Ramadan is a sacred time of reflection and even though the usual eating routine changes for the month, it is possible to stay healthy. In fact, Ramadan can actually be a great time for a healthy reset and an opportunity for mindful reflection around improving your eating habits and lifestyle.
Our Aligned Health dietitians put together this quick list of their top 10 healthy eating tips to remember during Ramadan. If you would like more in-depth information, tips and recipes, download our Free Nutrition Guide: How to Stay Healthy in Ramadan to find out everything you need to know about staying healthy during Ramadan.
Here are our top 10 healthy eating tips for Ramadan:
1. Embrace intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has become quite popular in the health and wellness industry. Fasting raises your growth hormone levels, lowers your insulin and reduces sugar cravings. On average, during Ramadan you will be fasting every day for 15 hours and eating for 9 hours. Experience what it is like to fast and take note of how your body responds. A good way to track this is by keeping a food journal to write down any comments about how you feel.
2. Break your fast the traditional way
Yes! We all agree that dates and water are the best way to break your fast. Dates are a good source of fiber which regulates your glucose levels and offers a source of minerals and vitamins. Drinking water is recommended to rehydrate your body and make you feel full.
7. Stay hydrated
3. Add soup to your menu
Soups are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and also keep your body hydrated. When it comes to picking a soup, choose something with a healthy protein like lentils, chicken or beef combined with vegetables.
Follow these healthy swaps to make sure your soup is healthy:
Use light cooking cream or coconut cream instead of full fat cream
Use olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter
Ditch ready-made soups and broths and opt for fresh ingredients instead
4. Eat your greens
Fuel your body with at least one source of greens everyday. A salad bowl with mixed leaves like fresh spinach, kale, lettuce and rocket leaves is a great way to ensure you get a substantial daily dose of goodness. Be mindful of the dressings you use as many shop bought sauces are packed with preservatives and sugar.
Get inspired with some of the Right Bite Homemade Sauces.
5. Keep it simple
After breaking the fast, iftar is quite commonly a time when people tend to overeat. One of our nutrition philosophy principles is about moderation; everything in moderation, including moderation! While we aren’t against overindulging on special occasions, minimizing overeating at iftar is one of the ways to stay healthy during Ramadan. Keep it simple by only preparing 2 main dishes rich in carbohydrates like whole-grain rice, potatoes, burghul, quinoa, topped with vegetables and lean proteins such as chicken, beef meat and fish.
6. Snack smart
Fruit, homemade sweets such as ‘Meghli’,’Rez bil halib’, dried fruits and raw nuts are all healthy options for snacking. It is ok to indulge yourself with your favorite sweets in moderation; just make sure it’s 2 to 3 hours after iftar to avoid bloating and delayed digestion.
Get inspired with some of the Right Bite Healthy Snacks
Water comes first. It is crucial for increasing energy levels, maintaining brain function, relieving fatigue and flushing out toxins. Daily recommendations are 8 to 10 cups of water while limiting caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, sodas and energy drinks. After the fast is broken, make sure that you drink enough water to keep you hydrated throughout the day. You can also opt for foods with a high water content such as cucumbers and apples.
8. Avoid sugary drinks
Swap drinks that are highly loaded with sugar such as sodas, ‘kamar el din’, fruit juices, ‘Jallab’ with sparkling water, infused water with lemon or mint, homemade lemonade, or some herbal teas.
9. Make it a healthy Suhoor
Suhoor can be the same as what you would usually eat for a healthy breakfast the rest of the year. For a balanced breakfast, pick your carbohydrates (rolled oats, whole grain toast or bread), proteins (white cheese, eggs, nuts, fava beans), and combine with some vegetables.
10. Keep moving
Doing a low to moderate intensity exercise is advised. We usually suggest brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and light weight exercises. Working out before iftar or 2-3 hours afterwards is highly recommended to avoid any gastrointestinal disturbances and to help with energy levels.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Ramadan Kareem!
Download our Free Nutrition Guide: How to Stay Healthy in Ramadan to find out everything you need to know about staying healthy during Ramadan.