With Ramadan approaching fast, Emirati and expat Muslims are worried about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan in Dubai. In a bit to resolve this issue, MyBayut has provided tips that can help you stay healthy during the holy month of Ramadan. So, whether you are on the lookout for healthy Iftar ideas or essential foods to try during suhoor and Iftar, we have you covered.
Tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan in Dubai
If you want to stay fit as a fiddle during Ramadan, here are certain tips that you need to follow. The most important of them is to eat a moderate meal at suhoor and iftar so you don’t feel bloated afterwards.
Don’t skip Suhoor
Suhoor is an important meal of the day so you shouldn’t skip it. It can help you replenish your energy throughout the day. Make sure you make good choices for the pre-dawn meal so that you can stay fuelled up on nutrients and energy until your next meal.
What foods should you eat during Suhoor?
It is important to take foods that help you keep your blood sugar steady and keep you feeling full for the greater part of the day. Take a look at some of the healthy food items you should take during suhoor:
- Complex carbohydrates such as wheat bread, lentils, rice, beans, oats as they are rich with energy and have the potential to release it throughout the day.
- High-fibre foods such as figs, potatoes, cereals, dates, prunes, apricots, bran, seeds, and vegetables. Fibre-rich foods are digested slowly so you feel full for a longer time.
- High-protein foods such as meat, yoghurt, cheese or eggs as they help you function properly during the whole day
- Healthy fats such as avocado, olives, coconut, walnuts, chia, flax seeds, salmon/fatty fish (only if it doesn’t cause you any stomach discomfort) and butter (from grass-fed cows) to prevent you from feeling tired during the day.
- Antioxidants such as blueberries/raspberries
- Certain whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain brown rice
It is very important to drink sufficient water to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan. Take a minimum of eight to 12 glasses of water from the period of iftar to the time of suhoor. Besides drinking, you can take water from other sources too such as vegetables and fruits. There are many fruits and vegetables that have the high water content and can help you stay hydrated during the day such as watermelons, strawberries, pineapples, oranges, raspberries and cucumbers.
Watermelons and strawberries can make you feel fresh and revitalized, thus maintaining your blood sugar levels. With 87% of water, pineapples can help you in digestion and detoxification. Also consisting of 87% of water, oranges can restore fluid levels in your body. Similarly, packed with fibre, raspberries can keep your digestion in check. You can either eat it or use it to make a refreshing raspberry smoothie and pep yourself up. With an extremely high water content, as much as 96%, cucumber is the best of them all. It not only keeps your body hydrated but also enriches it with Vitamin C.
Never break your fast with fried foods
Breaking your fast with greasy food items is a common practice, but will do you no good. Fried food items such as chicken wings, fried chicken, dumplings, fritters, spring rolls and samosas look great on the iftar table but lead to many digestive issues. For instance, if these food items are not digested properly, it can lead to bloating or diarrhoea. Thus, make sure you avoid eating them excessively and not just during Ramadan. This type of food is high in trans fats and high consumption is associated with an increased risk of several health problems such as diabetes, obesity and many chronic heart disorders.
Reduce the consumption of caffeinated drinks
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it may increase fluid loss and thirst during Ramadan. Avoid tea, coffee and carbonated drinks during the holy month as it may cause problems for you. There are healthy alternatives to these drinks that you can try during Ramadan, such as green tea, lemon water, wheatgrass juice, smoothie and ginseng tea.
With less caffeine than regular coffee, green tea not only makes you feel fresh but also gives you that much-needed boost. In the same vein, drinking lemon water can maintain the pH balance in your body. Wheatgrass juice is another beverage you can take during Ramadan as it is enriched with essential nutrients and minerals.
Have soups during Iftar
Soups are extremely beneficial for your body. Try to incorporate vegetables into the soups so they can become more flavourful as well as nutritious. You can add carrots, bell papers, eggplants, zucchini, spinach and pumpkins to your soups. And if you want them to become even healthier, you can use fresh herbs too.
What are the best soups to make during Ramadan?
You can try out paleo-friendly lemon lentils green, chicken tortilla or mushroom, walnut and chestnut soup.
What is the best soup for old people?
For those who are elderly but are adamant to observing a fast during Ramadan, tomato basil soup which consists of grilled cheese and tomatoes and asparagus soup made from chicken broth and asparagus would be perfect for them.
