a week of healthy ideas for iftar and suhoor

Besides being a spiritual time, Ramadan, for many, is also the month for restoring health.

For those who want to make sure they are fueling their bodies with wholesome, nutritious foods during Ramadan, following a meal plan can not only help keep your body healthy, but also on your mind.

Dubai-based nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary thinks the holy month is the perfect time to readjust your health and develop new habits.

“Ramadan is not only a time rich in religious benefits, but also a time rich in spiritual and health benefits,” she says. “During the month of Ramadan, the separation between man and food for 30 days breaks the habit of leaning on food when you are in an emotional state. Come to think of it, we trust an internal source to take care of our physical hunger and thirst needs.

“Because meals are limited to one or two during the fast, there is less time to eat and think about food, which then leads to a clearer mind, giving us more time to organize our thoughts and become more in tune with ourselves and our needs and wants.

Chowdhary says following an anti-inflammatory plan “will also help the gut microbiome significantly.”

“There’s no denying that our gut and our brain are connected,” she says. “Eating well will help our gut to heal and therefore also help our mind to relax, so that we can focus on the essence of Ramadan.”

Here is a five-day anti-inflammatory meal plan:

Day one

Suhour (3h45)

Two slices of sourdough bread with mashed avocado and two to three whole eggs, plus some mixed nuts.

Breaking the fast (6:45 p.m.-7 p.m.)

Coconut, plus coconut water and mango chaat.

Iftar meal (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

One cup of rice, two cups of greens, plus any meat curry.

Small snack (10 p.m.)

Golden latte: A cup of almond milk with turmeric and cinnamon powder, with two to three dates mixed together.

day two

Suhour (3h45)

A cup of rice with chicken curry and a small glass of banana milkshake made with banana, almond milk, dates, cinnamon and almond butter mixed together.

Breaking the fast (6:45 p.m.-7 p.m.)

A handful of mixed nuts, three dates, and lemon water (avoid sugar, substitute with manuka honey).

Iftar meal (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Two whole eggs, vegetables and two slices of sourdough bread.

Small snack (10 p.m.)

Vegetable soup, small portion of chicken or a whole egg.

day three

Suhour (3h45)

Chicken and potato tikkis with fattoush or tabbouleh.

Breaking the fast (6:45 p.m.-7 p.m.)

Almond yogurt, chopped fruit and mixed seeds (one teaspoon of sesame and one teaspoon of chia seeds).

Iftar meal (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

One to two jowar rotis (made with sorghum flour), any meat of your choice and any vegetables.

Small snack (10 p.m.)

Bone broth and a handful of mixed nuts.

day four

Suhour (3h45)

Two whole eggs with a bowl of gluten-free granola and almond milk.

Breaking the fast (6:45 p.m.-7 p.m.)

Mango smoothie with almond milk, a scoop of unflavored vegan protein powder, and dates or manuka honey.

Iftar meal (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Sourdough bread sandwich with chicken and vegetable soup.

Small snack (10 p.m.)

Stir-fried shiitake mushrooms with roasted sesame seeds and mashed potatoes.

Fifth day

Suhour (3h45)

Chocolate protein smoothie made with banana, almond milk, a scoop of vegan protein, unsweetened cocoa powder, dates and cinnamon.

Breaking the fast (6:45 p.m.-7 p.m.)

Chia seed pudding made with crushed walnuts, almond milk, chia seeds, manuka honey and a ripe banana.

Iftar meal (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Chicken Biryani with Almond Yogurt Raita.

Small snack (10 p.m.)

Bone broth, a whole egg and a bowl of blueberries.

Chowdhary’s pro tips

– Drinking as much water as possible between iftar and sahour reduces the risk of dehydration during fasting.

– Break your fast with electrolytes and healthy fats as this regulates cellular fluid balance and will help you avoid overeating at the big iftar meal.

– A healthy meal to balance blood sugar is the key to healthy fasting during Ramadan. Try to make sure that most of your meals contain all major macros.

– Conscious eating and listening to your body for signals of fullness will put less stress on your body’s digestive system and give you more energy. Eating smaller amounts after breaking the fast is a better strategy for your gut than eating very large meals all at once.

– Reduce drinks containing caffeine as they have a diuretic effect and promote fluid loss.

– Avoid consuming processed foods as they cause sluggishness and fatigue. Excessive consumption of inflammatory foods can also lead to indigestion, poor nutrient absorption, and lead to unhealthy weight gain.

– Practice mindful activities – be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Negative thoughts will make you feel drained. Focusing on positive thoughts will not only make the whole process easier, but will also improve your physical and mental health and well-being.

– To celebrate! It is the most joyful and religious month of the year. Eat meals with others, show goodwill, and be patient with your body and with others.

Updated: April 13, 2022, 12:17 p.m.

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