After a long day of fasting, we understand if you prefer feasting during your iftar. But for those who want to follow a fitter path, there is a way of having your cake and eating it too. Opting for the healthier route will also ensure that you remain active and energised during and after Ramadan. To help you out with the same, experts let you in their nuggets of wisdom…
The best way of breaking the fast
Most likely, you will be breaking your fast with dates. Nutritionists back this up too saying it is one of the best ways to go. Pavitra N Raj, Dietician Executive at Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, Bangalore, advises, “Break the fast with water and then dates/figs as they are good sources of simple sugars, are fairly light and prepare the stomach for dinner.” For instant energy, good old lemon water is a great idea too.
Kejal Sheth, Nutritionist, Weight Management Expert & Founder of Nutrivity.in says, “Instead of sugar, have it with jaggery as the latter is a great source of energy and does not harm you like sugar.”
Healthy iftar options
Opting for healthier food options will only make you feel better and fitter at this point in time. It will also provide you with the fuel to go on while fasting. Incorporating seasonal fruits and nuts will certainly up your health quotient. There are some combinations that can be tried as well.
Firstly, you need to replenish your body after a long day of fasting. Says Pavitra, “For iftar, having foods high in carbohydrates can compensate for the reduced glucose levels experienced as a result of fasting. One of her picks is ganjee. Also called ‘ash’, it is made of grains, pulses, chicken pieces and some blended vegetable and consumed along with pudina chutney.
Speaking of wholesome foods, Kejal suggests, “Your evening meal should be a combination of carbohydrate with protein and a little bit of fibre.” She advises that as you have more time, you can start with a salad, chana chat, moong chaat or ragda chaat which will give you instant energy. This can be followed with mixed vegetable, chicken or egg paratha. In case you are pressed for time, you can relish one-dish meals like halim or chicken with tossed salads.
The form of cooking
If you do not want to let go of their favourite foods, you can opt for healthier cooking methods such as steaming, shallow frying and baking. Kejal advises, “Instead of having fried items go for baked vadas or boiled dumplings and lavash. You can also pick grilled roasted barbeque chicken over the fried ones. Kids can relish baked beans nachos.”
Your meal would not seem complete without ending on a sweet note. If you want to keep away from over-indulgent sugary treats, there are ways of satiating your sweet tooth. Kejal says, “A smart dessert option would be a yoghurt parfait which can be layered with hung curds, dry fruits, cocoa powder, fruits and seeds.”
What to avoid:
Pavirta lets you in on what is best avoided at this point in time…
- Do not drink too much water immediately after iftar as it can contribute to fatigue and stomach pain.
- Do not indulge in an unbalanced diet with too many servings of sherbets and sweets with added sugar as it is very unhealthy.
- Avoid heavy meals for iftar to prevent extra load on the digestive system. If planning a dinner, it should be consumed at least 2 hours after iftar and should be very light.
Other handy tips:
- One should drink water gradually and slowly while eating and not consume large amounts of it as it dilutes stomach’s acid content and causes bloating and indigestion.
- Chew your food properly, slowly and steadily.
To be at your fittest best during this time around too, enjoy a combination of wholesome nutrients, healthier cooking methods and correct way of eating.