Ramadan: 7 tips for those who celebrate after fasting

Having a balanced iftar is essential, because it is the meal that allows you to replenish your energy reserves and continue Ramadan the following day in the best possible mood.

Iftar time marks the end of the fasting day. Families and friends then gather around tables garnished with sumptuous feasts. This user-friendly experience, however, can become problematic for people trying to maintain healthy eating habits during this holy month.

In this article, we’ve put together seven tips that will help you find a balanced way to break the fast and make the rest of your Ramadan a time to cultivate good health.

1. Before eating, rehydrate first

Starting with drinks (water, freshly squeezed juices, curds or l’ben) will prevent dehydration and provide your body with the essential liquids it needs. Nevertheless, water remains the best source of hydration. Drink 1-2 glasses before your meal, not during it so as not to delay the digestion process. Beware of carbonated drinks and other sodas, as they contain a lot of sugar and calories.

2. Break your fast with dates

The tradition of the Prophet recommends breaking the fast by eating some dates. These represent an ideal supply of natural carbohydrates that help your body recharge the batteries in a short time. If during the hours of fasting you suffer from headaches, this is most likely due to the lack of glucose in the blood, starting your iftar with two or three dates can quickly replenish your sugar levels.

3. Start with a bowl of soup

Soups (chorba, h’rira, vegetable soups) are an essential dish at iftar. These are rich in water which helps you hydrate, but also in minerals and vitamins. Opt for a lentil or vegetable soup and avoid cream-based soups. If you prefer cold soups, gazpachos are a great alternative.

4. Eat green vegetables

Vegetables, low calorie foods, are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Their consumption provides a feeling of satiety which allows you to eat less of your main dish. Try to have two servings of vegetables per meal. A serving is equal to half a cup of raw or cooked vegetables and one cup of leafy vegetables. Also, the more colorful your salad, the more healthy it is.

5. Choose good carbs

The iftar meal should contain a source of carbohydrates, preferably complex ones. It can be brown rice, pasta, wholemeal bread or potatoes. Complex carbohydrates provide a more stable source of energy and contain more fiber and minerals.

6. Incorporate lean protein

At iftar, be sure to eat high-quality, digestible protein that contains all the essential amino acids. Your body uses them to build muscle mass. Beef, milk, eggs, cheese, fish and poultry serve as complete protein sources. Preferably choose lean proteins, with little saturated fat; for example, fish, chicken breast, low-fat dairy products. If you are a vegetarian, you can opt for other sources of protein like legumes, beans and nuts.

7. Avoid foods high in fat, salt and sugar

If possible, avoid heavy meals that contain too much salt, bad fats and added sugar. Make your recipes healthier by preferring to simmer food, bake it or gently steam it, roast it or grill it; on the other hand, avoid fried foods. To flavor your dishes, add fine herbs and spices instead of salt. Finally, replace desserts and sugary drinks with fruit (fresh or dried or in salads).

A bonus tip… Take it easy!

When it’s time for iftar, don’t be in a hurry to finish your meal to go have your coffee and smoke your cigarette. After a whole day of dry fasting, overeating can lead to indigestion and other stomach issues. Eat a light meal with reasonable portions. As a general rule, do not exceed the amounts you usually eat at lunch or dinner.

Article sponsored by Anadolu Medical Center

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