With the holy month of Ramadan coming to an end, a month of fasting also concludes. After overcoming the difficult arc of maintaining the discipline to fast, the temptation to binge eat is strong and you certainly deserve an achievement treat. However, hastily going back to pre-Ramadan eating habits may send the body into a shock as it is not used to digesting heavy food any more. It is important to ease the body into ingesting normal portions of food over regular intervals. Here are some tips to have a healthy Eid:
Eat Real Food, Not Processed and Junk Foods
Sure, processed foods can seem convenient, but they’re usually filled with unhealthy things like high-fructose corn syrup, MSG (to enhance flavor), lots of sodium and typically all the wrong heart-clogging oils. If you’re in a hurry, there are healthy and halal-convenient options that are particularly good for breaking the fast, so get to know the halal food businesses that make and serve them.
Avoid “White” Foods
White foods (i.e., white bread, white rice, white sugar, etc.) can fall into some of the above categories, but they’re worth the mention for what not to eat. White breads are made from white flour, which is processed and stripped of the nutrition that should be in bread and the same goes for rice and even the type of sugar you use. Instead, choose breads from whole grains and organic brown rice (even basmati).
Know the Foods That Hydrate Your Body
When fasting, we’re slowly being dehydrated over the course of the day, so once we break our fast and during the non-fasting period we need to have foods that put water into our body, not deplete it further. It can be difficult to eat a lot of watermelon or squash, even though they’re super-hydrating foods, but you can make juices out of the fruits and soups out of the vegetables to give your body the additional water it needs.
Avoid Fried & Sugary Foods
In an effort not to spoil any cultural traditions in Ramadan foods, I’m not advocating that everyone forgo their favorite samosas at Iftar. I love them, too! But, I do know that it’s possible to bake them instead of fry, so consider that an option. Fried foods are heavy in oil and that makes them harder to digest, especially when they’re the first foods to be eaten after a long fast.
Go Easy on the Carbs
While I love a good bowl of pasta, a hefty portion of potatoes or rice with meat, these are all carbohydrates to minimize during Ramadan. Carbohydrates are converted into sugars and can eventually take their toll on your body way after you’ve finished eating. When you do have your carbohydrates, be sure to pair them with protein-rich foods like beans, meat or eggs to balance the meal.
May everyone who observes the blessed month of Ramadan have a peaceful, healthy and happy time with family, friends and community. Reduce wishes you all Eid Mubarak!