During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world practice daily fasting, eating only one meal (“Suhoor”) just before dawn and another meal (“Iftar”) after sunset. While there is evidence to show that fasting may have some health benefits, the challenge for most people still lies in striking a balance between fasting and eating healthily, when there is only a very narrow window of time to nourish their bodies.
It's not too late to keep your eating habits in check! With Hari Raya Aidilfitri just around the corner and a few days left to fast, it is as important as ever to start practicing a balanced and nutritional diet to welcome the festive season.
Babel’s in-house nutrition expert, Delphine, has put together some easy nutrition tips to help you during this time. And if you’re not fasting, read on as well – some of our tips may just up your healthy eating game (you’re welcome in advance)!
Tip #1: Don’t skip Suhoor!
We know it isn’t the easiest thing to do to wake up before dawn and eat, especially when you’re still in a state of grogginess. But breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day so make sure to fuel up on food that keeps you energised for the rest of the day. Go for complex carbs that are starchy and high in fibre such as oats, brown rice and pasta to keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not pair your meal with nuts or lean meat for a protein-packed meal?
Whole grain pasta is a type of complex carb that is high in fibre, to keep you energised the whole day.
Tip #2: Stay hydrated…
… And drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor meals! Dehydration – which is very common amongst those fasting – leads to constipation, lethargy and difficulty in concentration, so make it a point to also consume hydrating foods such as watermelon, fresh veggie salads and soups to increase your water intake. If you’re a caffeine addict, we’d suggest you try and stick to water during Ramadan. Although a little sip won’t hurt, caffeine ultimately makes you urinate more often, which can cause dehydration.
Tip #3: Pace yourself during Iftar
It’s totally normal to feel full after a few bites of the Iftar meal. If that’s what you’re experiencing, make it a habit to pace yourself and have multiple small meals instead of one big meal. Eating slowly also helps to prevent indigestion, heartburn and overeating, so why the rush to your chomp down your food?
Tip #4: Limit your intake of oily and spicy foods
While bazaars are a no-go this time round, technology has made food easily available at our fingertips which doesn’t make it any easier to eat healthily, let alone during the Ramadan period! During this time, try not to consume too much of oily food as they are notoriously known to slow down digestion and can cause heartburn, while eating too much spicy food can lead to stomach pain. Our advice? Enjoy these guilty pleasures in small amounts and go for fresh fruits, yogurt or dried fruits as a snack instead!
Fresh fruits, yogurt or dried fruits can also serve as delicious, healthy snacks!
Tip #5: Cut down on your salt intake
We live in a world where some of most tempting food (think french fries, pizza, chips – the list could go on and on!) are almost always salty. However, salty food actually stimulates thirst so it’s probably best to avoid food that contains large amounts of salt such as processed meat, pickles and even sauces when you’re fasting. Plus, consuming food with too much salt may also make you predisposed to health risks such as high blood pressure, stroke and kidney disease (yikes!). If you’re worried about your meals not being flavourful enough, herbs and spices should do the trick!
And there you have it, 5 easy nutrition tips you can try to have a healthier and happier diet to end Ramadan! At Babel, we believe in taking a holistic approach towards our overall health and wellness, and this includes how we feed our body as it ultimately influences the quality of our lives. Just like how we’re there for you in your fitness journey, we’re also here to help make your Ramadan experience a little better!
Interested to learn more about nutrition and its impact on your health? Drop us an email to get in touch with our Nutrition Coaches and take your first steps to a healthy diet.
1. World Health Organization, http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/dietary-recommendations-for-the-month-of-ramadan.html
2. British Nutrition Foundation, https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/seasons/ramadan.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=2dc2d661a8d8662b2515be5a525dd43583606e0d-1588833776-0-AcGDjQcDy5Da4HaztlQFkZe4JqS3N8U6MRmHoVMtZ7uCRQrzWh-NzdlkFDoIzVFSoNderA2eoFyY2l3Vo3pq4vR7TDbnKbbVuikoHu2QprjIwKo4Ne2-fPYRcokMKmCIScITmSl1WbQIZ31a4StxrXUbQlyvYm_wmA-3BtHSEunA9KAhxNzP0wCKVGR6j8LAsGKH6cShyaqU3JHcRFteSuFeEPwA9gICtQ0BQ3fD5Xtpu23EI7I3gS0j1Dlrt8kYwDjeGYgbFdPkMG_06G67FFGtxXZnb8XDJndo2q_3gQCYxGsB6vgRRT_iaQE9qDdEVUAPLt2Ty61vMJPG1hysaApUPWPRFJ9oVhcB3KGO0e9s2OP7X7fPuipnx7a5y5QZCA
4. Malaysian Dietitian’s Association, https://www.dietitians.org.my/health-info/minimise-stomach-upsets-during-ramadan
5. Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sodium-per-day