As we edge towards the end of the first week of Ramadan, now is a good time to take stock and get in touch with how you’re feeling – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Are you making the most of the Holy Month as a time to cleanse, slow down, and spend time with your nearest and dearest?
On an emotional level, you might find it beneficial to take up journaling for the month. During the hours leading up to Iftar, carve out some time to sit in silence, pen and paper in hand, and reflect. As for the physical and the mental, they can be influenced by the quality and quantity of food that you are consuming, which is why breaking your fast correctly is so important.
Here, Hala Abu Taha, a clinical dietician at the American Center in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, shares her tips for a more health-conscious approach to food during Ramadan.
Start by breaking your fast slowly.
Rehydrate your body with water and eat dried fruits, such as dates or dried figs, to restore your blood sugar levels.
Consume two well-balanced and nutritious meals (Iftar and Suhour) with healthy snacks in between.
Make sure to hit all the main food groups and keep your diet varied.
Avoid overeating at meal timings.
This may lead to indigestion and weight gain.
More often, choose foods that are rich in fiber, such as dark-green leafy vegetables, fruits with edible skin, and complex carbohydrates like wholegrain breads, cereals, lentils, and beans.
Fiber is known to delay the absorption of sugar, therefore keeping you feeling fuller and more energetic throughout the day.
Limit or avoid your intake of certain foods.
This includes items that are made of refined carbohydrates, in addition to foods that are highly processed and contain large amounts of fat, sugar, and salt.
Try to replace your sweet-tooth cravings with fresh fruits or baked sweets.
Baked atayef is a good option, but go easy on the syrup. Enjoy dessert as a treat.
Remember to drink plenty of water.
Aim for at least eight glasses a day to prevent dehydration, unless otherwise advised by your physician.
Limit or avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Caffeine is a diuretic, so you may end up more dehydrated as a result.