How to Plan your Meals During Ramadan
By Charity RightApr 20, 2022
Choosing what to eat can be a challenge in the best of times – but choosing what to eat in Ramadan is essential. An effective Ramadan diet plan can make a big difference, making fasting throughout the month much easier. And in these last ten nights, it’s not too late to switch up your eating habits!
It’s perfectly normal to feel tired and drained during the month, so having a few Ramadan recipes under your belt will make preparing meals less of a task. But it can also be a brilliant opportunity to break some bad habits and eat more healthily to reset your body.
Eating healthily throughout the month of Ramadan will make it much easier, but it’s always tempting to give this up. When fasting during the day, it’s totally normal to feel tempted by rich, heavier food to fill up your empty stomach.
But try to avoid this! Heavy or greasy food will just make you end up sluggish, bloated and tired. Processed sugars and oily foods will just make you crash later too – so definitely avoid them for suhoor!
So instead of going for samosas and chips, think healthier – roast chicken and baked potatoes are a much healthier option to keep you going.
Remember, too, that Ramadan is a great chance to spend time with your family and loved ones. So although it’s convenient to bulk make a whole load of meals and freeze them in advance, try to do something different sometimes. Cooking meals together is a wonderful way of bonding and spending time together.
When planning your Ramadan diet for suhoor and iftar, try not to just select your favourite food. As well as thinking of healthier options of food you already like, include food that will help boost your body and allow you to thrive during your fast.
When starting your meals and breaking your fast, dates are an essential, especially with a glass or two of milk or water on the side. There’s a reason why dates are so popular in Ramadan; they’re packed full of nutrients and have a whole load of health benefits – they reduce the risks of blood pressure, heart disease and even some types of cancer. But for Ramadan, they’re particularly useful because they fill you up and have a slow release of energy to keep you going throughout the daily fast.
For your main part of the meal, make sure there’s a whole load of greens and vegetables on your plate. Since they’re loaded with nutrients and vitamins, they’re absolutely essential in giving your body the energy it needs to last through the day.
Hold back on the salt though since salt can make you feel quite thirsty later in the day. If you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavour to your meal, consider something like a halal chicken stock cube. It can add enough flavour to even make boiled rice more exciting.
If you’re a fan of dessert, perhaps reconsider favourites like chocolate and pastry. Instead, replace it with fresh fruit and ice cream. It’s an excellent, lighter alternative that’ll help you feel better and more refreshed.
Keeping properly hydrated is essential for your Ramadan fast. If it’s particularly hot weather, make sure you have plenty of fresh watermelon handy. Best served cold to refresh you, not only is it filling but it’s ideal for hydration.
It’s certainly better than fizzy drinks which have no hydration and only end up doing the exact opposite.
Avoid caffeine too, especially at the start of the day for suhoor. While it’s tempting to get that early morning caffeine fix, these drinks can have a diuretic effect – meaning they make you need to go to the bathroom. And the more you go, the more dehydrated you get. Consider substituting your early morning coffee for a warm milky drink instead.
Suhoor is absolutely the time for complex carbohydrates; fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, chickpeas, lentils, beans… all these contain energy that will release slowly over time and help you last throughout the day.
Include some low-fat dairy options, like labneh, and some food with healthy unsaturated fasts, like avocados, unsalted nuts, salmon or olives.
When breaking your fast with iftar, as well as dates include some natural yoghurt to help aid your body’s digestion after such a long fast.
Whole grains are a good idea as they have plenty of fibre, and make sure to have a good source of protein, such as chicken or fish.
Of course, planning your meals is one thing – but don’t forget to plan your Zakat and Sadaqah too, especially during the final 10 nights.
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