Ramadan this year, will be right in the middle of summer. To put that in perspective, we will be fasting the longest day of the year. What we eat and drink between sunset and fajr influences our body’s ability to cope with long hours of fasting. Ramadan is also a time for celebration and family gatherings, which can make eating healthy a challenge.
Here are ways to balance the festivities of food and our body’s need for a healthy balanced meals:
1) Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your Iftaar
Breaking our fast with dates is a long tradition and sunnah, why not add a plate of cut vegetables or fruits? Try to make it interesting by adding a healthy dip or make fruit skewers. There is a reason why watermelon is a summer fruit.
2) Plan your Ramadan treats
Many of us start Ramadan with plans to eliminate or eat less desserts and fried food. Despite our best efforts, we end up indulging in our favorite Ramadan treats. I believe in planning smart and avoiding rigid restrictions. Last year, we decided to have kunafa for iftaar! As soon as we broke our fast, we had the hot yummy goodness of cream kunafa, then we only had soup and salad. We enjoyed every bite of it, and the kids loved it. Instead of planning to not eat your favorite indulgences, plan them. Balance is key.
3) Have a Sustaining Suhoor
Plan a light sustaining suhoor include complex carbs and protein (such as dates, yogurt, oatmeal, cooked root vegetables, eggs etc.). You want to have a steady release of energy throughout the day. Don’t forget to also add healthy fats, such as avocado and nuts.
4) Stay hydrated.
Take frequent sips of water through out the evening, add lemon, herbs and fruits to the water to flavor it. Don’t wait until 5 minutes before fajr to drink two glasses of water! One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to keep a water bottle with you at all times.
5) Stay active and move.
Fasting does not mean you can’t move and exercise. It is certainly not the time to start hitting the gym either. Be realistic in your goals, find what and how much you can do. Walk, go to a class, or find your favorite practice online and enjoy the luxury of your home.