Millions of Muslims across the world have started fasting from dawn till dusk during the whole month of Ramadan as this is the most sacred month.
While there is no danger to healthy people who fast during Ramadan, many still feel sluggish without regular food and hungry from morning to evening because of the food they eat.
To deal with that, experts recommend healthy eating when you are fasting.
Spokesperson from Association for Dietetics in South Africa and registered dietitian, Faaizah Laher says it’s important to stock healthy ingredients in your pantry such as oats, yoghurt, liquid egg whites, fruit and dates. Suggestions for meal ideas may include:
Oats are cooked to add to my daily Suhoor (morning) smoothie together with dates, honey, berries, yoghurt and milk. I pop in a banana or two.
Oats can also be used to make a healthy low carb haleem soup.
Liquid egg whites are easy to combine into and to up the protein content easily! Dates give us that instant energy we need when we break our fast, sometimes pop removed, stuffed with almonds and a drizzle of saffron honey!
Fruit is the best addition to any suhoor or iftaar (Evening) table! Add to smoothies for a quick Suhoor, make a simple salad for iftaar, or add a chopped fruit or two on the iftaar table! Fruit and vegetables will add extra fiber and nutrients to your Ramadan diet.
The biggest challenge for anyone fasting is choosing the right food to eat in the morning to keep them full for longer. Laher says the best meal would be eggs with toast and mushrooms/ olives. She says eggs are a great option to add protein to your morning. While wholegrain toast gives the added fibre to keep tummy’s regular, adding vegetables on the side of the egg will also provide added nutrients and fiber.
Oats - oats are a great way to add fiber and keep you fuller for longer! Soak overnight with nuts and seeds to make delicious overnight oats, or cook and enjoy with a drizzle of honey, or even throw ingredients into a blender and blend if you are tired of chewing.
Laher says it’s important to keep hydrated all the time as dehydration can be fatal if left unattended.
A mild symptom of dehydration is the sign of thirst in the mouth. Indicators of dehydration could include:
- Less frequent urination and a dark urine color is also a sign that you need to up your fluid intake.
Fatigue is also an indicator of dehydration.
- Feeling unusually sleepy and tired means you are behind on fluid.
Dizziness and confusion often mean you need to seek medical advice or perhaps need fluids intravenously.
Start to top up your fluid intake as soon as you can and also avoid caffeinated drinks, which also act as a diuretic - and lose fluid even further. Ignoring your hydration will simply put the rest of your fasts at risk, as severe dehydration may require hospitalization, says Laher.
And, she adds, " track your water intake by filling two 750ml bottles of water.Drinking soon after breaking fast and make sure to finish 2/3 of these bottles before bed. Track your fluid intake by keeping an eye on your volume of urine and color of your urine. Older adults and young children are especially at risk of dehydration. With winter in SA, fluid intake still needs to be tracked as we can still dehydrate when using heaters/a fireplace when it is cold.”