Understanding Ramadan

Ramadan is here in full swing and is the time when Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk, with a special focus on prayers, charity, and spiritual enlightenment. Here Nadine Tayara, Licensed Dietitian and Wellness & Nutrition Consultant talks about the main meals in Ramadan—iftar and suhour and how to consume the best for optimal health.

Traditionally, one breaks fast by drinking water, consuming some dates to help restore energy and bring blood sugar levels back up after a long day’s fast and a cup of laban or buttermilk. The Iftar meal is the main meal that consists of including a warm soup (preferably clear-based and not creamy) e.g. homemade vegetable or lentil soup, with a main course comprised of lean protein, complex carbohydrate such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato or whole-wheat pasta and a wholesome bowl of salad such as fattoush or rocca with mixed vegetables.

Consuming the suhour meal as close to dawn as possible is most ideal, thus providing enough energy for the day ahead, and helps with curbing appetite when consuming high-fiber and protein-rich meals. Hydration is vital during this month as well, and as the summer approaches, it’s important to ensure you are well hydrated from when you break your fast until you resume your fast again (ensuring adequate hydration from dusk until dawn).

This month is a time for reflection, for creating and recreating healthy habits and embracing traditions whilst spending quality time with those around us. Remember to be mindful, with your thoughts, actions and eating. Take time to savor your meals, chew your food and enjoy the peace that surrounds you.