Diet in Ramadan
Ramadan is one of the most important and sacred months for Muslims. We long for its arrival and do the planning all year. Those who observe the rituals take their first meal before dawn and fast the whole day till sunset.
Besides the spirituality of this month, which is undoubtedly the most important aspect, another thing is the food you get to eat during this month. The iftar planning and preps start as the day begins in most households.
Meals in Ramadan
In Ramadan, we take two major meals in 24 hours with light snacking in between the meals. It is almost the same as intermittent fasting but it depends on the food choices you make.
Suhoor is the meal you take before dawn and it is made sure that it fulfills your requirement for the next 12-14 hours, depending on the time of the year. The menu is almost the same as breakfast in our region. Most people like having paratha, egg, and tea with the addition of yogurt or lassi, as it is believed to quench the thirst for a whole day.
What should you eat at suhoor?
The proteins keep you feeling full for a longer period and prevent starvation. It is necessary to take proteins to avoid muscle loss. The best proteins to take in suhoor include
The enlisted food contains higher water content and good-quality proteins.
The complex carbohydrates stay longer in your stomach and improve satiety, whereas taking a sugary or refined carbohydrate will make you feel hungry earlier. Besides that the fiber in these foods retains water and avoids dehydration and constipation during Ramadan, so you can ensure the best essence of the holy month. The best foods include
- Porridge (wheat or barley)
- Bran bread or whole wheat roti/paratha
- Fruits and vegetables
Opting for healthy fats also improves satiety during fasting. Fats are second to carbohydrates considering their energy production. Including good health-friendly fats will prevent you from feeling tired and lethargic. Seeds, nuts, and nut butter may be taken at suhoor as well.
It is suggested to take enough water during feasting hours and not stick to water gallon at suhoor. It is because more water taken over time will rehydrate better than drinking 2 liters of water at once. If you do so, all the effort you put into drinking water more than your capacity will be flushed, literally.
Iftar is sort of the breakfast you take at sunset. It is the most awaited meal because normally you are asleep between breakfast and dinner so you don't feel the urge to eat or drink, but while fasting and being awake it gets harder to avoid foods. It may be because sometimes we tend to eat not because we are hungry but because we are craving.
Unfortunately, in most of the households in our region, iftar is the least healthy meal. It is necessary to have a dish full of fried foods and sugary drinks. But it is a little treat for refraining from all the food all day. This treatment may turn into punishment for the body if not taken carefully. Below is the guide on how your iftar can be made tastier as well as healthier.
What should you eat at iftar?
Iftar is supposed to be full of nutrients to replenish the losses and prepare yourself for the fast the next day too. It must include healthy proteins, good fats, enough carbohydrates, and of course water.
Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates. It is the best food to have instant energy. It must be followed by the inclusion of healthy carbohydrates like fruits, which are almost present on every iftar table in the form of fruit chaat. Roti made with whole wheat flour is also a good source of carbohydrates.
The pakora, samosa, and other fried items are the least healthy options that have to be eaten very carefully. Treat yourself to one of such foods once or twice a week. Instead of these items, you can add some wraps or sandwiches in your iftar or even pasta.
The best protein to include at iftar is yogurt or milk. It is a very good option that contains plenty of all micro and macronutrients. It is mostly present in the form of dahi Bhalla, a really tasty food item.
Besides that pulses, chickpeas, and beans can also be good options and may be added to salads. Meat is a well-known protein and a must-have for those who work out after the iftar.
The quality of fats you include in iftar should be good and the quantity should be less. Because the traditional menu of iftar is incomplete without such items, one of the fried items may be eaten, that too in moderation.
Fats are not a necessary nutrient to be a part of your iftar menu and its requirement is usually fulfilled by the normal foods we eat.
Water is an important part of both suhoor and iftar. Especially in the summers, after a long day of fasting first thing after a date, or some people break their fasts with water or any form of juice. It is good to rehydrate but again drink more water over a long time not all at once because firstly it may make you feel nauseous, fuller, or bloated. Secondly, it will all be flushed out of your body early.
The better way is to drink until you’re not thirsty anymore, not until you are full of water. Secondly, include fruits and salads in iftar as they tend to retain water and prevent dehydration.
Ramadan is the favorite month of most Muslims because of its spirituality and because it makes you feel closer to the Creator. in this month people observe fast from dawn till sunset for a whole month. The essence of this month is to purify the souls as well as the bodies by fasting. But sadly, diet patterns become so unhealthy that it worsens the environment inside our bodies. The right choice of foods in suhoor and iftar can result in better health after this holy month.