6 Tips to Eat Correctly During Puasa
Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims and adult Muslims practice daily fasting from dawn until sunset for 29-30 days. Traditionally, one eats before dawn (called “suhoor”), do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours, and breaks fast after sunset(the “iftar”).
There is evidence suggesting that fasting, when done right, can come with tangible physical benefits. Combining healthy food choices, fasting resets one’s metabolism and can help with weight management and even lowering blood cholesterol.
Fasting requires a lot of energy and commitment, especially in Malaysia where the weather is hot. Here’s a guide featuring tips to support the well-being of those who fast and and to help them retain as much energy as possible throughout the day.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor. High temperature can also make you sweat more, so it’s important to drink fluid to replace the liquid you lose during the day (at least 10 glasses). You may also increase water intake by eating hydrating foods, such as watermelon, cucumber and tomato. Meanwhile, try avoiding caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, because these drinks are mild diuretic and may cause the need to urinate, which may lead to dehydration.
- Replenish your energy levels by eating a healthy and balanced meal during Iftar
Incorporate plenty of vegetables to provide vital vitamins and minerals. Make your grains whole, such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, black rice and etc. This will provide the body energy and fiber. Also enjoy a good portion of healthy protein, such as grilled or baked lean meat, skinless chicken and fish, eggs and tofu. Enjoy your meal slowly to avoid overeating, also big meals can cause heartburn and discomfort.
- Prepare your meals with healthier methods
When you cook at home or ordering outside food, choose meals that are prepared in healthier ways. Instead of choosing fried food or oily food, opt for bake, grill, stew, roast or steam food. Good fats in moderation are essential part of a balanced diet. Incorporate foods that are high in healthy fats such as avocado, salmon, olives, nuts, and seeds into your diet. Besides, choice of oil used is also very important. You can cook using grapeseed oil, extra virgin coconut oil, rice bran oil and etc.
- Avoid sugary and salty food
Sugar results in a spike of blood glucose, leaving you with more cravings and thus messes up your metabolism. Sugar does not provide nutritional benefits but empty calories. Hence, stay away from sweetened beverages, desserts, cakes, cookies and candies. Hold the salt while cooking or avoid foods containing large amounts of salt, such as processed meat, salted meat and fish products, snacks, salted crackers or sausages. Too much sodium will cause bloating can stimulates thirst.
- Break your fast with dates
Eaten traditionally at the start of iftar meal, dates (aka Kurma) are high in natural sugar, fiber, minerals, and phytonutrients. They also contain potassium, magnesium, iron, and small amounts of protein and fat. On top of that, dates are easily digested, making them a quick source of energy and nutrients that are essential for those who are fasting.
- Never skip Suhoor
One should never skip Suhoor not only a Sunnah (tradition), but it is also the most crucial meal of the day. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal which helps the body to stay hydrated and fueled up on energy and nutrients until iftar. It also helps to avoid overeating when one breaks fast at sunset in iftar. To provide energy throughout the day while fasting, eat foods that are protein-rich and high in fibre. It is recommended that this meal needs to include vegetables, a serving of complex carbohydrates such as wholewheat bread, protein-rich food such as dairy products (cheese that is not salty) and/or egg, as well as a avocado side dish.
Always remember, moderation is the key to healthy eating. It is important to get proper nourishment between Iftar and Suhoor in order to be prepared for the fasting, but it is also important to also practice healthy eating and get proper nourishment and hydration on normal days! We hereby wish everyone a safe and healthy Ramadan!
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)
[Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietics (major) &
Food Science (minor) lowa State University, USA]