Are there any vegan soup options that one can try during Ramadan?
Roasted cauliflower and cream of broccoli soup are the two most common vegan soup options that you can check out while preparing Iftar meal in Dubai.
Cut down on sugary and processed foods
Avoid sugary and processed foods such as savoury snacks, sausages, cakes, biscuits, tinned vegetables or ready-made meals. They are low in nutrients so by consuming them at iftar, you will be doing a huge disservice to your body. Instead of sugary foods, consume fresh and dry fruits such as strawberries, bananas, cranberries and apricots. And if you are preparing a dessert, add unsweetened apple sauce instead of sugar. Same goes for processed foods. Replace potato chips with potatoes and eat fried tofu and tempeh instead of chicken nuggets at iftar.
There are some people who like to eat chicken sandwiches filled with a huge amount of mayonnaise during Ramadan. A healthy eating Ramadan tip is to substitute mayonnaise with hummus.
Consume fruits and vegetables every day
Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can during iftar and suhoor. During suhoor, eat vegetables and fruits that keep you hydrated, while at iftar, you can take any kinds of fruits and vegetables, regardless of their water content. You can even take them in different forms to add variety to your meals. For instance, you can either make a fruit salad or take fruit juice. You can also take mixed vegetable salad or enjoy leafy raw vegetables with baked chicken.
Most of the time it’s not dehydration or sleep deprivation that makes you feel drained but the fact that you haven’t rested long enough. Thus, it is better to take proper rest and maintain proper sleep schedules during Ramadan. We would recommend you take a quick nap before iftar so that when you get up, you feel fresh. Make sure you go to bed early, too, so you can wake up in time for suhoor.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan is to work out at a time when your energy levels are at their best, such as after iftar. Begin your exercise two to three hours after iftar so your body gets enough time to digest food properly. Try yoga, strength training and cardio at home. Don’t forget to have plenty of water after exercise.
Frequently Asked Questions about Building Healthy Habits during Ramadan
What are the healthy eating tips to follow during Ramadan?
The top healthy eating tips during Ramadan include:
- Have a balanced meal at suhoor that can last through the iftar
- Eat at least 7 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables
- Eat yoghurt during suhoor to keep yourself hydrated.
Are there any specific foods to try during Ramadan?
For Suhoor, try oatmeal with a low-fat smoothie made with any fruit or take lentil soup. For iftar, baked fish with brown rice, baked falafel served with pita bread, hummus and fattoush salad would be a good option. If you are fond of chicken, you can also try chicken with chickpeas and sauteed vegetables at Iftar.
Are there any healthy Ramadan snacks that you can enjoy?
You can make beetroot cutlets, prawn tempura, and corn and potato kebabs.
What are some ideas to make healthy smoothies for Ramadan?
You can make mango, banana, chocolate and vanilla smoothie if you want to start a day in a healthy way. This will be the perfect way to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan.
What foods you should avoid during Ramadan?
- Croissants, pastries
- Deep fried foods
- All sugar and sugary products, including sweet cereals.
- Very salty products that can make you thirsty
What is the ideal Ramadan healthy meal plan?
- Whole grain bread
- Fresh milk
- Dry fruits
- Dates with water
- Vegetable soup (lentil, barley or chicken soup will do)
- Appetizers enriched with vegetables
- Complex carbohydrates: bread, pasta, rice, harissa, thareed
Late night snack
- Foods that contain carbohydrates or proteins such as chickpeas
- High fibre foods
- Fruit juice
These are some tips for healthy eating during Ramadan. If you are looking for more iftar ideas you can try during this Ramadan, you can incorporate lean protein to your diet and increase the consumption of milk and dates. You can even get creative with the ingredients, make a date milkshake and enjoy it for your suhoor or iftar in Dubai.
Working hours in the UAE during Ramadan are usually shortened, to allow time for reflection during this Holy Month. You should also be aware of the prayer timings during Ramadan, which will tell you when to start and break your fast.
The beautiful and charitable spirit in Dubai is wonderful to experience, and the city’s welcoming nature and excellent facilities is why many people choose to move here and take apartments for rent in Dubai Marina or opt for well-appointed flats in JBR.