Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the month of Ramadan is not as easy as you think. What with the family gatherings and huge feasts with the oiliest foods, it is almost impossible to maintain healthy eating schedules. But, with a little awareness and careful planning you can turn it into one of the healthiest months in the year.

The holy month has two meals, Iftar and Suhoor; Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast when the sun sets while Suhoor is the meal that takes place right before the sun rise. People who are fasting have to put in mind that both Iftar and Suhoor should be considered as any other light meal and not an opportunity to devour a feast.

The key to enjoying your Iftar is to have a balanced meal with all the essential nutrients, a perfect example for a balanced meal would be to start off with three dates followed by a light vegetable soup, then a bowl of mixed greens salad, and finally a grilled chicken breast or fish fillet along with Basmati rice.

It is important that you keep in mind not to stuff yourself with all the delicious Arabic sweets afterwards. Wait a couple of hours before indulging in a small serving of dessert.

Moving along to Suhoor, the meal has to be balanced and healthy as well. What makes it different though is the type of foods that have to be consumed. It has to be filling so it can provide your body with energy throughout the next day. The Imperial College London Diabetes Centre state that what needs to be eaten for Suhoor is "a healthy, moderate meal, filling and filled with slow energy releasing carbohydrates which sustain body through-out the day. Slow-energy releasing or low-glycaemic index foods include grains and seeds, like barley, wheat, oats, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, and basmati rice."

A perfect Suhoor meal would be a slice of whole grain bread along with foul (beans), a bowl of mixed salad, and a piece of fruit of your choice.

Drinking plenty of water is a must as well, it is important to keep your body hydrated especially since the time in which you can drink water during Ramadan is limited.

Have a healthy and delicious Ramadan!

– Fajer Al Farsi

Image: Gary Tamin

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