Tracked by the lunar calendar, the holy Islamic month of Ramadan begins on Thursday June 18th this year. The period of fasting, self-evaluation and spiritual growth is one of the most important phases of the year for Muslims in the UK and around the world. But it can be tough, especially in the summer when temperatures rise and the hours of daylight are a lot longer. Follow our guide to a healthy and happy Ramadan.
You’d think fasting would help you shed a few extra pounds, but if you break your fast with a feast, you could pile on the pounds instead. Ramadan is all about discipline and self-control, so don’t forget about that the minute the sun goes down.
Do eat sensibly
Have at least two meals every day, choosing simple, clean foods that are not a world away from your usual diet.
Complex carbohydrates that help release energy slowly during the hours of fasting are perfect for Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal. Make yourself a filling bowl of porridge topped with prunes, apricots or figs, to help you get to your recommended five-a-day as well as a fibre hit. Other fibre-rich foods, which are also digested slowly, include bran, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin on and vegetables such as green beans.
See Ramadan as an opportunity to refine your diet
Avoid fast-burning and heavily processed dishes that contain refined carbs (think of this as a great opportunity to cut harmful sugar and white flour from your diet), as well as junk, such as cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets - including mitai.
Use Ramadan as an opportunity to take a break from:
• deep-fried foods – such as samosas, pakoras and chips
• high-sugar and high-fat foods – including rasgulla and gulab jamun
• high-fat cooked foods – such as paratha and oily curries
Don’t want to give up the snacks? Try these healthier alternatives:
• baked samosas
• chapattis without the oil or ghee
• baked or grilled meat and chicken
• milk-based sweets and puddings, such as rasmalai and barfi
• satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of confectionery