How to fast the healthy way for Ramadan
The eating periods during the Holy Month of Ramadan ought to be planned well
The Ramadan fasting pattern is similar to intermittent fasting, the only difference being, while one is done for religious reasons, the latter is done to lose weight and increase metabolism. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you eat for eight hours and give your stomach a break for 16 hours (the 16:8 plan), but all through, you can consume water at regular intervals. Under the guidance of a professional dietitian, you can achieve similar results while fasting during Ramadan. Here’s a guide to how you can fast in a healthy manner.
Break your fast with two or three dates and two glasses of water. You can follow it up with a bowl of fruits, as it will boost your blood sugar levels, and will be a good fibre intake. Take a break for 15-20 minutes, and then have a bowl of soup or green salad, as this will give you a sense of satiety.
After two hours, have a proper meal comprising complex carbohydrates. You can include lean protein, such as lean chicken, eggs, lentils, etc. It’s recommended that you have at least two or three servings of vegetables during iftar. Try and include unsaturated fats, such as avocado, fish and walnuts in the meals. Avoid excess consumption of salt. Remember, iftar should be a balanced meal and not an indulgent feast. Excessive consumption of high-fat spicy foods may result in indigestion, acidity and weight gain.
In the time between iftar and suhour, have high-fibre, calorie-dense foods. Avoid processed foods as they may cause bloating and water retention. You can have nuts, yoghurts, laban, fruits and smoothies. Try to keep yourself well-hydrated and have at least 2.5 litres of water during the eating period.
At dawn, during suhour, start your meals with two glasses of water. Avoid excess caffeine as it’s a diuretic and will cause water loss from the body. Have a cup of tea or coffee if at all you are craving it, otherwise have a cup of green tea. The breakfast should be a high-fibre diet, and must provide 25 per cent of nutrients required by the body. You can achieve this by having a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre. This will keep you full for a longer time and help you remain focused. For example, oatmeal, omelette with vegetables and a slice of multigrain toast, sandwiches, wraps or manakeesh with greens, traditional Arabic fattoush, chickpeas with guacamole are all great options. Make sure to include one whole fruit that is rich in fibre, like apple, pear, melons, oranges or papaya. Avoid sugary drinks to prevent a spike in blood sugar levels.