Intro: This Ramazan make sure that whatever you eat is healthy and contains the required nutrition. You! takes a look at what to eat and what not to eat...
During the month of Ramazan housewives and working mothers all worry about the appropriate diet, as while fasting one cannot eat or drink anything for a specific period of time. This is why it is very important for you and your family to have a healthy, nutritious sehri and iftari to keep the body revitalized. This week You! gives its readers several tips to stay energized even while fasting.
As breakfast is the most important meal of the day, sehri is also the most important meal of the day as whatever you eat during this time stays with you the whole day until iftar time. Make sure that you do not consume too much oily food as even though it might be filling instantaneously, but it is very low on nutrients. Wheat should always be incorporated at sehri, you can have it in whichever form you like, but make sure that it is not heaped in oil like parathas. Try to have whole wheat roti at sehri as it is not only filling but will also keep you healthy. Eating eggs is a must as they are rich in protein. They have the essential 9 amino acids, natural occurring Vitamin D and are the natural source of chlorine which helps regulate the nervous system, the brain and the cardiovascular system.
Another must have item on the dining table is yogurt. Contrary to popular belief yogurt does not increase cholesterol but keeps it in check. A bowl of yogurt everyday keeps the body healthy and vitalised all the while improving intestinal and ulcer health. It also quenches thirst, thus making it the ideal form of dairy good to have. If you are not a fan of yogurt, then you should definitely have milk so that you don't feel low or clumsy during the day.
You can also have bananas at sehri as they offer an excellent source of potassium and vitamin B6. They are enriched with fiber and carbohydrates which will keep you fresh and will sustain your energy for a longer time. Bananas have lower water content compared to most fruits and they contain more calories and sugar which is bound to keep you stimulated.
In addition make sure that you consume lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
The very word 'iftat' brings in mind a variety of mouthwatering dishes. Most people begin to hog on oily foods such as pakoras or samosas to fill up their stomachs. This might satisfy the hunger but is unhealthy in many ways. Dr Nusrat, a dietician says, "In our country, breaking the fast with pakoras or samosas is a tradition but these oily dishes are your body's worst enemy as they make you fat, increase your cholesterol level and clog the arteries."
By the time we reach iftar it becomes difficult to control the thirst and the body starts to demand carbohydrates so it can restore lost energy. However, one should always start out by eating a date followed by a glass of fresh juice or flavoured milk. Stay away from artificially coloured drinks please; they will just make you fat.
Breaking your fast with dates ensures that you get that boost of energy which your body requires. We may not know this but dates strengthen the muscles of the body and doctors often suggest having two to three dates a day to pregnant women to ensure that their muscles are strong. Dates are also rich in fiber and can be easily digested; moreover, they are also enriched with minerals and vitamins. Calcium can also be attained by eating dates. All those mothers who breast feed should definitely have a couple of dates everyday so that the baby and the mother both get a good dose of calcium everyday.
Next in the iftar menu is fruit chaat which is a mixture of all the fruits in season, cut out in small pieces. Different fruits have diverse qualities and through the fruit chaat we are able to acquire all the vitamins and minerals. So including this dish in the iftar menu is a must! Choolay or chicken peas are also nutritious as they are non-fattening and enriched with vitamin A. Pakistan's specialty dahi balay - made from yogurt and basin - are also good for health. They rejuvenate the body and are filling as well as tasty.
"I always tell my patients to fill their stomachs by having fruit chaat or dates", advises Dr Nusrat. "Fresh juices are also beneficial as they revitalize the body. I prefer freshly squeezed juices as opposed to packed ones as the ones available in the market are loaded on sugar. If you cannot make fresh juice, then opt for a brand which is pure in content and not ballasted with artificial sugar," he suggests.
After iftar tips
A lot of people just sleep or rest right after iftar and that is definitely not the right way to go. After offering your prayers; you should walk for half an hour so that whatever you have eaten does not accumulate in the form of fat in your body.