Food lovers, food freaks, food fiends and all those that fall in between, Ramadan Mubarak! The holy month of Ramadan is here, showering all with its infinite blessings. With the world grappling proactively with the Covid-19 pandemic, the timing couldn’t have been better. For now is the time to dive deep within and nurture our soul connection with the divine. Whatever your particular set of practices may be regarding fasting, salah, zikr and charity, your body needs energy and fuel to sustain its momentum.
Sehri provides the perfect opportunity to prep yourself both physically and spiritually for the day ahead. So what flies and what nosedives?
(The information in this article as well as tips and suggestions are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult with your doctor or health practitioner before embarking on making any changes to your diet or eating regimen.)
Healthy Palate =Healthy Plate
So think we are going to dish out the usual advice? You know about loading your plate with proteins, opting for whole grains, chomping on good carbs and slurping hydrating liquids? You’re right. That’s because your body needs it!
Here is a quick checklist that will guide even the sleepiest of sleepyheads in the early morning hours:
While your emotions might fluctuate, it is a good idea to keep your blood sugar levels stable. No, don’t induce your body to go into a sugar shock. Balance is the name of the ball game people. Protein plus fibre is a win-win combo that releases energy slowly into your body:
- Poultry (eggs, chicken)
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Nuttier than thou nuts which in plain speak is basically nuts (eat only a handful, please).
Still with us? Some of the easiest options include:
Eggs: Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs which can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator, omelettes, poached eggs, veggie salad with eggs.
Chicken: A portion of chicken that is grilled or cooked in a healthy way. This does not mean a grease fest and options that are dripping with oil.
All can be accompanied by whole wheat bread and vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms etc.
Lentils: Lentil soup, daal
Nut butters on toast: The lazy person’s fix or for those short of time.
Yogurt: Yogurt with fruit
Energy Inducing Carbs
If your body alarms are going off at the mention of the dreaded C- word, don’t take off. Instead, take a look at the wholesome options we have included. You do need slow burning carbs or carbs that are digested slowly to keep your energy levels on the up and up during your fast.
Wholesome Whole grains: Think unprocessed, raw grains that have not been stripped of their husks. Good wholegrain cereal options include:
- Whole meal bread
- Un-rolled oats
- Wholegrain brown rice
Relax and try these quick options. Good ole porridge (oatmeal or dalia). Add your personal touch to it with a side of fruit or nuts. Oat smoothie with fruit, Home- made granola with a touch of honey (skip the sugar please), muesli, quinoa porridge with coconut milk and a smattering of dried fruit, barley porridge (jau ka dalia), roti.
Flavoursome Fruit and Veggies
Oozing with the goodness of anti- antioxidants, vitamins and minerals a portion of fruit and veggies should be on your plate. Eat them raw, dried (in small quantities), cooked or uncooked. They make an excellent choice as they are high in fibre and low in fat. Your options are endless. Apples and bananas are readily available at any local fruit shop. Combine a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables to receive optimum benefits from your fruit and veggie fest. Here, dates deserve an honourable mention, not only because of their nutritional value but in the context of their association with both the Quran and Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).
Combine fruits and vegetables in colourful salads, make delicate vegetable stews, soups or stir fries (cook in advance and reheat). Use them to prepare vegetable juices and fruit smoothies, sprinkle dried varieties of fruit on your cereal or eat them fresh with yogurt. Lightly steamed fruit and vegetables can be a good side option.
Nothing can top plain water as a top source of hydration during sehri. Other options include:
Fruit and vegetables that boast a high water content such as:
Fried items, cakes, cookies, junk food, refined flours and processed foods.
Happy fasting, my friends!