How to eat healthy during Ramadan

Our health expert tells you what you should be eating at Iftar and Suhoor this holy month.

June 5, 2016

Staying healthy during Ramadan is a lot easier said than done. After all, breaking your fast isn't always the most nutritious of meals, especially at one of the typical GCC hotels gluttonous mega-iftars. 

But it's important to stay healthy during the holy month, and the trick to doing that is to keep your diet as simple as possible.

That's the advice of Banin Shahine, a certified dietician at Fitness First UAE, who has given us the below tips on how to eat healthily during Ramadan. 

"The key to staying healthy is to eat as much as any normal day while including foods with a higher fibre content to provide fuel for the whole day, and plenty of fluids to stay hydrated for as long as possible," says Shahine. "Make sure you avoid oily, fatty, fried and sugary sweets." Ramadan1

Always eat at Suhoor

• Consider Suhoor as your breakfast - never miss this meal. It is imperative because it fuels your body with the energy it needs throughout the day. It's strongly recommended that it is a nutritious meal, because a completely empty stomach will result in fatigue all and overeating at Iftar. 

• Be sure that your Suhoor meal contains all the major food groups including protein (meat or fish), complex carbohydrates, fruit or vegetables and some dairy.

• Complex carbohydrates with a low GI (Glycemic Index) are foods that get digested slowly, making you less hungry, while providing constant levels of energy. Examples include oats, lentils, brown rice, grains and seeds.

What to eat at Iftar

• You should break your fast with water, dates, soup and a salad, then start with the main dish.

• Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juices between Iftar and Suhoor so that your body can maintain its fluid levels.

General dos and don’ts

• Stay hydrated. Do not forget to drink plenty of water before fasting and as you break your fast. Between Iftar and Suhoor, drink a minimum of 12 glasses.

• Limit your fat intake, but do not cut fat out completely. Healthy fat (for example omega 3 fish oils, natural fats found in nuts) is a good source of energy, especially during fasting.

• Stay away from fried, greasy and sugary food.

• Limit your sugar intake. For something sweet, stick to fruit as they are naturally sweet and rich in vitamins and minerals as well as being a great source of antioxidants.