Ramadan is around the corner. You may be preparing your Ramadan decorations, list of prayers, and favorite foods. But what about your nutrition? Properly nourishing your body is important so that you have the energy you need for the day’s fast. Here are a few tips for a healthy, nourished Ramadan:
- Meal plan for Ramadan
- Choose slow releasing energy foods
- Prepare balanced meals
- Break your fast with dates and water
- Hydrate throughout the non-fasting hours
- Mindfully eat your meals
- Enjoy Ramadan
Meal plan for Ramadan
Meal planning before Ramadan is important to reduce stress and time preparing meals during Ramadan. I have a whole blog post dedicated to this topic and free meal planning toolkit, check it out here.
Choose slow releasing energy foods
Slow releasing energy foods are foods that will give you long lasting energy. These foods take a longer time to digest and keep you full for a longer period of time. These foods include:
- Complex carbohydrates: examples include oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread/naan/pita, quinoa, barley, beans and lentils. These foods are generally higher in fiber.
- Protein foods: examples include eggs, cheese, nut butters, seeds and nuts, fish, meat and poultry
- Healthy fats: examples include olives, avocado, olive oil, canola oil, nuts
Prepare balanced meals
Balanced meals are important to provide you with nutrients and long lasting energy. Balanced meals are those that have a combination of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. This combination of foods will keep you full for longer, satisfied, and controls blood sugars. A great way to create balanced meals is to follow the healthy Ramadan plate:
- ½ of your plate is for non-starchy vegetables (eg. zucchini, eggplants, peppers, green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc..)
- ¼ plate for whole grains or starchy vegetables (rice, pasta, breads, cereals, oats, burghul, farro, quinoa, etc.)
- ¼ plate for proteins (meat, fish, chicken, beans, lentils, eggs, nuts, etc..)
Break your fast with dates and water
When it’s iftar time, break your fast with dates following the Prophet’s tradition. Dates provide a quick source of energy, fiber, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Choose water to hydrate your body and be mindful of sugary beverages. Performing the maghreb prayer before having your full iftar meal is recommended to prevent stomach upsets and indigestion.
Wake up for suhur
Waking up for suhur is important to prepare you for the day’s fast. Skipping this meal can place your body in ‘starvation mode’ which may result in muscle breakdown and extreme fatigue. Waking up with your family and eating suhur together is a rewarding aspect of Ramadan and is the Prophet’s tradition. Prepare balanced meals for suhur, focusing on complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Examples may include:
- oatmeal prepared with milk and nuts
- veggie omelet wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
- hummus with vegetables and whole wheat pita
- dal with naan
For more examples check out this blog post.
Hydrate throughout the non-fasting hours
Remember to drink enough water and fluids between iftar and suhur. Consider bringing a water bottle to taraweeh prayers and sipping on it throughout the evening. Include hydrating foods with your meals and snack, such as cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, zuchinni, and tomatoes.
Mindfully eat your meals
Mindful eating means to be in the present moment when you eat. This helps you focus on your body’s signals and on the meal in front of you. Observe the texture of the food, its taste, and aroma. Are you enjoying your meal? Can you feel when you are full? Mindfully eating allows you to slow down and savor every bite of your meal. It also allows you to reflect on the intentions of your fast.
Remember there’s always room for your favorite foods. Ramadan is a time when many traditional foods and desserts are made. Enjoy them, savor every bite, and be mindful of how they fit into your overall meals.
What other tips do you have? Wishing you a blessed and nourished Ramadan!