The Muslim Holy month of Ramadan (or ‘Ramzan’ as it is known in India) begins on August 1st this year. Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast during daylight hours. Those who are physically able to are required to fast each day of the entire month, from sunrise to sunset. Eid Al-Fitr, which is expected to be around the 30th of August, marks the end of Ramzan.
Here are some tips for eating healthy during Ramzan:
• During Suhur/Suhoor(pre-dawn meal): try to switch to complex carbohydrates like brown rice(parboiled rice/semi-polished rice), whole wheat breads/atta/pasta as these take time to be digested and hence will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.
• To avoid acidity: eat foods rich in fiber like vegetables, fruits, whole pulses/legumes. Avoid coffee, spicy and fried foods as these tend to increase the gastric secretion that can irritate the lining of the stomach.
• To avoid weight gain: avoid fried foods like namkeens(chivdas/mixtures/sev/ghatias), samosas, fried chicken, fried fish, sweets, desserts, pastries, chocolates, biryanis(on a daily basis), ghee, butter.
• To avoid dehydration: between Iftar and Suhur, drink loads of water, tender coconut water, lemonade, buttermilk/chaas and also eat fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water/moisture like watermelon, muskmelon, pineapple, cucumber, all gourds(like bottle gourd, turrai, ash gourd).
• Choose healthy methods of cooking: opt for grilled/baked non-veg instead of fried.
• Instead of high calorie desserts: opt for fresh fruits on a daily basis, these not only have less calories but will also provide you with the all-important fiber and water.
For those who are looking out to eat healthy during Ramzan, here is a sample Indian diet that is balanced and does not go overboard as far as calories are concerned:
Breaking the fast (at sunset): Dates + Water
Iftar(dinner - the meal which ends the day's fast):
Rice +Gajar Methi sabzi +Masoor Dal+ Tandoori chicken+ Cucumber and tomato salad+ Buttermilk/chaas
Bedtime: Skimmed milk
Baingan bhartha +Channa Masala +Grilled chicken kabab +Mixed veg raita
Fish curry +Cabbage and peas sabzi + Chickpea salad with peppers &tomatoes
Bedtime: Ragi malt
Suhoor (pre-dawn meal)
Veg Daliya Khichidi
Kadi + Stir fry mix veggies
+ Grilled chicken + Carrot and mint salad
Beetroot sabzi + Radish sambar + Mixed veg salad
Bhindi sabzi + Chicken curry+ Mint raita
Tender coconut water
Eating healthy through Ramzan will not only be easy on your stomach but will also make sure that you don’t put on unnecessary weight during the month. Keep the feasting and all the yummy biryanis and kheer’s for Eid-after all, everyone deserves to indulge in some feasting after a month of fasting!