Happy Ramadhan (Ramadhan Mubarak). This year, Ramadhan will start around the 9th July, meaning that we will have sixteen hours of fasting between dawn and dusk every day. So here are five tips from the Health Trainer team to help you prepare and to ensure you have a healthy diet during Ramadhan.
Don’t change your diet
It’s easy to think your diet has to change while you’re fasting, but this is not the case. Try and stick to your normal diet as much as you can. After all, you’re not starving yourself during Ramadhan – you will still be eating every day.
Get some energy in the morning
Eating before dawn in the summer might be a bit more difficult, but it’s important to make sure you take in lots of energy and fluids in the morning, to prepare you for the day ahead. Try and eat foods that will release energy slowly, like cereals and fruit.
Try and avoid a big feast in the evening
When you’re not eating all day, it’s easy to feel like you need to make up for it at dusk with a big meal. But you don’t have to eat loads of fried food, or sugary treats, to break your fast. Try and make sure your meals contain foods from all the major food groups.
Ramadhan is often a time for family to come together – and of course that means you want to eat some good food – but try not to go over the top.
You don’t have to fast if you’re taking medication, pregnant, or sick
Islamic law states that people should not put their health at risk by fasting. So if you’re ill, don’t fast. You can compensate by fasting at a later date.
If you’re on long term medication, you could talk to your GP to find out whether you can change the way you take it. You may be able to take it outside of fasting times.
If you have diabetes and you control it with your diet or tablets, speak to your GP to check that it’s OK to fast. However if you control your diabetes with insulin, you should not fast.
Fasting during pregnancy, or whilst breastfeeding, is not recommended at all, and Islamic law gives you clear permission not to.
Don’t assume you’ll lose weight
People often think that they’ll lose weight during Ramadhan, but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you break your fast with a big, oily, fatty meal every day, your body will find it difficult.
If you do want to use the time to try and lose weight, make sure you eat a normal sized, balanced meal in the evening. Don’t forget your 5 a day!
For more advice on a healthy Ramadhan, visit the NHS Choices Healthy Ramadan pages.
We hope you have a blessed Ramadhan.