftar to give you all your nutritional requirements. You can have other light meals before bed time such as low fat yoghurt and a whole-wheat cheese sandwich, or some dried fruits and nuts. Not to forget your Suhour that can include a glass of low fat milk, whole wheat bread and some legumes.

Avoid salty foods, such as canned or processed foods, salted nuts, and pickles, because these will increase your thirst during the fasting period.

2-3 dates are enough to break your fast on. Remember dates are also rich in calories, so don't forget that moderation is required to help you maintain a healthy weight during Ramadan.

Make sure your soup includes generous amounts of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, squash, and carrots. These add vitamins and minerals to your soup as well as fibres which are essential for a healthy digestive system.

Be creative with your salad. The more varied and colorful vegetables you include in your salad, the more assorted are the nutrients and antioxidants you get. These help protect your body cells and promote good health especially during this holy month.

Divide your main course into three parts. Have one quarter of the plate filled with complex carbohydrates, one quarter with lean meat or meat alternatives, and half with vegetables. This will ensure that you have a healthy balanced meal.

If you feel full quickly and are unable to complete your Iftar, you can delay your main course until after your Maghreb prayer. This will ensure that you have enough time to digest your dates, soup and salad, preventing you from feeling uncomfortable as a result of overeating after a long day of fasting.

Be moderate in your consumption of appetisers such as sambosa, because deep fried foods are high in calories and fat that could increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Instead, when you can, try to have them baked and stuffed with low fat cheese.

Have Ramadan drinks such as jallab and dried apricot syrup in moderate amounts. Although they are a good source of sugar and some vitamins they are also a rich source of calories, adding up to your caloric intake. To quench your thirst, drink more water.

If you are a coffee drinker, try and reduce your coffee consumption two weeks prior to the Holy month of Ramadan in order to avoid headaches and sleepiness.

If you love to drink coffee during Ramadan, have a cup one to two hours after having a healthy balanced Iftar.

To control your calorie intake during Ramadan, try to limit your portions, especially sweets. Instead choose one type of sweets that you like everyday and have a 3-finger size portion.

If you are a regular athlete used to moderate or vigorous exercise, you can still maintain this by incorporating your exercise session just before Iftar. Make sure to hydrate immediately after your session and eat slowly to replenish your fluid and nutrients.

Having three meals is still important during this holy month: Iftar, a light evening snack, and Suhour. This would help you avoid continuous snacking throughout the non-fasting hours.

You can prepare lower calorie sweets at home by using low fat dairy products such as low fat milk and cream, using a moderate amount of oil and sugar, baking your sweets or having them raw when you can.

Make sure that each of your meals include complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and burghul which are absorbed slowly in your body, ensuring you have a stable level of glucose in your blood stream for 4-5 hours.

Meats, legumes, eggs and dairy products are rich in proteins. Ensure you have at least one of these sources in every Ramadan meal since proteins are very important for you body cells. They also increase your satiety level thus reducing the temptation for eating sweets.

A change in routine, like fasting during Ramadan, could lead to constipation. To avoid this, enrich your diet with fibre by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Drink plenty of water and try to be active whenever possible.

For better health, be moderate in adding salt to your cooked dishes especially during Ramadan. Instead use vegetables, herbs and spices to add flavor and color to your meals!

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