The month of Ramadan is a wonderful one, alhamdulilah. It is filled with so many blessings, yet we often forget to take advantage of it because we become so consumed by one aspect of Ramadan: fasting.
Yes, Ramadan is about fasting, but the point of fasting is to strengthen our imaan and our relationship with Allah. We cannot do this if all we think about throughout the month is food. In order to make full use of the month and do ibadah to the full extent, we all need to nourish our bodies during the 2 meals so that we can nourish our souls.
So I’ve prepared a list of 8 healthy eating tips for Ramadan that will help you stay full longer, so you can focus on your faith throughout the day.
We all know that it’s important to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but this can sometimes be forgotten in the long days of fasting. Many of us become consumed by filling our bellies to the max, and forget about staying hydrated! So don’t forget to drink lots and lots of water, especially if you are fasting where it’s very hot. Even though you can’t drink during the day, the water you drink during suhoor and after iftar will keep you hydrated throughout the day. So take a water bottle with you to taraweh or have a glass of water by you after iftar so you can sip on it constantly.
Eat Protein in Suhoor
It’s so easy to eat cereal and toast for suhoor, but it’s really important to eat protein in order to get energy throughout the day. Eggs are easy to prepare and pack in a lot of protein to keep you going. You can also have lean cuts of meat, like chicken or beef, so you don’t feel bloated or heavy after suhoor. At the same time, don’t only eat protein either. Round off your eggs or meat with some toast or veggies to keep it balanced and to keep you fuller for longer.
Skip the Oily Iftars
It can be so tempting to eat fried food in Ramadan, especially because it can be easy to prepare and not take much time, but it really isn’t good for you. Fried food definitely tastes good, but it can leave you feeling bloated and heavy after half an hour, which isn’t good if you want to pray taraweh or even read Quran and do ibadah. You want to have lots of energy for the night ahead, and not feel sick, which is what oily, fried food can to do you. The effects of oily, greasy food don’t just vanish a few hours after eating them, but can also linger into the next day, well after suhoor. And you don’t want to be thirsty or feel sick during your fast, so it’s best to avoid the oily, fried iftars and instead opt for fresh food. Once in awhile is okay, but don’t make it a habit.
Eat Real Food
On the same note, avoid processed food and instead, go for real, fresh food. Because we only eat 2 main meals during Ramadan, our body loses nutrients a lot quicker and so it’s important to nourish it and replenish those nutrients during suhoor and iftar. So avoid processed foods, like chips, cookies, cake, fizzy drinks, etc. and aim for having more whole grains, fruits, veggies, and meat. Not only will they keep you fuller for longer, but they will also provide your body with the nutrients it needs to last the day.
Eat Lots of Fruit and Veggies
Because we only eat 2 main meals a day, it can be easy to forget to eat fruits and veggies, especially in suhoor where sometimes you scramble for time. But as previously mentioned, add fruit and veggies to both your suhoor for a more balanced meal, and to stay fuller for longer. Don’t just eat carbs or just protein. If you’re having eggs for suhoor, why not add some spinach, onions, tomatoes, etc. to an omelette? Make a fruit or regular salad for iftar. Having fruits and veggies during Ramadan is vital, so try and incorporate them wherever you can.
Avoid White Carbs
White carbs are so easy to eat during both suhoor and iftar, but try and avoid them during Ramadan because they provide you with a small burst of energy and then leave you feeling hungry shortly after. That’s not to say avoid carbs all together! It’s important to eat equally from all four food groups, especially in order to stay full in Ramadan, but instead aim for whole grains.
Give Yourself Time to Eat in Suhoor
Many of us wake up 15 or 20 minutes before fajr, which doesn’t give us much time to eat suhoor! And so we’re left scrambling and end up eating things that don’t really provide us with energy throughout the day. So even though it can be a pain, try to wake up at least half an hour before the start of fajr so you can prepare your meal properly and think about what you are putting in your body for the whole day. When you’re out of time, it’s easy to make poor choices and go for what’s easy, but try to make time so you can prepare your meal properly.
Eat in Moderation
This can be tricky especially during iftar, but it is so important to eat in moderation and not overeat! I know many of us feel the need to compensate for the food we didn’t eat throughout the day by eating it all during iftar, but that is not the point of Ramadan. When you open your fast, open it with dates and water (as is the Sunanh). Then begin to eat slowly; your stomach has been empty all day and so it’s not good to start shovelling food into it. Take it slowly; you’ve fasted all day, and so you can afford to be patient. If you overeat, you’ll probably feel tired and lethargic immediately after iftar, and these feelings could linger into suhoor and the next fast. So eat in moderation and take your time.
And those some healthy eating tips for Ramadan! While not eating is a major part of Ramadan, don’t consume yourself by focusing only on food. Nourish your body during suhoor and iftar with food that will allow you to focus on your ibadah and take advantage of the numerous blessings this month has to offer.
Hope this helps! Keep smiling.