Ramadan Food Tips: What To Eat And What To Avoid

It’s finally that time of the year! That 30-day period when the Muslim faithful fast from sunrise to sunset every day and only have two meals to carry them through the day. Fasting during Ramadan can improve one's health, but only if done in the proper manner, if not, it can cause more harm than good.
Because of the long break between meals, a fasting person needs good, nutrient-rich food that provides enough energy to manage tasks and activities right through the long day. There is the need to eat right and maintain a balanced diet during the period of fasting and in that light, I’ve put together some Ramadan food tips which will show you what to eat and what to avoid during the Suhoor (which is that early meal taken before starting the fast) and Iftar (which is the meal to break the fast for the day) for this Ramadan.
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It is good to note that foods eaten during this period should be well-balanced and if possible, contain items from each food group to keep you healthy all through the period.
What To Eat For Suhoor
Suhoor needs to be wholesome to provide enough energy to last during the long hours of fasting. It is important that the food you consume keeps you hydrated and energized, so pay careful attention to the selection of food items that can provide fluids and energy for the day of fasting ahead.
Making healthy choices can help you to cope better with the fast and so here are some tips on what to eat for Suhoor:
  1. Drink plenty of fluids like water, milk or juice. Choose fluid-rich foods to make sure you are well hydrated for the day ahead like mixed green salad, tomato sauce, soup etc.
  2. Go for simple starchy foods to keep you energized throughout the fast like brown rice, pasta, couscous etc. They burn slowly and you are sure to have sustained energy level for several hours. Other energy foods like spinach, sweet potatoes, yoghurt, almonds etc can also go a long way.
  3. Choose high-fibre or wholegrain foods like oat, bread, wheat, millet, etc to help you with your weight and reduce risk of disease.
  4. Protein-rich foods like boiled eggs, beans, nuts etc can help keep you full and minimize craving after sometime.
  5. And calcium-rich foods like soybeans, dairy products, dark leafy vegetables etc can provide your body with the base it needs to stay healthy.

What To Eat For Iftar
While Iftar meals are often a time for celebration, with families and friends coming together to break their fasts, it’s important not to go overboard so you don’t ruin the whole Ramadan experience.
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Eating habits during Iftar cannot be ignored. Hence, it is important to break the fast with a balanced diet ensuring that the essential nutritional needs of your body are met. Having not eaten for a long period, you may find it helpful to first start off with something light while you wait or prepare for the main dish. First, go for plenty of fluids and fluid-rich foods like water, milk, fruit juices or smoothies, dates, etc to replace fluids lost during the day and to start the next day of fasting well hydrated. For the main dish, some foods you can consider include:
  1. Proteins like beans, meat, boiled eggs, fish, lentils, cheese, etc can make a huge difference in how your body feels after being empty for a while.
  2. Foods containing some natural sugars like avocadoes, sweet potatoes, yoghurt etc to help regain energy.
  3. Foods containing sodium and potassium like spinach, potatoes, bananas,  nuts etc to help with what was lost due to sweating, especially during hot weathers.
  4. Low-fat food like legumes, mushrooms, citrus fruits etc are low in calories and can keep you full without increasing your weight.

What To Avoid For Suhoor
One thing you do not want to do to yourself is to consume foods that will only last for 3 or 4 hours, leaving you hungry before half of the day’s fast is done. You have to stay away from foods that will trick your stomach into feeling full or one that will exhaust you before long. Keep in mind that you also do not need meals that will make you feel sick or throw up. Some things to avoid for suhoor include:
  1. Very salty, savoury dishes which may make you very thirsty during the whole fast.
  2. Foods that are too fried, sweet or too spicy are difficult to digest and may trigger some serious health problems.
  3. Avoid combining bread with salty foods like hard cheese, or preserved meats to not encourage constipation.
  4. High-fat foods like greasy pastries, dark chocolate, sugary drinks etc will only build up weight you do not need.
  5. Refined carbohydrates like sugar, pastries, doughnuts etc will only make you feel full but that won’t last long.
  6. Caffeinated drinks and sodas will dehydrate you before the end of the fast, so avoid foods and drinks that will cause dehydration.

What To Avoid For Iftar
Seeing as you just ended roughly 15 hours of fasting, your body definitely needs all the healthy things it can get. Don’t put it on overdrive though, as taking some things that are far from healthy will not help. You might want to consider that:
  1. Carbonated drinks will not soothe your thirst so don’t bother taking them.
  2. It may not be difficult to get junk food, but they hardly contain any nutrients which will definitely not help your situation.
  3. Ditch foods high in sugar to prevent weight gain which may lead to complexities later.
  4. Salt stimulates thirst and so it’s a good idea to avoid consuming a lot of salty foods so you don’t have to struggle with that throughout the day.
  5. Instead of deep-fried foods, you can switch to baked, boiled, steamed or grilled foods like meat, chicken, samosa, potato, etc to reduce overworking your body while it tries to break them down.
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With all these tips, you can easily plan out your meal for the fasting period since hearty, healthy and satisfying meals will keep you going while fasting.
While it is important to have self-control when you see a good spread of appetizing meal, have it in mind too that Ramadan is a month to reap rewards and benefits, and increase your spiritual connection.

Also, if you have travel plans for this season, you have got to check out for amazing flight deals, incredible hotel bookings and affordable car rentals. Gotta stay on a budget while going on that Ramadan trip!

So, any helpful tips you have tried and found useful you want to share? Let’s hear below.

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