Fast more, feast less during Ramadan

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During the holy month of Ramadan, a healthy iftar meal should consist of carbohydrates and lean protein.

Ramadan is a month of spiritual growth, but it is also a month of weight growth in Middle Eastern households.

By Donia Ibrahim

When the sun goes down, this marks the end of the fasting period. Families and friends typically gather around a table of elaborate feasts after the sun sets. While iftars are a fun experience, they can also be intimidating for those attempting to stick to a healthy diet throughout Ramadan.

As the holy month approaches, you suddenly find food recipes and cooking videos appear across your social media. During this month, platforms ranging from TikTok to Facebook encourage adults and even children to try new recipes.

As people fast for long hours during the month, this leaves room for more feasting and, as a result, more junk food.

“Ramadan is not about the amount of food you eat, but about the quality of food and nutrients that enter your body after hours of fasting,” said Healthy Eating Advocate, Haneen Alshazli.

Alshazli noted that having a balanced suhoor is important as it’s the meal that replenishes your energy resources for the next day.

To receive the nutrients the body needs, one must make an extra effort to eat the correct foods. 

Ramadan is an opportunity to develop healthy eating habits that will last long after the month of fasting is over.

We have been persuaded to keep a gallon of water on hand and binge eat on suhoor thanks to humorous videos on TikTok.

“Videos of people eating a lot of food on TikTok drives me to make meals that look like theirs, which leads to imitating their eating habits,” said Maggie Osman.

However, eating foods high in carbohydrates and lean protein, as well as hydrating before meals, is the best way to ensure a proper and healthy suhoor.

Unlike camels, humans cannot store water for the next day during suhoor; instead, they must drink plenty of fluids throughout the night.

The next important tip when it comes to healthy eating habits during Ramadan is breaking your fast with a date. Three dates are typically eaten to break the fast. They are eaten at the start of iftar because they are a nutritious rush of natural sugar that help provide your body with energy.

During Ramadan, a classic iftar dish that adds variety to every table is soup. It’s not only a tasty tradition, but it provides many health benefits to the body thanks to its various flavors. Having a bowl of soup will replenish the lost fluids while fasting during the day and will help hydrate your body instantly. 

For iftar, a great way to ensure that you are having a balanced meal is to include good carbohydrates in your meal. Rice, whole grain pasta, bread, oats and potatoes are among them. These foods can give a good source of energy while also being easy to digest and absorb after a fast.

To reap the benefits with the least amount of saturated fat, choose lean proteins. As part of your iftar meal, you should incorporate foods like fish, beef, legumes, beans, cheese, and milk, among other options. 

If you’re addicted to unhealthy TikTok recipes, consider stewing, roasting, steaming, or grilling your favorite Ramadan dishes instead of frying. Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to flavor your dishes. Finally, fruits’ natural sugars can be used to make a variety of desserts, such as fruit tarts and fruit oatmeal bars.

The most important factor when it comes to eating habits during Ramadan is taking it easy. Do not be rushed to finish your meal and do not overeat in a short period. After going without meals for a day, eating too much food might cause indigestion

Have a simple iftar with suitable portion sizes. Controlling your portion size is essential for keeping a healthy body and avoiding weight gain. As a rule, do not eat more than you would for a typical lunch meal.