NUTRITION IN RAMADAN
At the time of writing this article, 10 days of Ramadan have already passed by and I am just wondering how that happened. Days fly by, meals prepared and eaten and iftaar parties given and attended. Amidst all this I am still trying to eat healthy and encouraging other people to do the same.
“But waste not by excess for God loves not the wasters” (Quran 7:31).
“Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you, and those on whom descends my wrath do perish indeed” (Quran 20:81).
It is during this time that truly you realize how little food you actually require. I am sure by now most if not all of you must have experienced some reduction in your appetite and have started eating lesser quantities. If you have not yet started doing it then probably you are feeling uncomfortably full and bloated after iftaar! AFter almost 10 days of fasting our Basal Metabolic Rate goes down and hence the need for lesser quantities of food.
My suggestion is to be more mindful at your next suhoor and iftaar and stop when you are feeling satisfied not when you are feeling stuffed.
This Ramadan let us start following the hadith”⅓ for food, 1//3 for water and ⅓ for air”. And yes this applies to Ramadan and during fasting as well. No matter how much you eat you will experience some hunger and thirst as the day progresses so remember to eat smart, not eat lots!!
SUHOOR AND IFTAAR MEAL PLANS:
Allah loves His creations so much that He is concerned even with what we eat and put in our body.
Our muscles, bones, lungs, liver, brain and secretions are made from the food that we feed it. If we provide the factory with junk raw products, it is only obvious the factory will not produce tough bones, strong muscles, or work efficiently.
“O mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth” (Quran 2: 168).
- Avoid processed foods, white flour and sugars. These are processed rapidly causing spikes in sugar levels and then leave you feeling weak and hungry throughout the day. They also provide almost no nutrients and fiber, not something you are looking for when you have to fast 15-19 hours a day!
- Include fruits and vegetables in both Suhoor and Iftaar. They are the most incredible source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients all essential to keep you feeling fresh and vibrant throughout the day. Not to mention they have high water content and will keep you hydrated longer hours!
- The fruits and vegetables also have high fiber levels which are essential to prevent constipation and keep you gut healthy as well. Think fresh watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, juicy mangoes and crisp apples.
- Include whole grains in suhoor and iftaar. They are slow digesting and will provide a steady supply of sugar to the bloodstream to keep you feeling balanced- both in physically and mentally!
- Avoid sugary drinks and desserts especially in iftaar. They take up valuable space that can be filled with more nutritious foods. If its drinks then think: Nabeez(Prophetic Drink), smoothies and fresh fruit juices with chia seeds added.
- Include a warm soup or broth or oats porridge after iftaar made with bone broth. This will ensure your necessary supply of collagen and amino acids for the day.
- Think of beans, lentils and peas rather than meat that leave you feeling heavy and provide you with all the protein that you will need.
- Add eggs, yoghurt and healthy fats to round of the healthy meal plan.
- Try baking all samosas, spring rolls, make waffle bajjis and waffle pakodas this Ramadan instead of deep frying!
- Water, water , water! Make sure you sip water constantly and get 1-1.5 liters between suhoor and iftaar!
Following are some Suhoor and IFtaar meal plan examples that you can choose from.
SUHOOR MEAL PLANS:
- Avocado Roti + Beans + Cucumbers + 1 piece Watermelon
- Vegetable Rice + Grilled chicken breast + daal + mixed salad
- Oats + chia seeds+flax seeds+hemp seeds + berries+raw local honey
- Smoothie: Oats + baby spinach + celery + mango + any milk + peanut butter/cocoa + dates
- Wraps: Spinach tortilla + nut butter + banana + chia seeds + strawberries
- Bran Muffins with blueberries and chia and flax seeds
- Quinoa with mixed vegetables and yogurt
IFTAAR MEAL IDEAS:
Open the iftaar with an odd number of dates, water and a fruit. You can then choose fro any one of the snack item below.
- Chickpea chaat: chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, organic yogurt , spices.
- Chana dal or any boiled lentil sauteed in olive oil, lemon juice, boiled veggies, garlic and salt and pepper.
- Mushroom soup / chicken corn soup / Oats porridge
- Date energy balls: Dates + flax,chia and hemp seeds + coconut+vanilla+almonds
- Baked samosa or spring rolls.
Make sure this is followed by a small dinner. Do not try to eat your normal quantity, since the shrinking of the stomach and the snack above will already fill you up.
Eat Mindfully and Intuitively. You can always have a small snack after the night prayers if you are still hungry however once you overeat there is nothing much that will help.. Oh yes .. FASTING the next day might help 😉
Look out for my next article soon on Sunnah Foods! Until then Fast not Feast 🙂