Fasting during Ramadan can sometimes keep us from having a balanced diet and eating healthy. During those long hours of fasting, the temptation to stock up on carbohydrates and sugar-rich foods once we break our fast is high. But don’t fret, there are ways to stay healthy during Ramadan and stopping those extra kilograms from pilling up during the holy month. The rules applied for Ramadan are pretty much the same as those people try to stick to for a healthy living, nevertheless we have put together a few simple guidelines that will help you stay on track during the holy month.
Don’t skip suhoor. While staying asleep sounds like a much better idea than waking up to have some suhoor, keep in mind that on non-fasting days breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the same goes for suhoor. Having suhoor provides you with some of the essential nutrients and energy you will need for those fasting hours. It will also keep acute hunger at bay and stave off headaches, fatigue and restlessness. Not only does it help you physically endure the long hours of fasting, suhoor will get your metabolic system started, which is key to keeping the unwanted weight off. Make sure all the members of your family don’t miss on this important meal during breakfast time.
Have a wide variety of different food types. Keeping a healthy and balanced diet means that you should include foods from all the necessary food groups, including carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and fat in limited quantities. This may seem like an easy task but not having as many meals during the day may stop you from taking in those all important nutrients that are vital for your health. If your children are fasting, make sure they are incorporating all the main food groups into their diet.
Eat low glycemic foods. When breaking your fast, remember that carbohydrates are classified according to their glycemic index (GI); the lower the GI the slower that food is converted into sugar and the longer it will satisfy your hunger. Controlling your blood sugar level will also stop you from overeating when you break your fast. The key to this is not to avoid eating high GI foods but to mix them with low GI foods and give yourself and your family a controlled balance.
Resort to healthy cooking. It’s Ramadan and you’re probably craving some rich, classic family recipes, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make them in a healthier way. Try to think about some of your family’s favorite recipes and how you can make them slightly healthier by grilling instead of frying for example or leaving out those extra spoons of oil and butter. When you can't avoid frying, such as in the case of must-have Ramadan recipes like cheese or meat samboosak, make sure you use FINE kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.
Lose the salt. Try to replace the salt you use when cooking meats and vegetables with garlic, dry mustard, pepper, onions and tomatoes. For those fish dishes and white meats try a sliced lemon or some lemon juice and always use herbs and spices to add flavor instead of salt.
Drink lots of fluids. Incorporate some extra glasses of water into your and your family’s diet during Ramadan and try to limit caffeine beverages, as they do not hydrate as well as water does.