Ramadan– The Holy month for Muslims all around the globe is an amazing opportunity to cleanse the heart, soul, and body. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk abstaining themselves from food, drink, and smoking and strive to avoid thoughts and acts that are impure as the underlying message of Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control and this shouldn’t fall apart at the end of the day.
My mum always says- Ramadan is a month for fasting and not feasting. But then again, who doesn’t deserve a table full of fried foods after a day of fasting? That’s the least you deserve right?
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
This is where all of us go wrong or at least have all these years. This year, I’d like to change that for you and me. Let’s do it right this time and be thankful to The Almighty for even the most basic things we have.
Ramadan is the perfect opportunity for a healthy beginning that your body has been craving for. Don’t consider this month as an opportunity to lose weight, but instead, focus on making healthy choices that will help you all year round.
So what should you eat and drink?
Your intake during Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Ifthar (meal at dusk) should be simple and nutritious. Keep the following things in mind and hopefully, this will help you shoo away all your bad eating habits for good.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
Ramadan falls during Summer this year and chances of dehydration are at its peak. Drinking enough fluids will not only keep you from becoming dehydrated while you fast, but it will also control your sugar cravings after you break your fast.
Aim to drink 2 glasses at Suhoor, 2 glasses at Ifthar and at least 3-4 glasses after Ifthar and before Suhoor with short breaks between each glass of water.
Other than water you can always opt for herbal teas such as green tea, ginger tea or cinnamon tea that will not only keep you hydrated but all aid in digestion.
Fruit juice is best to be avoided but if you wish to drink, cut the sugar. Fruits are sweet on their own and contain a good amount of sugar- You don’t need that extra sugar. none of us do! No carbonated drinks tooooo!
DO NOT SKIP SUHOOR- THE PRE DAWN MEAL!
Eat a light but healthy suhoor. Include food such as eggs, oats, whole grain bread or green leafy vegetables. Avoiding your suhur will only get you hungrier the rest of the day and you will finish up indulging for iftar.
A LIGHT IFTHAR- THE MEAL AT DUSK!
The one thing you need to keep in mind throughout this month is that- The iftar meal isn’t supposed to make up those hours you spent without food. Forget that you haven’t eaten all day and just sit at the table like you have for just another meal.
Start with just one date, you don’t need more as they are high in sugar. Drink a glass of water followed by a bowl of clear chicken soup or veg soup. Avoid cream-based soups at all costs. Add more greens to your meal- A lightly dressed salad that will give you the nutrition you need. If you want to eat kebabs, shallow fry them in coconut oil or olive oil or just bake them. Avoid fatty deep fried food. Eat a small portion of fruit or have a glass of sugarless fruit juice.
If you wish to eat a meal after your prayers, eat wisely and choose a dish that is balanced in proteins and carbohydrates and do not forget to control your portions. JUST DO NOT OVEREAT!
It seems the number one cause for weight gain in Ramadan is not the food you eat for iftar but the sugar you consume through beverages and sweets. Number 2, is fried food.
This Ramadan challenge yourselves to avoid sugar at all costs and continue the same for the rest of the year. Soooo, no chocolates, donuts, cakes or any other kinds of desserts (Says the girl who broke her fasts with chocolates all these years- Uh oh!).
I know it’s hard but its life-changing and super effective.
Fasting must not be an excuse to sleep all day or laze around. We need to maintain our usual activity level through the day and try exercising for at least 30 minutes after Ifthar.
I hope this Ramadan we make healthy life choices and may this month help us empty our stomachs and feed our souls. Ameen!