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Healthy eating habits for Ramadan
June 22, 2015, 2:13 pm

Ramadan fasting hours this year will be the longest in 32 years. According to experts from the Sharjah Science Museum, they will last for more than 15 hours. More than ever, it is important now to fast in as healthy a way as possible. It can be achieved with the following tips.

Have both meals: In order to keep the body functioning during fasting hours, a person should consume Iftar, Suhur, and a snack in between.  The body enters a fasting state eight hours after its last meal, when it is done absorbing nutrients from food. To continue providing it with energy, having these two meals and a snack is vital.

Start with dates and laban: The best way to break a fast is with dates and a cup of laban. These sources of simple sugar and protein are a great way to compensate the energy that is lost during abstaining.

Non-creamy soup: It is also good to start Iftar with a warm and non-creamy soup as it is lighter than solid food. Soup can prepare a person’s stomach to receive food with better digestion and less discomfort.

Take a break: After starters, it is best to wait 10 minutes before having the main meal. This way, the stomach will not be overwhelmed with the sudden influx of a large amount of food, and a person will not feel heavy and overly satisfied.

A balanced main meal: To have a balanced main meal, a person should have one source of lean protein (grilled fish or chicken), one source of carbohydrates (brown rice or boiled sweet potatoes), and one source of raw or cooked vegetables.

Baked not fried: Though it is common to have appetisers like samosa or kibbeh in Ramadan, having them in a lighter version, for instance baked instead of fried, will guarantee less after-meal discomfort and less calorie intake.

Fruits for dessert: Because sweets are plentiful in Ramadan, people prefer them over fruits. However, fruits should be the go-to choice of sugar. If they are not, Ramadan sweets such as Katayef can be healthy if they are baked and not fried. In addition, the syrup should be added with a teaspoon rather than smothering the dessert.

Have Suhur late: Having Suhur exactly before fasting hours will provide the body with the source of energy it needs to maintain production for the next day. A nutritious Suhur meal consists of a combination of complex carbohydrates (whole wheat bread), protein (boiled eggs, turkey slices or white cheese), vegetables (freshly cut), and calcium (low fat milk or laban).

Stay hydrated: While tea, coffee, and juices are popular drinks during Ramadan, the most important one is water. At least two litres of water should be consumed daily.

Do exercise: Exercise should continue during Ramadan unless indicated otherwise by a doctor. It is healthy if done for 1 hour, 3-4 times a week.

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