Photo: Stockport
What to Eat and What to Avoid During RamadanPhoto: Stockport

During Ramadan, the “Sultan of 11 Months,” millions of Muslims around the world focus on inner reflection and fast from dusk until da.wn. If you fast during Ramadan, not only do you change your eating and sleeping patterns, but your body’s biological clock also undergoes a series of changes both physically and mentally. Dehydrated and hungry due to fasting, your body slows down your metabolism in order to use energy as efficiently as possible.

But you can still enjoy fasting and capture the spirit of Ramadan simply by drinking enough water and watching what you eat during suhoor (the meal period before sunrise) and after iftar (the meal period after sunset), Jamherbalifenutrition cited.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this holy month, Muslims fast and abstain from food and water during sunlight hours. We do this every day for 30 days.

Fasting helps to cleanse the soul, teach self-discipline and empathy for those less fortunate, and encourage acts of generosity. There’s so much more on this topic online. And I can provide more amazing resources if anyone’s interested. I want to focus on the health aspects and Ramadan recipes today.

What to Eat During Ramadan

Protein rich food: Eggs are high in proteins and most nutritious. They not only help you to stay fuller, but can be made in several ways to suit your taste buds.

Fibre rich food: Oat meal is rich in fibre and a perfect meal your body needs during Suhoor. Soluble fibre turns to gel in the stomach and slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose, perfect to keep you energised throughout your fast.

Calcium and vitamin rich food: Dairy products are a great source of nutrition. Opt for a yoghurt smoothie or choose a vanilla and honey milk shake to stay full and hydrated throughout the day.

Potassium rich fruits: Dates are nutrient powerhouses and excellent food-item to break your fast. It not only helps you hydrate quickly, but gives you instant energy to make you feel rejuvenated after the long-hours of fasting.

Sufficient fluids: Drink as much water or fruit juices as possible between Iftar and bedtime to avoid dehydration

Raw nuts: Almonds contain good fats which are essential, particularly when your body has been craving for fats after the long-hours of fasting. It is a perfect Iftar item which helps you feel full and in control, without the need to binge.

Hydrating vegetables: Cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables are high in fibre and laden with the goodness of hydrating properties. It not only helps your body feel cool, but is also a great choice to keep you skin healthy and avoid constipation during Ramadan.

Suggestions for What to Eat During Ramadan

Photo: Simplyleb
Photo: Simplyleb

Authentic Middle Eastern salads

One of my favorite Ramadan recipes is one that my mom literally makes every single day during the month. It’s a Fattoush Salad that is made with simple fresh vegetables and toasted pita bread then tossed in a zesty sumac Mediterranean dressing! It’s an authentic recipe I know you’ll love, Feelgoodfoodie noted.

Photo: Seaofherbs
Photo: Seaofherbs

Classic Ramadan soup recipes

The most popular soup recipe during Ramadan is this Crushed Lentil Soup. It is actually one of my all-time favorite soup recipes and I love to make it all year long. It’s made with red lentils, short-grain rice, onions, carrots, and cumin and topped with the tangy taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice – comforting, delicious and healthy!

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Best Ramadan appetizer recipes

Stuffed grape leaves (warak arish) are a Mediterranean classic recipe made with short grain rice, parsley, tomatoes and onions – my favorite appetizer and very popular to eat during Ramadan. This is the vegetarian version. But I’ve also shared the meat stuffed grape leaves recipe which is made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture.

Photo: Simplyleb
Photo: Simplyleb

Suhoor Ramadan recipes

Suhoor is a great time to enjoy breakfast recipes and ones that will keep you feeling energized and full throughout the day. Because this meal happens so early, I recommend preparing your meal the night before so it’s ready to enjoy when you wake up without prep work. Overnight oats are the best solution for that! You can enjoy them cold or warmed with endless topping possibilities

And you can’t go wrong with Zaatar Manakeesh. It’s a Mediterranean flatbread that’s made with dough and zaatar spice. It’s an easy recipe to make from scratch using very few ingredients and we often serve it with Arabic cheese, Labneh and fresh vegetables. Be sure to wash and chop the vegetables the night before.

Photo: Pakistanichefrecipes
Photo: Pakistanichefrecipes

Main dishes for Ramadan

If you’re looking for some protein-rich meals, try Chicken Kafta or Beef Kafta – both made with ground chicken or beef along with parsley, onions and spices. They both pair really well with my authentic Lebanese Rice.

What to Avoid During Ramadan

Simple or refined carbohydrates: these are food that last only 3 to 4 hours and they are low in essential nutrients Such as: sugars, white flour, pastries, donuts, croissants.

Salty food: imbalance of sodium levels in your body makes you very thirsty while fasting so try to avoid salted nuts, pickles, chips and food that contain soya sauce

Caffeinated drinks: Coffee has caffeine which leads to insomnia and restlessness. In addition, it doesn't hydrate and keeps you longing for water the whole day. Avoid it at the time of Suhoor at all costs.

Carbonated drinks: No fizzy drinks, regardless of how much you crave to have one. Avoid drinking processed beverages and carbonated drinks. Stick to regular water and or coconut water to soothe your thirst.

High-sugar foods: High-sugar food items as sweets, chocolates should be avoided. They are instant source of weight gain and can lead to complexities if consumed every day.

Fried-foods: Greasy and fried food like fried dumplings and samosas should be avoided. Also avoid oily curries and greasy pastries to reap healthy benefits for your body during Ramadan, Qatarday noted.

Photo: Halaltrip
Photo: Halaltrip

Foods to Avoid During Suhur

Avoid eating foods containing refined carbohydrates as they are low in essential nutrients and can make you feel energetic only for 2-4 hours. Salty foods should be avoided too as they can imbalance sodium level in the body. Additionally, do not have caffeinated drinks as they can cause insomnia and restlessness. Also, tea and coffee can make you feel dehydrated and keep you longing for water.

Foods to Avoid Eating During Iftar

You must avoid drinking processed and carbonated beverages. Additionally, do not consume sugar-rich or fried foods like chocolate, sweets, samosas, dumplings etc, according to India.

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