While fasting only takes place during daylight hours, it is still important to eat healthy, nutritious meals the 30 day observance to avoid fatigue and potential medical issues due to vitamin and diet deficiency.
Drink Plenty of Water
Proper hydration is essential during Ramadan. Drink plenty of fruit juice and water during Suhoor and bedtime to maintain proper fluid levels. This helps avoid common health problems associated with dehydration such as headache and fatigue.
Replace Sugar with Fruit
Sugar absorbs necessary vitamins and minerals from our bodies. During Ramadan, it is important to retain as many vitamins and minerals as possible. White rice and bread act in the same way sugars do in our bodies. Whole wheat and unpolished rice are a good substitute.
It’s a sad truth that the majority of Muslims gain weight during Ramadan, but there is no need to consume excess food at suhoor or iftaar. This may result in indigestion, bloating, upset stomach or lack of sleep. There is no reason to vary your diet too much from your normal diet before fasting. During a period of fasting, our bodies are able to compensate so there is no reason to eat more than normal.
Ramadan Diet Suggestions
Soup is a quick and easy way to get the nourishment your body needs. Soup provides two basic needs during a fast: nourishment and water. It is an excellent choice for iftar.
Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, potassium , magnesium and carbohydrates (Sunnah). Almonds are low in fat and a good source of protein and fiber.
Bananas are a good source of carbohydrates, magnesium and potassium. Other fruits, such as pears, nectarines, oranges, plums and apples are a good sources of natural sugar.
Foods to Avoid During Ramadan
Avoid fatty and fried foods as they will make you feel sluggish and possibly cause indigestion. You should also avoid foods with too much sugar, which is why fruits are a preferred option. Avoid tea and opt for water instead. Tea passes quickly through the digestive system and takes valuable mineral salts with it that the body needs to function properly during the day.
Recommended Ramadan Diet
Ramadan Meal Options
• Bread, rice, cereal, pasta, biscuits (6-11 servings per day)
• Meat, beans, nuts (2-3 servings per day)
• Milk/milk products (2-3 servings per day)
• Vegetables (3-5 servings per day)
• Fruits (2-4 servings per day)
• Added sugar (sparingly)
• Added fat, polyunsaturated oil (4-7 tablespoons)
Eat the Prophet (sallahi wa layhi wa selam)’s favorite’s foods which are dates, milk, honey, cucumbers, beats, pumpkin, olive oil, vinegar, meat (though he did not eat it daily), watermelon, and bread.
Pre-dawn Meal (Suhoor)
Suhoor should be a light nutritious meal. Suggestions includes
• Bread, rice, cereal, pasta (1-2 servings)
• Meat, beans, legumes (1 serving)
• Milk Group: Milk, butter-milk, yogurt, cottage cheese (choose one, one cup)
• Fruit (1-2 servings)
• Juice (1 4 oz. serving)
• Fiber, 3 dates (sunnah) + 1 serving leafy green (molokhia, parsley)
• Water (3 8 oz. servings)
Dates and juices help maintain blood sugar levels and are good sources of natural sugars. Avoid sweet rolls and other pastries. They are empty calories.
Honey is sunnah. It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Honey is a remedy for every illness, and the Qur’an is a remedy for all illness of the mind, therefore I recommend to you both remedies, the Qur’an and honey.”
Breakfast (Iftar)/Dinner after the fast
• Fiber, 3 dates
• Water (1 8 oz. serving)
Then, continue with dinner:
• Vegetable soup with pasta or graham crackers (1 cup)
• Meat Group: Chicken, beef, goat, fish, lamb (choose one, 1-2 servings)
• Green pea, chickpea, lentil, beans (half cup)
• Bread/Cereals: Whole wheat bread (1 oz.)
• Cooked rice (one cup)
• Vegetable Group: Mixed vegetable salad (one cup) [Lettuce, carrot, parsley, cucumber, broccoli or other similar vegetables (add 2 teaspoons olive oil or vinegar if desired)]
• Cooked vegetables and beans for dietary fiber and some vitamins such as carotene and vitamin A
• Juice (1 4 oz. serving)
Snacks or Dessert
• Fruits Group: Citrus and other fruits to provide a source of vitamin C (1-2 servings)
• Mixed nuts and fruits may be consumed as a snack following dinner or before bed.
Blood cholesterol and uric acid levels may be elevated during Ramadan. It is important to balance dietary needs during the entire period to ensure proper energy levels and functioning. We recommend that you see your doctor if you have additional questions or concerns. This is the beginning of the Food & Recipe section of the 35-day Ramadan & Eid blog series. If you have food and recipe recommendations, please share with us in the comments section below.
Wendy Bailey is a contributing writer at probiotics.org.
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