The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this time, people who follow the Islamic faith fast during daylight hours for 29-30 days. Traditionally, one breaks the fast at sunset with a meal called iftar and then eats again with a meal called suhoor. The end of Ramadan is marked by ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. 

Ramadan in 2021 will fall on the 12th of April. Much like last year, Ramadan will be celebrated at home, without the usual gathering. This also means that there’s a difference in planning meals and festivities with family and relatives.

The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to shift your focus onto a healthy and balanced living. The practise of fasting is a good way to learn how to manage your eating habits, as well as, build self-control. It’s also a way to give your stomach a break and adjust your body’s metabolism levels. 

We have spoken about the benefits of fasting and its spiritual importance, and how best to have a healthy Ramadan. This week’s blog focuses more on what you can eat during iftar and suhoor and how you can apply nutritional principles to your diet. The blind spot in eating after breaking your fast is that there is a tendency to overeat or overindulge. You can use these nutritional guidelines to help you balance your post-Ramadan diet.

Ramadan diet tips for iftar and suhoor

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Fasting has several health benefits but if not done correctly, then it can also ruin one’s health. The main factor isn’t the fast itself; rather what you consume during the non-fasting hours.

Iftar

Eating dates is a traditional way of breaking the fast. It’s also very healthy. Incorporate plenty of vegetables to provide vital vitamins and nutrients. 

  • Drinks – Water, milk, fruit smoothies or hydrating fruits; water provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. 
  • Dates – They provide natural sugars, minerals like potassium, copper and manganese, and are a good source of fibre. You could also try other dried fruits such as apricots, figs, and raisins.
  • Soup – The tradition of drinking soup in the morning is common in many countries. This is because soups are light and non-bloating. They also contain broths and pulses, which are nourishing for your body. 

Since there is only a short time each day to eat and drink, it is vital to load up on essential nutrients and fluids. This will help your body store energy reserves efficiently and will make fasting easier on your body. 

Suhoor

This is the first meal of the day, so it’s important to remain hydrated and nourished. You could include food groups such as:

  • Oats – They are high in fibre and very filling. You could experiment with yoghurt and milk, and also add berries or fruits as toppings.
  • High fibre breakfast cereals – these provide plenty of fibre and are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, providing extra nutrients. 
  • Yoghurt – this can be a good food to include at suhoor as it provides nutrients like protein, calcium, iodine and b vitamins and also contains fluid. 
  • Bread – It’s best to go for whole grain options as these provide more fibre. As bread is fairly dry, make sure you drink plenty of water or other fluids alongside or you could have fluid-rich foods such as a lentil soup, which is a traditional food at suhoor in some countries.

The Bottom Line

As we mentioned in our earlier blog posts, The holy month of Ramadan is more than just feeling harmony with God, it’s also about cultivating unity amongst each other. Amid the current global crisis, being a source of support is important and helping others begins by helping yourself first. This Ramadan, take care of yourself and your family so that you can take care of others who may need your help.

We, at TABIIB, wish you a healthy and holy Ramadan.

I am a writer, covering the sprawling expanse of healthcare, among many other things that I love writing on. I write on healthcare because I want to do my part in informing people about the health industry, When I am not blogging about research and medicine, I enjoy reading, playing squash and backpacking around the world.

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