Aim to Eat Healthy this Ramadan

With long fasting hours, the holy month of Ramadan is just about here and with that, the challenge of eating healthy during Iftar and Suhoor may be quitechallenging with all the tempting food and desserts available. What you eat is important to maintain energy levels, and avoid blood sugar crashes, mood swings, and headaches.

Avoid

Simple or refined sugars: These last only 3 to 4 hours and they are low in essential nutrients including: sugars, white flour, pastries, donuts, croissants, biscuits, sugary cereals, fruit juices, Amar el din juice, sugary, sweetened kaak, and Arabic desserts.

Caffeine: Tea and coffee, and licorice juices are diuretic and promote faster water loss through urination, which can lead to dehydration.

Avoid large amounts of prawn, shrimp and shellfish, and full cream cheeses.

Salty / fatty foods: These can trigger an imbalance of sodium levels in your body and can lead to thirst, so, while fasting so try to avoid salted nuts, canned foods, pickles, chips, and foods that contain soya sauce, tuna in water, salted broths, carbonated fizzy beverages, processed sausages, hot dogs, fried rice, meats, shell fish, and shrimp.

Avoid spicy food

Healthy Alternatives

Protein makes you feel full longer; it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which is important if you are fasting for more than 12 hours.

Long lasting complex carbohydrates and high-fiber foods: whole wheat, oats, beans, and rice, whole grain flour, wholegrain cereals, and dates.

Drink as much water as possible

Start with a bowl of fresh green salad or well-balanced vegetable soup at Iftar.

Almonds and raw nuts contain good fats essential for reducing craving after the long-hours of fasting.

Dates: Decrease the feeling of hunger, preventing one from overeating and prepare the stomach to receive food after many hours of fasting. Dates are also rich in sugar and energy, restoring nutrients in the body and can help prevent constipation as a result of altered meal times.

Fiber: Digested slowly and help with increased satiety, include fruits (raw and unpeeled) and vegetables.

More tips

  • Also don’t forget the all-important fluids as they maintain water and salt levels in the body. Water and fluids with vitamins such as whole fresh fruit smoothies should replace caffeinated and traditional Ramadan juices unless a sugar free version is available.
  • Replace fried and sugary sweets with baked or less fat and sugar versions.
  • Bake instead of frying as this is easier to digest and has fewer calories. Instead, opt for grilled or baked meat, chicken, fish, baked spring rolls, baked pastries, turkey, boiled eggs which are better options.
  • (Credit: Nathalie Djabrayan, licensed clinical dietitian, Djabrayan Chiropractic Care & Diet Center)