As Muslims around the world begin marking Ramadan with millions of people starting to fast today, there are a few key eating habits to consider.
The long hours of fasting cause changes in people's lifestyles and often alter nutritional intake. To have a healthy and fulfilling Ramadan, there are few dietary habits you should be aware of.
One of the most important meals of Ramadan is sahur – the pre-dawn meal. Foods that we choose for sahur are very important as they should keep us full and hydrated all day long. Though you may not feel hungry, only drinking water for sahur raises the normal hunger threshold of about 16 hours to an average of 20 hours and causes blood sugar levels to drop more quickly, which in turn leads to feeling more fatigued throughout the day. On the contrary, if the sahur meal is too heavy, your body's metabolic activity decreases, raising the possibility of weight gain. To maintain a healthy balance, a moderate sahur is a must every day before starting your fast.
So, what should we eat? Here are some tips from Herbalife Nutrition Consultant Nutritionist Berrin Yiğit.
Don't forget to drink water
You can think of sahur as an extended morning breakfast. In this meal, you should choose foods that are light but will keep you full for a long time. Nutritionists suggest drinking at least two cups of water during sahur to stay hydrated. But, it is more important to spread 2 liters of water between iftar and sahur and drink water slowly to ensure that we get the right amount of hydration we need for the day.
Avoid main courses
You should choose to have a balanced breakfast instead of eating main courses during sahur. If you consume meat dishes, rice and pasta to stay full, you will be hungry and thirsty all day long. If you feel like you will not be able to wake up for sahur you can have 1 cup of kefir, two dry dates and three whole walnuts, which are intestine-friendly and protein sources, before bedtime.
Dill, parsley and mint to freshen up
Greens such as dill, parsley and peppermint can be consumed abundantly in sahur, as they both refresh the breath and purify the body. You can add these greens to your salads, yogurt or kefir as a fine chop. These flavorful herbs are also high in antioxidants and can boost immunity while combatting disease-causing free radicals.
Eat foods with protein
Eggs, which are the best source of protein after breast milk, help us stay full for a long time. You can boil eggs, fry them with the least amount of oil or poach them. You also can consume some cheese, 1 cup of yogurt, 1 cup of kefir, some ayran with plenty of mint or 1 cup of lactose-free milk. Those products will give you enough protein for feeling full the next day.
Don't skip on the veg
Purslane, arugula, cucumbers, cress, cabbage, purple curly, carrots, parsley and all other vegetables are among the foods that hydrate the body. You can make salads with greens for sahur. Mushrooms are one of the alternatives that keep you full for a long time. You can add them to omelets or vegetable dishes.
Nuts, herbal teas and soups
You can consume one or two slices of whole-grain brown bread, yogurt, flax seeds, 2-3 tablespoons of oats and one handful of walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Having some herbal teas with sliced lemon or black tea would also be good for your body. Those who do not want to consume breakfast can make soups with lentils, chickpeas, yogurt, oats, chicken with vegetables or quinoa.