Healthy Eating for Ramadan
Ramadan is the holy monthly of Islam. It symbolises a time of reflection and peacefulness for all.
Muslims from across the world will celebrate this time by fasting during daylight hours.
We know how important it is for you to enjoy this special time, so we at Kings College Hospital Dubai have written this post to guide you.
1. Eating for Long-Lasting Energy
Not being able to eat during day-light hours means that you will need to eat foods that provide you energy for longer.
It is important to ensure that you do not skip Suhoor, as this is an important opportunity to give your body energy.
Choose foods which provide carbohydrates that are burnt slowly. Good options include wholegrain, oats, brown rice and cereals.
It is also important to include proteins at your meals. Healthy protein includes beans, pulses, poultry and fish. Protein has been scientifically shown to help you stay fuller for longer.
2. Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated is always important, especially in the UAE where temperatures can get very high.
During Ramadan you will have a limited window of opportunity to take enough fluid for the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, changes in blood pressure and digestive problems.
Try to drink 35mls of fluid / kg body weight. The best fluid is water.
Split this fluid with 1 third being at Suhoor and 2 thirds with iftar and later.
3. Sleeping Patterns
During Ramadan, you may eat later at night than you usually would do. This can lead to a lack of sleep and fatigue.
Lack of sleep has been linked to eating an additional 400 calories / day. You will also find that you crave higher sugar foods.
One way to help improve your fatigue levels is to take an afternoon nap of around 20 -30 minutes. This will help boost your energy, without being too long which could make it difficult to fall asleep later at night.
It is also important to avoid bright lights in the hour before bed, so opt for reading a book rather than your smart phone.
4. Avoid Energy Crashes
Some foods which are high in sugar can lead to energy crashes. This is because the energy from these foods is used quickly in the body causing a crash afterwards.
The foods to avoid or limit for this are dried fruits, sweets, cakes, biscuits, sugary drinks and fruit juices.
5. Avoid Over-Eating
If you have not eaten all day, then you will be hungry. So, you are highly likely to eat large portion sizes at Iftar.
Often this can lead to digestive problems such as acid reflux and stomach pain. In some cases, people actually gain weight during Ramadan as they are overeating in calories.
Instead, time yourself to ensure your meal lasts around 20 minutes and leave a gap of a further 20 minutes before going to desert.
Load up your plate with vegetables, around ½ should be salad or vegetables. This limits your intake of fatty, higher calories foods which can cause issues.
Want More Help?
We now have Ramadan meals plans available to help you enjoy a healthy Ramadan. Please call to book with our dietitians if you would like to avoid becoming unhealthy during this period.