During the Holy month of fasting and Iftars, it’s important to make sure the body gets the right fuel, says Deeba Hasan
While the smells and tastes are indeed irresistible, it is advisable to keep a little check on what we are stuffing ourselves with. More so because people generally tend to gain calories and not burn them during the Holy Month, making it a case of “feasting” rather than fasting, which is after all what the month is all about. Naturally, fried snacks, high-calorie foods and junk foods might send you into raptures when you munch on them, but the impact they have on your body is in one word – bad.
Since Ramadan has this year coincided with the summer, the fasting period – between the Suhoor or pre-dawn meal and Iftar – has become even longer, is proving to be pretty harsh on even the most hardened fasters.
Nevertheless, a timely intake of healthy food varieties will ensure that you maintain your health and, at the same time, fulfil the purpose of the Holy Month. This doesn’t require you to give up your yummy food varieties, but only consume them in a healthier way.
According to Monika Seth, nutritionist and weight loss Consultant at Al Raffah Hospital: “It is possible to eat healthy without giving up your traditional Ramadan food varieties; it’s just about adopting healthy cooking methods and taking in your meals with the right portions and at the right time.
“Make it a point not to miss the pre-dawn meal because it prepares the body for a long day of fasting ahead. Skipping this meal would prove to have adverse effects on your body, such as extreme increase or decrease in blood pressure and sugar levels, lethargy and headaches.
“The best foods to have during the pre-dawn meal are slow release foods which contain complex carbohydrates and high-end fibre – a small bowl of porridge, low-fat milk or laban with fruit, whole grain bread and a handful of nuts will stay in your stomach for longer and not make you crave food during the fasting period. At the same time, these varieties also help the body’s metabolism to function well.”
Monika advises healthy liquids and water containing fruits and veggies.
Besides this, she also recommends citrus fruits, such as oranges, herbs, such as parsley, mint and basil. She adds that berries will give your body the essential nutrients and must be a part of your daily diet.
(Makes 6 servings):
Place the rice in a food processor or blender, process until coarse, but not pureed. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the milk, sugar and dates. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the dates are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold.