The Holy month of Ramadan is here, and excess eating during iftar and suhoor happens more often than we can imagine! After a long day of fasting, people tend to overeat, consume more calories and resort to unhealthy eating habits, unaware of the frustration caused by weight gain that will certainly follow.
But guess what? It’s never too late to break the cycle and start preparing healthy iftar and suhoor menus.
Healthy Ramadan Menu
Dates are definitely a Ramadan staple! They recharge your batteries as they provide natural sugars and minerals.
Vegetables and fruits should be the pillars of your balanced menu as they are low in calories but rich in vitamins and nutrients. Greens in particular ensure that you eat less from the main course as they leave you feeling full and satisfied. The more you add vegetables and fruits to your meal, the more you lose weight.
Soups are a must! Especially broth-based soups that contain vegetables and pieces of meat / chicken. Unlike cream-based soup, broth-based soup is ideal for weight loss diets and is rich in nutrients.
For the main course, focus on boiled, grilled, or steamed chicken / meat and avoid everything that is fried. Don’t forget to add a source of complex carbohydrates to your meal such as brown rice, whole grain pasta or bread, burghul…etc. You can also replace salt with herbs and spices to flavor your dish.
First and foremost, you have to start your suhoor with 1 glass of low-fat milk. Milk not only contains vitamins and minerals that you are in dire need of during Ramadan but it also keeps you full and delays hunger pangs.
In addition to low-fat milk, dairy products including yogurt, cheese, Labneh, and eggs should be the cherry on top of suhoor menu. A protein-rich meal will leave you feeling full and energized. Eggs in particular, whether scrambled, boiled, or omelette along with brown bread, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers is the ideal Suhoor plate. In case you opted for yogurt or Labneh instead of eggs, make sure to add chia seeds or flaxseeds on top as they will give a feeling of satiety.
Don’t forget to add oatmeal with fruits to your menu as you will definitely need this fulfilling and carbohydrates-rich meal during Ramadan.
If you are looking for food that will quench your thirst for long periods, then vegetables and fruits should never leave your plate. Always make sure to include vegetables and fruits with high-water content including watermelon, strawberries, peaches, oranges, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, and spinach.
Dos and Don’ts
- Water is a must!
Drink plenty of water between iftar and suhoor but not during the meal. Losing weight during Ramadan and drinking plenty of water go hand in hand as water satiates your hunger and provides a feeling of fulness.
- Bid desserts goodbye!
We all have a soft spot for traditional iftar desserts and snacks even though they are associated with weight gain. Hence, you can satisfy your sweet tooth by eating fruits, dried fruits (such as figs, apricots, raisins… etc.), and fruit salads. Moreover, whenever you crave salty snacks such as crackers and biscuits, opt for roasted nuts. Try to avoid salty snacks as much as you can as they stimulate thirst.
- Stay away from Ramadan Drinks.
Don’t fall for Ramadan drinks since they contain a lot of sugar and are high in calories. For example, one glass of Jallab contains 200 calories whereas the recommended amount of sugar per day should not exceed 100 calories. Milk and unsweetened juices are always the best alternatives.
Caffeine lovers, you are not going to love this but try to avoid tea, coffee, and soda as they cause frequent urination.
- Never skip Suhoor!!
Skipping suhoor is a big no-no as it may cause dehydration the next day. You should always eat during suhoor, and preferably a light healthy breakfast such as cheese and eggs with a complementary side salad and fluid-rich foods.
- Hold your horses.
Eat slowly, what’s the rush? Studies have shown that the best way to prevent over-indulging is by chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly.
- Stay active!
Ironically, Ramadan is not the right time for you to be a couch potato! Stay active, move more, and workout regularly. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to push yourself beyond the limit until you are dehydrated. A walk for an hour or two, a light jog, and low-intensity workouts are enough to keep you energized and fit during this Holy month. You can pass by powerhouse gym anytime you want and our team will be delighted to help you set your Ramadan workout plan. If you don’t feel like hitting the gym, our personal trainers at “My Coach” will make sure that you stay fit as a fiddle.
- Sleep tight!
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep during Ramadan (7-8 hours per night) because sleep deprivation plays a major role in increasing the appetite which in turn makes fasting even more difficult.
Eating healthy during Ramadan doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy the lavish and savory feasts with your family and friends. Your main purpose shouldn’t be dieting, but rather eating wisely in order to avoid a “spare tyre” belly.