Useful health and food tips to prepare your family this Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Fasting is one of the five Pillars of Worship in Islam. During this Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking (among other things) between sunrise and sunset to teach themselves self-awareness, patience and tolerance.
The holy month of Ramadan falls in June/July in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This time of the year is the hottest in The Kingdom and so one need to be extra careful in following good health & food habits during this holy month.
Suhoor is the meal taken immediately before sunrise. The fasting commences immediately with the Fajr Prayers. It’s a vital meal in Ramadan as it gives you strength and vitality for the day and can make fasting easier and tolerable. Make sure that this meal is mostly whole grain breads, rice and whole grain cereals as these meals are rich in Carbohydrates and can help you to maintain your blood sugar levels. There are a lot of Hotels in Saudi Arabia that offer Suhoor in this month. Make sure you drink adequate water during the Suhoor.
A healthy Iftar goes hand in hand with the traditions. Most of the people start off with a date or two and then with glass of water. 2-3 dates are enough to break your fast. It’s a common tradition to break the fast with dates as they are extremely rich in calories. The most important thing during Ramadan is to make sure that you focus on moderation as its essential to help you maintain a healthy weight during Ramadan. Apart from Dates, there are lots of delicacies that are served at the time of iftar. One such delicacy is the Sambosa. However it is advisable to be moderate in your consumption of appetizers such as sambosa as these deep fried delicacies are high in calories and fat which may result in the increase of cholesterol levels in the blood. The better option would be to have them baked and stuffed with low fat cheese. Starting your Iftar meal with a warm soup comforts the stomach after a long day of fasting, replenishes your body with fluids and helps you to prepare the digestive system for this blessed meal. Eating your soup and salad slowly at Iftar will help you feel full and prevent you from overeating later from the main dish and sweets. Its always good to be creative with your salad. The more varied and colorful vegetables you include in your salad, the more assorted are the nutrients and antioxidants you get. These help protect your body cells and promote good health especially during this holy month. Maghrib is performed after breaking the fast which is then followed by the main course.
It’s very important to go for a balanced main dish at Iftar which is rich in carbohydrates & Proteins. A common tradition in Saudi Arabia is to serve Rice, Chicken, Pasta, Potatoes and borghul during the main course. Most of the Restaurants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia serve quality dishes throughout the month. All these dishes are rich in carbohydrates and proteins however it is important to have a moderate diet to avoid over eating during Ramadan which results in weight gain. Its always recommended to divide your main course into three parts. It’s good to have one quarter with carbohydrates, one part with meat or equivalent and the remaining with vegetables to have a good balance diet.
A lot of people tend to eat a little more during Ramadan which results in weight gain. The key is to have a healthy iftar and have food in moderation. It’s good to choose more from fruits and vegetables. Regular exercises will also help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Avoiding sweets during Ramadan is recommended. Meats, legumes, eggs and dairy products are rich in proteins. Ensure you have at least one of these sources in every Ramadan meal since proteins are very important for your body cells. They also increase your satiety level thus reducing the temptation for eating sweets.
This Ramadan, eat healthy at Suhoor & Iftar to ensure adequate nutrition and continued good health. Let this blessed month of Ramadan be a time of revival in spirit, soul and body.