During Ramadan, regular eating habits change. If you are fasting, it is important to think about your health and what you individually need, while still observing tradition and sharing this special time with your loved ones.
For people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, it is especially important to make sure the meals you have are nutritious and balanced, to help prevent any future health problems.
When fasting, suhoor (pre-dawn meal) needs to give you enough energy to sustain you throughout the day. This could include complex carbohydrates and protein-rich foods such as:
- Multigrain and wholemeal breads
- All bran porridge and oats
- Basmati rice
- Lentils and other legumes
- Cooked lean meat, chicken or fish
- Nuts or seeds.
Traditionally, ifṭār (sundown meal) begins with a snack of 2 -3 dates, a cup of water and a bowl of soup. As well as being a special ritual, this will give you a boost of energy that will sustain you until your dinner.
Protein-rich meat, legumes, eggs, pasta, rice, and vegetables are all great foods for sharing with family and friends at dinner and will give you a good mix of carbohydrates and proteins that will fill you up. If you plan to serve these nutritious foods at dinner, it will mean the meal can be shared with people who have different health needs.
As well as making healthy food choices, it is important that you are getting enough sleep and exercise during Ramadan.
Try to sleep 7 – 9 hours each night. This will mean that you are well-rested and will have energy to last you through the day.
It’s best not to try to do any strenuous exercise or activity while fasting. However, light exercise is still important, as it keeps your body moving and active. Try to do 30 minutes of exercise each day if you can. This can be split up throughout the day and could include walking, stretching, some light gardening or playing with your children. It can be a good idea to get some light stretches in before and after reading the Quran and praying your salat.
In the lead-up to, and during Ramadan, talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. What works for you may not be what works for everyone, and you and your doctor know your medical history. These general tips can help you stay healthy during Ramadan, but if you have any specific needs or concerns then it is always best to get individual advice.
Your doctor and any other health professionals who you see regularly should be made aware if you are fasting, so make sure you remind them. You may choose not to be available to attend medical appointments during this time, and you may choose not to have certain medical procedures. Please bring this to the attention of your doctor or health professional. If you take regular medication, you will need to make sure you discuss with your doctor what meal to take it with. Talk with your doctor anything you need to change or reschedule during this time.