My top tips for a healthy Ramadhan
So you’ve fasted for the whole day and its time to eat. You need to refuel your body with good quality nutrients. However, our families spend months preparing tantalizing samosas, pastries and all manner of intricate delicacies. Samosas and other fried food are high in fat and have very little fibre/other key nutrients and thus become difficult to digest. Not ideal for people who need nutrients quickly. Thus for iftaar I usually eat simple carbohydrates from fruits. I tend to eat those fruits which have a high water content such as water melon, oranges and pineapple.
Keep a light stomach for Taraweeh Prayer The summer nights are very short and taraweeh prayer is only an hour after iftaar. In order to concentrate for the taraweeh prayer one must keep a light stomach. How many of us would attempt eating to a state of repletion and then going for a run!
Eat complex carbs for Sahoor After taraweeh is the time to eat. Try to eat complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils, cereals etc. Another great example particularly is porridge. These super foods are high in fibre and have a low GI rating, which basically mean that they will fill you up and release their energy slowly, which will help you during the long days. My father is an insulin dependant diabetic, he has brown rice when fasting and reported back that his hunger was managed well for the duration of the fast!
Healthy sahoor ideas
- Poached eggs with olive oil, pan fried cherry tomatoes and mushrooms served with wholemeal bread
- Porridge, be adventurous by trying different flavour combinations such as date and walnut, cranberry and almond, apricot and banana.
- Wholemeal/Wholegrain Cereals such as muesli, shredded wheat, fruit and fibre, weetabix etc
If you’re ‘old school’ and need a more traditional sahoor meal
- Wholemeal Chicken pasta
- Lentils and brown rice
- Chicken or meat curry with brown rice or wholemeal pitta/chappati
For the body builders who aim to Maintain muscle mass and become lean in Ramadhan. Intermittent fasting is the new trendy way to build muscle mass and become lean. Ramadhan is a perfect opportunity for us to reach our fitness goals, as long as you eat correctly and use your time effectively after taraweeh salaah. I’ve described my eating habits at iftaar. After taraweeh prayer, I have a very short but intense HIIT (High intensity interval training) workout which lasts for around 20mins. Just before the end time of sahoor, I have a casein protein shake with avocado and ground oats. Casein protein is slow release protein, which supplies the body with the protein needed for growth, repair and maintenance of your muscle mass. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats needed to build and maintain your muscle and lower cholesterol. Oats provide the complex, slow burn carbohydrates that will be the principal energy store. I also drink around a litre of water before Sahoor ends.
I hope you found the post informative, I hope you have a enjoyable and spiritual Ramadhan. Make dua me and for all of humanity, especially at the time of iftaar, don’t get too distracted by those dainty little triangular treats!!