The month of Ramadan is a time of fasting for Muslims. Check out registered dietitian Christine DeSouza’s tips to eat well during Ramadan.
Fasting during Ramadan means no food or drink, not even water, between sunrise and sunset. Many Muslims stay up late into the night and may choose to rest during fasting hours. Ramadan is a time to focus on prayer and a time to help by donating and giving to those less fortunate.
Have a discussion with your health care provider before fasting.
Pregnant, breastfeeding, the sick, and elderly are exempt from fasting; they can make it up another time. Or, instead of fasting, they can donate a specific amount to charity, fidyah. Some may choose to fast but remember, if you do not feel well while you are fasting, you can break the fast at any time in order to eat or drink something to feel better.
It is important to eat well at and between iftar and suhoor. Iftar, the meal after sunset, is a time to “break the fast” and celebrate with family and friends. Suhoor, the meal just before sunrise, is an important meal of the day because this is the last time you will eat until sunset.
If you choose to fast, here are 6 tips to eat well and stay hydrated during Ramadan:
- Plan ahead. Make sure you have the food available to you throughout Ramadan.
- At suhoor, eat foods that keep you fuller longer. Complex carbohydrates and high fibre foods, like oatmeal and sweet potatoes, will give you energy. Add protein foods, like meat and lentils, and healthy fats, like nuts and peanut butter, to keep you fuller even longer.
- For iftar, first choose foods that quickly turn to sugar to give you energy right away, like dates, figs, yogurt, and fruits; but try to keep iftar a balanced, healthy meal. Watch out for fried, sugary or fatty foods that may cause nausea, vomiting or heartburn.
- Drink about 10 cups of fluid every day from sunset to sunrise. Keep water with you to sip on throughout the night.
- Pace your meals between iftar and suhoor. It is important not to under-eat or over-eat. Be aware of when you are hungry and when you are full.
- Continue to take your prenatal vitamin daily during the non-fast hours.
Have more questions on eating healthy during Ramadan? Speak with a registered dietitian by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-877-797-0000 Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm.
If you wish to speak with a Public Health Nurse about pregnancy or parenting, contact us at Toronto Public Health on e-chat or call 416-338-7600.