During the holy month of Ramadan, it is important for Muslims to eat sensibly at suhoor and iftar in order to maintain health and avoid fatigue and debilitating hunger pangs.
At suhoor, choose foods that are packed with complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, oats, beans and chickpeas, which are digested slowly and provide a sustained supply of energy that helps to keep fatigue at bay for a long time. Sugary treats like pastries and cakes should be avoided because they cause blood sugar levels to spike and then fall rapidly, leading to feelings of listlessness and acute hunger pangs. Fruit such as dates, grapes, apples and bananas release energy more steadily and also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Protein-rich foods like yogurt, milk, eggs and nuts will help to prevent hunger pangs, and also provide the nutrition the body needs to carry out essential maintenance of muscles and other tissues.
At iftar, avoid eating too quickly and do not force yourself to eat huge portions. A main meal should consist of protein in the form of meat, fish, beans or lentils, with carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes or pasta, as well as vegetables, followed by fruit for dessert.
Foods mentioned in the Qur’an are very good choices: lentils contain a lot of protein and fiber, which is good for digestion, and olives contain healthy essential fats. Figs make a great dessert and contain lots of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and essential B vitamins.