‘I’m a dietician – here are the best ways to stay healthy and hydrated during Ramadan’

By Staff


A GP-based dietician has explained how you can stay healthy during the Holy month of Ramadan, giving his top tips for meals to eat in the morning, and the evening

With fasting underway for over a week now, many Muslims will be feeling the effects of not eating or drinking for long periods of time – but a dietician has shared his ways to stay healthy during the Holy month.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and it marks a period of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a focus on devotion. Ramadan started on March 11 this year and will end on April 9, so participants have been fasting for almost two weeks, unable to eat or drink, including water, during daylight hours. The fast can be broken once the sun has gone down, and this makes Muslims feel closer to God.

But, of course, it’s a stark contrast to the usual lifestyle of being able to eat meals throughout the day and pause for regular snacks, so GP-based dietician Tom Price has shared how people can stay healthy while fasting.

Tom recommended “staying hydrated” in the hours you can, and eating “well-balanced meals mindfully” when breaking the fast. He also said that “managing sleep” will help you feel more energised throughout the day.

He said: “Enjoy a mixed meal for both Suhoor (meal before fasting) and Iftar (meal after fasting) and split your fluid intake evenly across the two. A mixed meal means including protein (e.g. dal, low-fat dairy, lean meat or fish), high-fibre starchy carbohydrates (e.g. wholegrain flour for roti’s or brown rice), and plenty of non-starchy vegetables and salads.”

Tom also suggested an example Iftar meal could be “three dates followed by small lentil soup, cous cous with vegetables and yoghurt, skinless chicken curry and a small portion of dessert”, suggesting that you may want to split up the meal into “two smaller meals” to “manage hunger and help you hydrate”.

He also said people should enjoy the “social” aspect of Ramadan, but should “eat mindfully” before and after the fast, which means “eating eating slowly and finishing eating once you feel around an 8/10 full”. Tom suggested: “Prioritise things like herbs, spices, citrus and garlic for flavourful food rather than adding salt and sauces with hidden salt which might increase thirst.”

When it comes to hydrating, he recommended “water, soups, sugar-free cordial and low-fat milk rather than juice and soft drinks to avoid rapid spikes in blood sugar which may leave you feeling more hungry later on” when you’re unable to eat or drink.

He did warn, however: “If you’re living with a chronic health condition and taking medication it is important to contact your GP practice for guidance on if it is safe to fast and if medications need changing.”

He continued: “It is best for patients to contact their GP practice if they live with a chronic health condition and take medication. There are a range of different health professionals in your local practice, including sometimes dieticians who can offer the right care when you need it alongside a GP. Some people may be exempt from fasting based on a number of factors like how well-managed their condition is, the type of medications they take, and their overall health. If this is the case, fasting later in the year or offering charity are both solutions.

“Those living with diabetes should be mindful of the amount and type of carbohydrate foods they are having, ensuring they limit sugary foods and opt for high-fibre, low GI sources like whole grains and legumes while also staying hydrated.”

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