As we start another Ramadan, we try and work on improving our habits hopes that we will implement them into our daily lives year round. While spiritual improvement is absolutely necessary, Ramadan is a great time to incorporate healthier habits. This is a great way to feel more energized throughout the month so that you can do more ibadah. Here are 5 ways you can have a healthy and energized Ramadan this year, Inshallah:
1. Have a balanced suhoor. Not only is eating suhoor a sunnah of the Prophet (SAW), it also has a lot of nutrition benefits. If you are one of those people that have a difficult time eating suhoor and skip it all together, you are missing out on the opportunity to nourish your body for a more energized fast. Try incorporating a protein, whole grain carbohydrate, healthy fat, and a fruit or vegetable at every suhoor. An example of a healthy suhoor is a 2 egg cheese omelette, 2 whole grain toasts, ½ avocado, and ½ cup of strawberries.
2. Don’t overeat at iftar. As tempting as it may be after several hours of fasting, try not to eat everything you possibly can in a 10-minute span. Instead, open your fast with dates, a glass of water, and 1 cup of fruit. Then pray your maghrib prayer before returning to the dinner table for your meal. In the time you pray, your body starts to register that you have received some form of nourishment, so you won’t feel that overwhelming sense of hunger.
3. Stay hydrated. Depending on where you are in the world, you may only have a few hours to get in as much water as you can to maintain your hydration levels. To stay hydrated you can:
- Drink 2-3 cups of water at suhoor (may be difficult during the first few fasts)
- Drink 2-3 cups of water at iftar
- Keep a water bottle with you during non-fasting hours
- Eat fruits and veggies that have a high water content, such as lettuce, cucumber, and watermelon.
4. Avoid deep fried foods. It is difficult to ignore the cultural and social aspects of Ramadan, which usually involves iftar parties with high-carb and high fat snacks. While this is okay in moderation and on occasion, consuming deep fried foods everyday for iftar can really set you back. Not only will you gain weight, you will also feel very sluggish after opening your fast. After 30 days of samosas and spring rolls, it is no surprise that some people gain weight even though they fasted all month!
5. Be mindful of what you eat. Ramadan is a month of fighting our desires, including the desire of food. If you spend a whole day fasting and then spend the remaining hours feasting on multiple plates of food, are you really encompassing the spirit of Ramadan? Instead, be mindful of what you are consuming, especially after a long day of fasting. A few moments before opening your fast as you are making dua, take some time out to think about those less fortunate and how they will be opening their fast. After every fast, be mindful of how much you fill your plate and your belly.
Nazima Qureshi is a Registered Dietitian and Food Blogger dedicated to helping Muslim women live healthier and happier lives. She uses a non-diet approach, which always includes dessert! She loves creating new recipes with her own South Asian flair and healthy twist.