Many a time you may have wondered whether your nutritional needs are met during the holy season of Ramadan or if you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. But the fact of the matter is that your fasting shouldn't hinder you from having a complete and balanced food intake. The secret quite simply lies in your ability to tailor your nutritional needs to Iftar, your night meal and Suhour.
WHAT ARE THE BASIC NUTRIENTS THAT YOU NEED TO GET EVERY DAY?
Carbohydrates:work as the fuel of your body by providing you with the energy you require to perform your daily activities. It is also important for the balance of blood sugar. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta. Additionally, dates, dried fruit and fresh fruits are also an excellent source of natural sugar - just what you need for extra energy at every meal during this holy month.
Proteins:are the building blocks of your tissues. Good sources of protein include fish, skinless chicken, lean meat cuts, and legumes (chickpeas, beans and fava beans), nuts and seeds. Consuming enough protein during each of your Ramadan meals will keep you feeling full until the next meal, preventing you from eating too many sweets.
Fats:are also an energy source for the body and play a vital role in the normal functioning of your body cells. Some fats are essential for health. Good fats are found in fish, olives, nuts and vegetable oil. Avoid saturated fats such as those found in butter and ghee especially in your sweet and savoury cooking, because they can increase Cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease. Use canola and olive oil instead for a better heart and overall health.
Vitamins and minerals:play an important role in achieving normal cell functions, boosting the body's immunity and vitality, and providing important antioxidants that protect body cells from disease. Rich sources of vitamins and minerals include vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits (fresh, dry or juice) all of which have their own position on the table of Ramadan. You should also consume Milk and Laban which would provide you with calcium, vitamins and minerals for good bone health.
HOW CAN YOU ACHIEVE BALANCED NUTRITION DURING FASTING TO MEET YOUR DAILY NEEDS?
You can achieve all your nutritional needs by following a balanced meal plan which suits your weight and body requirements. If your weight is about 60kg, you will need around 1800-2000 calories to maintain your weight.
Here is a simple plan from Iftar to Sohour to see how you can cover your nutritional needs during a day of fasting.
- 2 dates
- 1 cup of Mushroom with tomato and Corn Soup
- 1 bowl of salad + 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Roasted Chicken with Green Beans Saffron Rice (90g chicken and 1 cup rice)
- 1 cup of low fat laban
- Qatayef Asafiri Bil Kishta (1 piece with 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup)
- 2/3 cup low fat yoghurt
- 1 whole wheat bun
- 2 Tbsp low fat labneh
- 1/2 cup of fruit salad
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 1 small brown Arabic bread
- 1/2 cup fava beans (foul mudamas) covered with tomatoes and parsley
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- 1 orange
As the sun sets and the cannon heralds the eagerly awaited Iftar, it is only natural to forget about the importance of consuming sufficient fluids. So as a gentle reminder, we urge you to drink plenty of water after the fast to assure the proper hydration of your body.
And while you enjoy the delicacies of Ramadan, remember to do that in moderation so that sweets don’t replace your essential nutrients. In conclusion, let the good blessings of health and joy accompany your food and your family as you celebrate this festive season of Ramadan.