Tips: How To Stay Healthy While Fasting (Ramadan Version)
If you’re like me and the almost 2 billion Muslims around the world, you may be fasting right now. It’s hard to find ways to remain healthy during this time since we really only eat twice a day – once before sunrise (sehri) and just after sunset (iftar). Here are some tips for staying as healthy as you can while fasting (these can apply for Lent/Passover as well).
1) Drink as much water as you possibly can. When you wake up about an hour or so before sunrise, make sure to drink as much water as you can along with the food you’ll have. This will ensure you don’t get as dehydrated during the day. If you can’t drink that much water, you can also try having something like yogurt, which is a good way to quench your thirst.
2) In terms of what to eat for sehri and iftar, for sehri try to eat something like oatmeal, protein shakes or eggs to keep you full for most of the day. For iftar, I know it may seem like you can go all out and eat as much food as you can because you haven’t ate the whole day but that shouldn’t be your routine. Most Muslims open their fast with dates because (aside from religion reasons) they are a great source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium, carbohydrates and give you an instant energy boost. It’s also a good idea to have some sort of soup or salad as an appetizer. As for mains, try to stick with meals that contain protein, carbs and fat such as chicken breasts, stew, salmon fillet etc.
3) Avoid fatty foods such as spring rolls and samosas, when opening your fast because they have a lot of calories but not many benefits. You don’t want to be filling up your stomach with these foods when you haven’t had anything to eat for an entire day. After all, your stomach has shrunk throughout the day and will get full quickly if you put in oily foods right away.
4) Avoid sugary drinks such as coke, sprite, energy drinks, coffee, lattes, and instead focus on drinking water (#1) and teas, especially green tea to help with digestion after iftar is good as well.
5) If you’re going to workout, you’ll have to change your workout time to before iftar or after. It’s a good idea to do a quick workout such as a light jog or run maybe 30 minutes before iftar so when you get home feeling thirsty, you can immediately open your fast and have water right after. If you can’t workout at all while fasting, you can eat, wait 30 minutes to an hour, then hit the gym for a light workout. When working out, try to stick to compound workouts such as push-ups because you likely won’t have enough energy to be doing exercises such as dead lifts.
I’m not a dietician or nutritionist but I find that following these tips keeps me feeling pretty good during the day while I’m fasting and works for me. And they may work for you too! Give them a try and let me know how it works out. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on social media @nazafifa if you have any other questions about fasting.