The holy month of Ramadan is here & if you looking for a great way to end your fast this Ramadan, stop right here! The delicious meals at Iftar are what all of us have our eyes on!
Traditionally, there is an emphasis on providing bountiful meals to celebrate this special month. The women of the house toil for hours preparing scrumptious meals for family & friends.
Ramadan isn't always thought of as being an opportunity to lose weight because the emphasis is more on the spiritual aspect. However, it is a great opportunity to get physical benefits as well.
Prolonged fasting for a very long period of time leads to the breaking down of muscle proteins to release energy, which is very unhealthy for the body.
So, all you have to do is to eat a nutritious Iftar meal made from fresh ingredients, cooked in a healthy manner. This will keep your health in check & yet let you enjoy a feast.
So, let's consider these options to start planning your Iftar evenings. During Ramadan, you need to put extra effort into including foods from all five food groups to ensure variety & a well-balanced diet.
Ramadan Foods include:
- Bread, cereals, & other grain products
- Fruit & vegetables
- Meat, fish, & poultry
- Milk, cheese, & yogurt
- Fats, oils, & sugars (these contain very little nutrients & are high in calories & therefore their intake should be limited)
Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling enough to provide energy for several hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods, in order to delay hunger pangs. Foods like oats, millets, beans, lentils, bran, figs, prunes can be consumed. Drink fluids to keep you hydrated during the day & assist with digestion.
Ideal Suhoor Meals:
- Oatmeal with fruits, a handful of nuts, & 1 mug of tea/ green tea/coffee.
- 1 multigrain egg white & veggie sandwich + 1 glass chilled milk with 1 tsp soaked chia seeds & 4 almonds.
- 2 chapatis + 1 katori subji + 1 katori curd.
- 1 bowl muesli + 1 cup milk, 1 Katori cut fruit, & 2 walnuts.
Iftar is the meal that breaks the day's fast. This meal could include dates that will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy. Incorporate protein-rich sources such as egg whites, legumes, & low-fat dairy products. Wholemeal bread, brown rice, or whole-grain noodles are complex carbohydrates that provide the body with energy, fibre, & minerals. Make sure you include 1 serving of fruit & 1 serving of vegetables in each of your two meals.
The meal should remain a meal & not become a feast! Try to minimize the rich & calorie-dense dishes that are traditionally made to celebrate the occasion. You may opt for healthier food choices as suggested below:
Alternative healthy food options for Iftar:
- Baked samosas & boiled dumplings
- Chapattis/ Parathas made without oil
- Low-fat milk-based sweets & puddings/ Chia fruit pudding/ Fruit custard/Quinoa parfait
- Fattoush (salad made of vegetables & pita bread)
- Tabbouleh (salad made with fresh tomatoes, parsley, garlic, & bulgur wheat.)
- Lavash (soft, thin cracker bread) with hummus
- Chana chaat or Fruit chaat
- Mujadara (a dish made with rice & lentils)
- Ful Medames (fava beans cooked with garlic & spread on bread)
- Grilled chicken/ Barbequed chicken/ Chicken kebabs/ Fish kebabs
- Ragda chaat/ Chole chaat/ Chana chaat
- Smoothies/ Refreshment drink
Food to avoid:
- Deep-fried foods - Pakoda, samosas, fried dumplings, kebabs, etc
- High sugar & added sugar foods - Sweets/ desserts like Gulab jamun, Rasagulla, Balushai, Baklawa, pastries, jams, jellies, candies, syrup-drenched desserts, etc
- High-fat dairy products - Ice-creams, cheese, oily parathas, creamy cheese sauces, etc
- Fast foods - Pizza, burgers, etc
- Greasy cooked foods - Oil-rich curries, French fries, etc
- Highly salted foods - Pickles, salted chips, etc
- Fried meats & meat products - Haleem, hot dogs, hamburgers, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, etc
- Fast-burning foods - Pasta, white bread, chocolates, cookies, etc
- Heavily processed foods- Sausages, juices with added sugar, fruit preserves, etc
- Carbonated beverages- Cola, energy drinks, etc
- Caffeine-based beverages- Coffee, tea
Common dietary mistakes at Iftar
1. Drinking large amounts of water at Iftar time
Impact: Filling the stomach with water is more strenuous than filling it with food.
Solution: Can have a few sips during Iftar. Later, a glass full of water every two hours.
2. Drinking Roohafza on a daily basis
Impact: It contains high amounts of added sugars, preservatives, & food colours.
Solution: Can be consumed twice a week if required.
3. Chewing & swallowing food quickly
Impact: Increases unhealthy weight gain & slows down the digestion process.
Solution: Chewing food slowly will speed up digestion & help in maintaining a healthy weight.
4. Consuming foods high in sodium
Impact: Sodium triggers thirst during the fasting hours of the day.
Solution: Consume foods dense in potassium as they retain water & suppress thirst. Such foods include banana, milk, dates, avocados, pistachios, dried peaches, pumpkin, peas, & dark chocolate (in moderation).
5. Intake of sweets/desserts soon after Iftar
Impact: Leaves you feeling drowsy & sleepy.
Solution: Wait for two hours after an Iftar meal to stay fresh & active for Isha Prayers.
6. Exercising directly after Iftar
Impact: Adverse effects on blood flow as it is concentrated around the stomach during Iftar.
Solution: To ease digestion, work out after two hours of intake.
1. Cooking methods to avoid:
- Deep frying
- Excessive use of oil
2. Healthy cooking methods:
- Shallow frying
- Steaming, grilling or baking is healthier & helps retain the taste & original flavor of the food.
With such an assorted list of food available, you now hold the key to healthy eating choices during this festival. Just remember, it's not a good idea to fast & then feast. A balanced diet containing healthy ingredients & cooked with suitable methods will bring you good health, energy & joy during Suhoor & Iftar.
Ramadan Diet Plan to Lose Weight:
|On Rising||1 tsp wheatgrass powder in 1 glass of warm water|
|Suhoor||1 bowl sugar-free muesli with milk/oats porridge/ 2 egg whites with 1 multigrain toast / 1 bowl sabzi /salad + 2 chapatis + 1 bowl dal/curd/chicken|
|Iftar||1 date + 1 bowl mixed fruits/ fruit chaat OR 1 bowl chole/ragda chaat/chana chaat OR 1 bowl leafy salad + 2 chicken kebab/ fish kebab/ chicken shashlik/grilled chicken|
1 bowl salad/sabzi + 2 chapati/ rice + 1 bowl curds/dal/chicken OR 1 Frankie/ wrap/ shawarma + 1 glass refreshment drink
1 bowl oats haleem/ dalia haleem + glass of buttermilk OR chicken biryani/ fish pulao + bowl of curd/veg raita
|Bedtime||1 cup milk with a pinch of haldi|