What To Eat During Ramadan
Image: Umar S One of the questions (albeit a practical or even prosaic question) that people want to know is what exactly should they ...
Image: Umar S
The answer is actually rather simple. There is no special diet that is necessary during Ramadan. What is important is to maintain a normal and healthy diet while fasting, and to eat in moderation. Avoid over-eating at the end of the fast at all costs. Over-eating is not a correct way to compensate for the lack of calories during fasting!
Did you know that the metabolic rate of the body is reduced during fasting and since most fasting people assume a more sedentary lifestyle during Ramadan, the net result is that a balanced diet, which consists less than the normal amount of food intake, is sufficient to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan.
Here are some useful tips compiled (by Ranganath, Dietician, Al Zahra Hospital, Sharjah) that will help you in planning your Ramadan meals:
1) Think of vegetables as the main food. Treat meat, milk and grains as condiments. Start thinking of carrot sticks with hummus instead of pita bread. Don’t give up eating breads and meat, just de-emphasize them.
2) Drink lots of water. You should not ignore your water consumption. It seems obvious but drink lots of water between Iftar and sleep, to avoid dehydration. Drinking too much tea will increase urine output and inevitably cause the loss of valuable mineral salts. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coke, coffee or tea four to five days before Ramadan, gradually reduce the intake of these drinks since a sudden decrease will result in headaches, mood swings and irritability.
3) Sample Meal Plans. Your meal plan should include:
- Bread/ Cereal/ Rice, Pasta Group – 6-11 servings/ day
- Meat/ Beans/ Nuts Group – 2-3 servings/ day
- Milk & milk products – 2-3 servings/ day
- Vegetable Group – 3-5 servings/ day
- Fruit Group – 2-4 servings/ day
- Added sugar & fat – use sparingly.
Breaking the fast (Iftar): 2-3 dates, a serving (4 oz) of unsweetened juice, a cup of light vegetable soup with some pasta or Graham crackers.
Note: The body’s immediate need at the time of iftar is to get an easily available energy source in the form of glucose. Dates and juices in the above amounts are sufficient to bring low blood glucose levels to normal levels. The juice and soup also helps to maintain water and mineral balance in the body. An unbalanced diet and too many servings of sherbets and sweets with added sugars have been found to be unhealthy.
Dinner (Iftar): Consume foods from all the food groups. Include salads, chicken or fish or lean meat, some grain as rice or bread or pasta, a small tub of low-fat yogurt, and a serving of fruit.
Try out good healthy choices such as:
Whole-meal bread roll without butter (choose herbs instead), filled with egg and tomato, chicken and salads, low fat cheese and salad, or tuna with cucumber and tomato; Whole meal pasta with tomato based sauce with a large salad; Salad with grilled / baked fish or chicken or lean meat along with a small portion of rice or wholemeal bread; Baked potato with tuna or low-fat cottage cheese.
Pre-dawn Meal (Suhur): Consume a light suhur. Eat whole wheat or oat cereal or whole wheat bread. Have a salad along with 1-2 servings of fruit. In view of the long hours of fasting, the so-called “complex carbohydrates” or slow digesting foods should be consumed at suhur, resulting in less hunger during the day. These complex carbohydrates are found in foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour and unpolished rice.
4 Golden rules to follow during Ramadan.
1. Avoid too much fat, sugar, salts and caffeine
2. Always have fresh food available
3. Stick to a low-fat diet; Cut out fried foods
4 .Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.
+ The Ramadan Blog