Nutritional Guide for a Healthy Ramadan:
The Qur'an was revealed in the month of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims do not eat from sunrise to sunset, among many other things. This month is not only based on fasting, but great importance is given to taking advantage of this month to improve one's character and be able to control our desires, instead of them controlling us.
From a nutritional point of view, it is a way of realizing that many times we do not eat out of necessity, but out of boredom, habit, or lack of self-control. The problem is that we don't get to take advantage of all the nutritional benefits that Ramadan gives us because we make mistakes that all they do is make it difficult for us to achieve our well-being this month.
Therefore, keep reading, because I come to offer you, addressing each meal, the alternative of spending a different Ramadan that allows you to take care of the body that Allah has given us.
The objective of this first meal is to provide the body with the energy it needs quickly and try to rehydrate the body.
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying. If there were no fresh dates, then with dried dates, and if no dates were available, then with a few sips of water.”
Even though this is the sunnah, in my case, I like to break the fast with dates and some milk. These dates will not only be good to alleviate the sweet cravings that are usually had in Ramadan, but also contain a large amount of minerals, vitamins and fast-absorbing carbohydrates, which will give us a shot of energy.
With this in mind, there are other ways to break the fast for those for whom dates do not “tingle”. For example, dried fruits can also be a good option, since they also have a high amount of fast-absorbing carbohydrates, or if you don't like it, you can have a fruit (which is part of the traditional iftar in many countries). . Another option is to have a glass of juice or a natural fruit smoothie. I don't normally recommend juices due to the fact that the fruit loses its fiber, but keeps the sugars, giving an unnecessary sugar rush for someone who is not fasting. In this case, I would give him a pass, but it is true that I would not take him as my first option. Another little thing that you can also drink is milk, as I have already told you before. Milk will also help us hydrate and give the body energy.
After Iftar, it is Sunnah to go to pray the maghrib. In this case (and in all, really), I strongly recommend following the sunnah, because this way, while we pray, our body is able to assimilate and send a signal to our brain indicating that we have already eaten, thus helping us to avoid excesses in eating. dinner.
If you feel like you are going to eat more at dinner due to anxiety, I would recommend spending more time praying the maghrib and trying to remember why you are doing all this and your goals this Ramadan.
This meal is not really any different from what any other meal we eat outside of the fast should be. It must contain complex carbohydrates (within which we find vegetables), proteins and healthy fats. We will also take the opportunity to continue hydrating ourselves, but be careful not to fall into excesses that make us put food aside.
Within complex carbohydrates , we find foods such as whole wheat pasta, potatoes, lentils, oats, brown rice, basmati, quinoa, cous cous, etc. You have to be careful with the size of the portion, because many times we take more than necessary from this food group, leaving us with no appetite for the rest. A good amount would be one that fits in a small bowl.
On the other hand, vegetables are key in our diet, and in turn is one of the most ignored in Ramadan. These veggies are packed with fiber, filling you up so you feel better able to avoid those sweet treats. For example, if we saw all the food on the same plate, the interesting thing would be that almost half of the plate was occupied by vegetables.
It will be important to ensure an appropriate amount of protein (and physical exercise) so that we do not suffer a loss of muscle mass throughout this month. This protein should not only come from animal products, but also from plant sources. Some examples of protein foods are: fish, chicken, egg, lamb, beef, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc.
As for healthy fats , we have nuts, avocado (which can be incorporated into salads, for example), extra virgin olive oil or fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc. They have a high amount of healthy fatty acids. Fats of this type not only give our food a pleasant flavor and texture, but also take care of our cardiovascular health, form part of our hormones and provide us with a large amount of vitamins.
We will always try to avoid fried foods, refined flours and, in general, any ultra-processed food.
Finally, you can have some fruit for dessert, such as watermelon or melon, which have a large amount of water.
meal before sleep
After Tarawih and before going to sleep, you can take advantage of it to drink more water and have another meal, if you still have an appetite for it. Remember that the ideal is never to fill up to the maximum, so that it does not make it difficult for us to sleep enough hours. Some examples of this food are:
- Kefir smoothie with watermelon and berries + a handful of nuts.
- Roasted apple with peanut/almond butter (make sure it is not sweetened or contains refined oils such as palm or sunflower).
- Yogurt with nuts and crushed chia seeds + pineapple.
This is one of the most important when it comes to avoiding hunger throughout the day. It is recommended that it contain complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and slow-digesting protein. These, being slowly absorbed, will give us energy throughout the day, thus controlling waking up voraciously hungry.
One trick is to have this meal prepared (or at least planned) before you go to sleep, so that you are not too lazy to do it later and decide whether or not to eat anything or eat the wrong food.
The Sunnah is to make this meal as close to fajr as possible, and not fill ourselves to bursting.
Some ideas would be:
- Whole wheat toast with avocado and egg + cheese.
- Hummus with crudités + melon.
- Pure unsweetened chocolate porridge with fruit, pumpkin seeds and peanut/almond butter.
- Kefir smoothie with oatmeal and banana + a handful of nuts.
As we all know, Islam is not just not eating pork, not drinking alcohol and fasting in Ramadan. It goes much further, and many of us fail to take care of the body that has been provided for us.
It must be borne in mind that an inadequate diet will not only have long-term effects, but can lead us to suffer difficulties in falling asleep. For this reason, and to take care of our health, we must be careful with drinks such as tea or coffee (which will contribute to our dehydration, since they are diuretics), fried foods, refined flours and oils, and added sugars.
I thus conclude by wishing you a profitable Ramadan in which you can both connect more deeply with yourselves and with Allah, as well as make lasting changes in your eating habits, In shaa Allah.
Lujain Aljelani - @junitube (Instagram)