Ahlan wa Sahlan. It’s already mid Ramadan and how did it even fly away so fast? I’ve not even had time to have “matobosho” for dessert yet. JK. As we are parting the Holy Month, it’s also time to reflect on how we are making use of this time to increase our imaan.
On this blog, I will be touching on Ramadan meals which include suhoor (the meal at dawn before starting to fast) and iftar (the meal at dusk after breaking the fast) so how about we dig into the food fun? If you know anything about ‘iftar’ then you must have an idea on how crazy it gets when it comes to the menu. At least that’s how it is where I come from. People usually go all out with the iftar menu. From starters, to the main meal or should I say meals? And not forgetting the desserts. It’s usually a bonanza of food which will most of the times leave you overwhelmed not knowing what to eat and what to pass.
Well if we are real, then most of us get into unhealthy eating during this fasting period but who cares about a little bit of calories anyway? It’s Ramadan and iftar time needs a little bit of feasting but if you’re into getting a healthy body then this is your perfect opportunity to getting used to a healthy diet that you could sustain even after Ramadan. For those of us who don’t care if we gain a few kgs then let’s enjoy this feasting season but hey we need to do it the right way.
Fasting means you will leave your normal eating schedule and get into a new one. The human body has a natural way to adjust to this by storing carbohydrates and fats to give you energy once all the calories have been used up. You may wonder why it’s important to choose what to eat during Ramadan but who wants to stuff themselves until they’re helpless or wake up the next day still feeling like they lack energy? Well not me! If you also don’t want that here are a few tips to help you survive Ramadan without collapsing before the day ends.
After a whole day of fasting, everyone is waiting to break that fast and attack the food but let’s try and do it in moderation. Here are a few things to consider
Start with Dates
Ramadan is all about tradition and one tradition that has lived for centuries is breaking the fast with dates. Dates are very nutritious and rich in sugars so they’re the energy boost you need after a whole day of staying hungry.
Drink some Water
The body can only retain some little water so you might want to hydrate well before you start fasting again. One advantage about water is that it doesn’t add you calories so you can drink to your satisfaction. But make sure you leave space for some samosas.
Add some Fluids
Vimto or Sherbet? That’s the biggest dilemma I have during Ramadan but for some reason Vimto is always dominating. Drink some fluids with natural sugars for energy and you could go for things like milkshake or juices but make sure you also don’t drink too much of these (Calories Galore)
Eat some Fruits
Fruits are rich in fluids and natural sugars which are good to rejuvenate your body and also give you some vitamins you need.
Most of the times, I would pass but hey this is a traditional way of kicking off iftar amongst Arabs. ‘Shurba’ is one of the famous soups during iftar and it is quite nutritious filled with lentils, grains and meat which turns out to be a healthy way to start your meal.
PS: One important thing to note when it comes to the main meal is to make sure it is balanced to give you sufficient nutrients. Go for a meal that includes enough starch, vitamins and proteins. Note that your rice or chapatis are accompanied by meat or meat curries with a side of veggies or salad. You know how this goes down. Yeah?
Another thing to note is to balance the sugars and fats. When it comes to the dessert spread, people usually go all out with all the sweet stuff which sometimes could dehydrate you. Also as much as we enjoy the kaimatis (swahili pastry), viazi karai (fried potatoes) and kebabs, you could try and switch it up sometimes with something less fatty and more healthy.
Suhoor is important because eating before you begin your fast sustains you and helps you survive the day. Then there are those days you feel lazy to wake up and you end up regretting your decision the next day. The Prophet also advises us to eat something before we start fasting and if you’re not the type to have a meal for Suhoor then at least have some water and dates. Here’s what to consider for Suhoor
Remember you need to hydrate well before you start off your fast. Have lots of water, juice and fluids that will keep you hydrated and energized. The dates shake is a good drink to have during Suhoor since it’s quite nutritious. Another option is coconut water which is also nutritious and rich in water .
Eat fluid rich foods
For those who can’t have a heavy meal for Suhoor, a fruit salad or some vegetables can serve as a good way to start off your fast since they are rich in fluids and vitamins.
Note: If you’re opting for healthy then whole grains should be your best friend.
Making some porridge with whole grains like oats and wheat can be a good option for Suhoor giving you the energy you need.
Have some starch
If you’re from Mombasa then you must agree that the phrase “wali wa daku” (rice for suhoor) becomes quite popular during Ramadan. Where are all my rice people at? I’m a fan of rice anytime so having rice for Suhoor is my thing. You could opt for any other starch since starch provides your body with sufficient energy and vitamins.
Avoid too much Savory
This is where I have a problem because I really love savory and spicy food but having too much of it at Suhoor might leave you dehydrated.
Drink some yoghurt
It is good to have yoghurt for Suhoor because it provides you with a fair amount of nutrients. You can mix it up with fruits for a more fun and nutritious combo.
Keep it Breakfast-ish
Suhoor should serve like that heavy breakfast that will sustain you enough to skip lunch. Have some bread or cereals which are rich in fibre but avoid pairing these with salty foods. Hard right? Some of you were already thinking chicken sandwich. You could have that but make sure you drink plenty of water because salty foods tend to dehydrate you and bread is generally dry. Though I would advise you to pair bread or cereals with a fruit like banana.
I’m fasting as I write this blog and it’s quite hard to even concentrate since all I can think of is how many samosas I’m going to have for iftar. Anyways, research has shown that fasting can actually be healthy for your body if done the right way. Remember we have limited time to consume food and drinks so we might want to consume the right ones. I hope I helped with the few tips to help us survive Ramadan.
I know we love going all out with the iftar menus and celebrate this time with our friends and family but extravagance has been greatly discouraged in Islam. We can cook all that food as long as it doesn’t end up in the bins. Some people wish they could have a bit of what you have so if food remains take it to the less fortunate and get some blessings. Let’s also not get so consumed with the food fun that we forget this is also time to worship and repent. The last 10 days of Ramadan are approaching and it’s time to increase our ibadah (worship). Oh! Is that the adhan? Sorry guys, it’s iftar time and samosas are calling… Saum Maqbul y’all!