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A Nourished Ramadan

Written by Halah Alareeki for Nest Integrative Wellness

The blessed days of Ramadan are upon us. Ramadan is the month when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, refraining from food and water (excluding exempted persons). This is the month of spending more time in reflection, community, and spiritual growth.

We all want to take advantage of Ramadan and reap as much benefit as we can. This can include planning for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (breaking of fast) meals ahead of time while ensuring you have enough energy to go by your days and nights.

I have prepared some valuable tips to help you have an energetic and nourished Ramadan this year Insha’Allah.

As you prepare for Ramadan you may benefit from:

  1. Reducing your caffeine intake. To manage potential headaches, try incorporating more decaf hot beverages and increasing hydration with fluids
  2. Preparing a meal plan, shopping list, and rotating meal ideas. This would help reduce the stress of meal planning and daily grocery shopping. It would also help reduce food waste and overeating
  3. Cooking and batch-freezing some food items or stocking on canned foods. This would help manage time, and energy levels as well as ensure nourishing foods are included

Starting with a premade balanced Suhoor will set up your day with higher energy levels and an optimal fast. Below are some suggestions:

  1. Choose foods high in protein for longer satiety such as Greek yogurt, eggs, beans, lentils, fish, chicken, and whey protein
  2. Choose whole-grain carbohydrates for slow-digesting energy such as whole-grain breads, oats, freekeh, bulgur, hulled barley, and quinoa
  3. Add healthy fats to help with satiety and slowing of gastric emptying such as avocados, olive oil, olives, nut butter, nuts, and seeds like flax seeds, chia, and hemp seeds.
  4. Add fibre, vitamins, minerals, and water through fruits or vegetables such as watermelon, lettuce, cucumber, and strawberries
  5. Ensure you incorporate 2-3 cups of water during your Suhoor

Suhoor Examples

  1. Porridge or baked oatmeal with nut butter and flax seeds, and 2-3 cups water
  2. Fava beans and olive oil with 2 boiled eggs, whole grain bread, berries, and 2-3 cups of water
  3. 2 cups pasta salad with vegetables, chickpeas/tuna, a ½ cup Greek yogurt-based dressing, and 2 cups of lemon water

As for the main meal, Iftar, we should aim to replenish our energy and nutrients without leaving us lethargic. Here are some healthy Iftar tips:

  1. Slow down and savour your meal. Not only is it a Sunnah but it also helps us reflect on our fast by eating mindfully thereby, enjoying the meal and preventing overeating
  2. Fill ¼ of your plate with protein to increase satiety and to slow down blood sugar rise. Consider plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, tofu, and chickpeas
  3. Fill ½ of your plate or add 2 cups of non-starchy vegetables
  4. Limit fried foods or consider baking or air frying them
  5. Limit sugary beverages such as pop or juices. Instead aim for at least 2 cups of water at Iftar and try fruit/herb infused water for flavour. Aim to include at least 8-10 cups of fluids between iftar and suhoor
  6. Include simple but regular physical activity to help increase energy, reduce stress, help prevent constipation, improve cognitive function, and optimize your fitness levels.

Tip: if you struggle with including 8-10 cups of plain water per day for hydration and bowel regularity in Ramadan, consider including lemon water, sparkling water, smoothies, coconut water, soups, or hydrating foods like watermelon, pineapple, berries, romaine lettuce, or cucumber.

Iftar meal example:

1-3 small dates, 1-2 cups water or 1 cup milk


lentil soup, 1-2 samosas, ¼ plate chicken, ¼ plate Freekeh, ½ plate Fattoush salad, and ¼ cup plain yogurt with cucumber

Post-iftar snack:

1 cup fruit, ¼ cup of mixed nuts, small piece of dessert, mint or ginger tea (for digestion)

Fun fact: dates are high in potassium and a great source of , magnesium, and B vitamins. While milk is high in calcium and water. Having both at iftar helps in replenishing hydration and electrolytes upon breaking the fast and acts as a Sunnah practice. Add additional protein to dates like tahini, nuts, or nut butter to stabilize blood sugars.

Lastly, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or managing a condition such as diabetes yet choose to fast, it is always best to review your specific nutritional needs with a dietitian to ensure your optimal health and Ramadan experience.

I hope everyone observing this month has a wonderful Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Halah Alareeki, RD