Iftar is the most important meal during the holy month of Ramadan, as that’s the meal that Muslims have to break their fast as soon as the call to the maghreb prayer is heard.

Having a balanced iftar is important as it’s the meal that will help you restore your energy. Here are a few tips to help you find a healthier way to break your fast and make the rest of your Ramadan a healthy one.

Hydrate before eating

As you break your fast with dates, make sure to hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, freshly squeezed juice, or milk. This will prevent dehydration and provide your body with the essential fluids it needs. Water is your best source of hydration. Drink a glass of water before your meal but not during your meal to avoid bloating and digestion problems. Don’t over indulge in drinks and avoid drinks that contain a lot of sugar. Make sure to stay hydrated during the non-fasting hours and drink a lot of water during suhoor.

Dates are important

Dates are a nutritious source of natural sugar. They fuel your body with much-needed energy. If you suffer from low blood sugar, begin your iftar with two dates and recharge your sugar levels.

Your iftar meal

Keep your iftar meal light and include reasonable food portions.

Begin with soup: They’re rich in water and help you hydrate. Go for lentil, tomato, or other vegetable soups and avoid cream-based soups.

Eat your vegetables: Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It provides a feeling of fullness, ensuring you eat less during iftar. Aim for two servings of vegetables per meal.

Choose complex carbs: Your iftar meal should contain a source of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole grain pasta or bread, potatoes or burghul. Complex carbs provide a more stable and sustainable source of energy in addition to fibre and minerals.

Incorporate lean protein: Aim to eat high quality protein that are highly digestible and contain all the essential amino acids. Choose lean proteins to get the benefits with little saturated fats. Include fish, skinless chicken or turkey and low fat dairy to have as part of your meal. If you’re vegetarian, include other protein sources such as legumes, beans and nuts.

Avoid food high with fat, salt and sugar. Add herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour your meals. Replace sweets and sweetened drinks with naturally occurring sugar in fruits, dried fruits and fruit salads. In addition, avoid fried or oily food as they tend to be high in calories, fat, salt and refined carbs but low in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Instead, stew, bake, roast, steam or grill your food.

And lastly, avoid overloading or overeating. It may lead to indigestion and other gastric problems.

All of these healthy tips apply for your suhoor and other Ramadan meals as well.

Make sure to exercise

As you’re staying home this Ramadan, make sure to exercise. After iftar, take some time and exercise for at least 20 minutes. March or jog in your place, perform jumping jacks, mountain climbers, high knees, lunges and much more. Brisk walk around the house. or take a walk or go for a run in the neighbourhood but make sure to maintain physical distance and wear a mask and gloves.

Author: Ola Diab

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