What To Eat In Ramazan
By Fareeha Jay
Ramadan is planned by Allah for us to cleanse our body and soul. Despite that, everyday different people ask me to provide them with a Ramadan Diet Plan. Though in my opinion, if we follow the teachings of Islam rightly we don’t need any kind of diet plan.
Chapter 20, verse 81 of the Qur’an states:
“Eat of the good and wholesome things that We have provided for your sustenance but indulge in no excess therein.”
And that is why there is no diet plan. Eat good and wholesome foods with balance, that’s the key.
Never the less, I would like to give a few pointers which surely many of you already know but you can take them as reminders.
We should aim to keep food intake in Ramadan simple, and not very different from our normal diet. This means eating in small portions but to include all major food groups, like fruit and vegetables, breads, cereals and potatoes, meat, lentils and pulses, dairy foods and healthy fats.
Fasting hours across the world can vary and can be anywhere between 11-22 hours. Therefore, we need to focus on foods which can help us feel filled for longer and give us energy. The key to feel full and energetic is to include more and more fibre at Suhoor and Iftar. The slow release of fibre in our body, keeps us full and energetic.
We can increase fibre intake by opting for brown bread, whole grain flour, whole grain cereal, potatoes with skin, brown rice, and brown pasta. Focusing more and more on fruit and vegetables and trying to have them with their skins on, can optimise fibre intake. We can try to avoid or limit fast burning foods in the form of sugar and white flour/white bread/white rice.
To avoid indigestion in Ramadan, aim to limit fatty foods, such as pakoras, samosas, bhajis, chips, cakes, biscuits chocolates and sweets. Don’t stop having them, rather think of ways to prepare them in a healthier way by using less oil and baking, steaming and grilling food rather than frying it. Also, if you regulate your portion size, include fibre in your diet which will aid in avoidance of indigestion.
Drink plenty of fluids, to prevent dehydration. We always focus on water intake which becomes quite difficult to consume in such a short period of time. Along with water we can have stews and soups, or fluid rich fruit and vegetables to increase water intake.
Reduce salt intake as much as possible as high intake may make you feel thirsty. Consciously make an effort of putting half the amount of salt than you usually do. Tea and coffee can stimulate water loss, therefore try to limit the amounts or go for decaffeinated versions.
We all know that we should be limiting the amount of sugar in our diet, because sugars are empty calories and will only contribute to weight gain. If you really feel like having something sweet, try to make healthier choices.
If you feel the urge to have cake, rather than having a chocolate cake go for a plain one. If you want to have a biscuit, instead of having a custard cream biscuit go for a plain one. Try going for milk based sweet dishes such as kheer or vermicelli.
If you feel you just really want to have that chocolate cake, or that gulab jamun, go for it but just think of the portion size.
This Ramadan think less about feasting and more about nourishing your body, after all it is “The Month” to cleanse our body and soul.