Healthy Eating in Ramadan

Ramadan can seem like a month long feast. There's always so much food on the table with loaded plates coming from your neighbors, uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and family friends. And then there are the ghabgas and iftar get-togethers. Almost all the dishes are deep-fried and carb-loaded, with an array of special Ramadan desserts and of course, never-ending glasses of Vimto. It's no wonder that many people put on weight in this month. To stop yourself putting on those extra pounds, here's a list of Ramadan dishes to avoid, as well as what to eat in suhoor and futoor.

Foods to avoid:

Spring rolls
White rice dishes like machboos and biryani
Cream caramel
Pound cake

Foods to have:

Arayes made with less oil
Warq anab
Ful Medammes
Plain white and black chickpeas 
Harees with more chicken/ meat
Fattoush with toasted bread instead of fried
Clear soups
Plain laban
Plain yoghurt
Fruit salad without sugar or cream


What to eat in Suhoor:

Suhoor is the first meal of the day, so treat it like breakfast. You want to have a good mix of proteins and complex carbs so you feel full until long. Avoid eating foods that will make you feel thirsty, such as white bread and toast, and grilled meats. Try and have foods that are water-rich such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Just like breakfast, don't skip suhoor, and have a big meal with a variety of different foods.

Here are some ideas for what you can eat in suhoor:

Oats/ porridge
Soaked figs
Yoghurt with cardamom {cardamom prevents you from feeling thirsty}
Boiled chickpeas with salt and extra virgin olive oil
Hummus with veggie sticks {crudites}
Ful {fava beans/ broad beans} with salt and extra virgin olive oil
Baked potato kebabs


What to eat in Futoor:

One of the hardest things to resist when breaking your fast is overeating. Since the body has been deprived of food for many hours, and you're probably feeling tired, you'll be tempted to reach for sugary, fried and unhealthy dishes. So breaking your fast with something that is healthy is very important as that will set the tone for what you eat next. 

Make it a habit to break your fast with a big mug {one that holds at least 2 cups of water} of warm honey-lemon water with cinnamon powder added to it. Have a few dates with the water. Dates are packed with nutrients and energy and will stop you from bingeing on unhealthy food after you break your fast. 

Here are some more foods you can have for Iftar:

Fruit salad 
Brown bread with labneh and zaatar
Falafel but shallow fried/ baked
Grilled chicken/ fish
Steamed veggies with extra virgin olive oil
Karkadia {hibiscus/ roselle} tea or juice with a little bit of sugar or no sugar

All the above information is in an infographic below. Save it to your phone or on your Pinterest, and refer to it when you get tempted by all the Ramadan goodies.

Having said all that, don't forget to treat yourself once in a while. Ramadan specialties are only made in Ramadan after all, and if you know you're going to burn the calories the next day in gym, go ahead and indulge. But don't go crazy. 

Have a fantastic Ramadan!

Until next time,

Shabana Feroze

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