Healthy eating during Ramadan – In Ramadan, participating Muslims all over the world refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Main meals are eaten before dawn (Sehri or Suhoor) and after sunset (Iftar); the content varies between different traditions and cultures. The changes in eating habits means there is a relatively short time to eat and drink, so the quality of diet is particularly important during this period.
Ramadan this year is very different as religious institutions are closed and there are no social gatherings. With many of us working from home and isolating, challenges have arisen to our routine and dietary habits. This is a good time to reflect and make positive dietary changes. During this month try to stick to the routine of having sehri (meal before sunrise), and iftar (meal when breaking fast at sunset). It is important you keep yourself nourished and hydrated.
In the current climate it is important not to make unnecessary visits to supermarkets. Therefore try to choose foods that have a longer shelf life or are frozen. Better options for sehri include cereals such as oats, bran and muesli. These foods digest slowly keeping you fuller for a longer period – making them ideal for sehri. To add more taste and fibre to these cereals have nuts and fruit with them. Whole grain bread is also a healthier option.
Whole grains, fruit and vegetables are good sources of fibre which can help avoid constipation; in addition they have a variety of vitamins and minerals. Don’t forget to try eating 5 fruit and vegetables per day, if fresh produce is not available have tinned, frozen or dried. If you are unsure about what makes up a portion of fruit and vegetables click here
Try to moderate the amount and frequency of consuming foods that are high in fats and sugar, these include chocolates, baklavas, pakoras, and samosas. Instead of deep frying food choose healthier methods of cooking such as grilling and baking.
For more information on general healthy eating click here
It is important to keep your body hydrated. Make the most of the hours when you are not fasting to consume fluids. Use a jug or water bottle to help you measure how much fluid you are drinking – after iftar is a good time to do this. Fluids can include water, low fat milk, and fruit juice but remember only 150mls of fruit juice and smoothie count towards your five portions of fruit and vegetables – as they contain free sugars try to keep these limited. Having stews and soups are also a good way of increasing fluid intake.
To help you eat healthily during Ramadan check out our Recipes page where special Ramadan recipes will be shared.