1) It is recommended to eat the morning meal Suhoor to have energy for the long day ahead. Consider prepping meals the night before so that you are ready to eat them early morning. Overnight oats with milk, yogurt and nuts can be an excellent example otherwise you can even eat some leftovers.
2) When breaking our fast at Iftar, it is recommended to have warm liquids to reduce the shock to our system and traditionally many break their fast with a bowl of hot soup or warm water.
3) Dates are also traditional foods to break the fast as it has a lot of sugar, nutrients and electrolytes and when paired with milk or yogurt, the benefits and nutrients are even greater.
4) Balancing the main meal with whole grains, vegetables and enough protein can help us feel better and stay full longer. The recommendation is to have 1⁄4 of your plate starch (preferably whole grains), 1⁄4 of your plate protein like beef, chicken, eggs, fish or even beans and 1⁄2 your plate vegetables.
5) Since the timeframe to eat and drink is small during Ramadan, you can consider having a couple of snacks after your main meal and drink some water throughout as well. Snacks that pair carbohydrates or quick sugars with protein and some fat can help sustain your energy levels throughout. Examples are fruits + nuts, toast with avocado and egg, cottage cheese and peaches, etc.
6) To avoid discomfort, try eating more small frequent meals throughout the night and spacing out your meal instead of having 1 big meal to make up for the whole day which may leave you feeling bloated and in pain.
7) Meeting your needs in hydration is very important for your health and also helps you avoid getting constipated. Consider taking small frequent sips of liquids or water throughout the night as drinking too much at once or drinking a lot with your meals may also give rise to bloating, discomfort and even acid reflux.
8) To make Ramadan easier for you and to help reduce discomfort, it is optimal to avoid very spicy foods unless you are accustomed to it, to avoid very greasy foods, a lot of fried foods and to avoid a lot of sugary beverages which can all increase thirst making fasting harder and may lead to gastric discomfort. While it is normal to have these foods culturally, moderation is key to make it enjoyable while being mindful.
9) Remember to always discuss your goals of participating in Ramadan or fasting with a healthcare professional as it may be harmful to you which goes against the spiritual purpose of the holy month.
1 day menu example:
Suhoor (meal before dawn):
Breakfast taco: whole wheat tortilla or pita + red/black beans (canned or boiled), cumin + chopped tomato, onion, lettuce + 2 eggs (scrambled/omelette or hardboiled) on top.
Tea/coffee/milk or water
Iftar (meal after sunset):
Water/milk/yogurt + dates
Main meal: 1⁄4 plate rice/potatoes/couscous + roasted chicken (size of palm), beef or fish + 1⁄2 plate cooked vegetables or salad. Water to drink.
Evening tea + granola bar or homemade muffin
Snacks 2hr later (if hungry):
Vegetable + hummus dip or Greek yogurt dip or Figs, apricots, prunes+ nuts and seeds or Cottage cheese + sliced peaches or pears
Remember to drink as much water you can between sunset and dawn! Also pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues to help guide you.
For more info, make sure to contact Huda (Montreal-West, Lasalle, and virtual)