Food habits during Ramadan

Janani Satchithanantham, Senior Clinical Dietician, Aster Hospitals UAE

The holy month of Ramadan is around the corner and there are certain foods to eat and certain foods to avoid during this holy month. Following a healthy and balanced eating pattern during Ramadan is vital; to help keep one nourished and energized throughout the month.

Foods to Eat During Suhur

  • Remember to include these three key nutrients in food to help keep you full for longer: protein, fibre and healthy fats. As an early morning meal, to keep you satiated for the entire day, you need to eat protein rich foods like lean meat, eggs, nuts, cheese, low fat or Greek yogurt etc.
  • To get the most benefit from your Suhoor meal, include foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as oats, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas), okra and eggplant, which contain soluble fibers and have good health benefits they help to support stable blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps in slowing down digestion and keeps you fuller and energized for long hours.

Foods to Avoid During Suhur

  • Avoid eating foods made out of refined carbohydrates and deep fried food as they are low in essential nutrients. While these may give you instant satisfaction, they do little to provide you with the nutrition you need. Salty foods should be avoided too, as they can cause imbalance of sodium levels in the body.
  • Additionally, do not have caffeinated drinks as they cause insomnia and restlessness. Beverages such as tea and coffee can make you feel dehydrated.

Foods to Eat During Iftar

Iftar is the first meal that’s eaten after many hours of fasting. However, it is essential to remain mindful of how you eat and what you eat. Taking your time to start and finish your meal can help you to avoid overindulging and overwhelming your digestive system.

  • Traditionally, the fast is broken by having a few dates and a cup of tea before moving on to the main meal. The carbohydrates in dates can stabilize blood sugars and help manage your appetite. A cup of tea, milk or water can help you to rehydrate.
  • Make sure to have plenty of water and other fluids from Iftar to Suhoor to keep you well hydrated. Soups and stews are a great addition to any meal.
  • Potassium containing foods including potato, broccoli, mushroom, peas, spinach etc. are called powerhouses of nutrition. It is advised to eat them after a long day of fasting.

Foods to Avoid Eating During Iftar

  • You must avoid drinking processed and carbonated beverages.
  • Do not consume sugar-rich or fried foods like chocolate, sweets, samosas, dumplings etc.