Ramadan is just around the corner! It’s a time where Muslims all over the world go through a month of self-reflection by engaging in acts of faith like fasting from dawn to dusk, practice compassion and kindness towards others, and strive to be better through developing new healthy habits.
Fasting is the essential core of Ramadan. Depending on where you are in the world and what season it happens to be, fasting from dawn to dusk can last anywhere from 11 to 23 hours! In Singapore, it’s usually a standard 13 hours. Many of you might be familiar with intermittent fasting where you have an eating window during the day and can only drink water or zero-calorie liquids outside the eating window. Fasting in Ramadan is different as no drinking is allowed as well, and it occurs during the day, when we do most of our daily activities.
It can sometimes be challenging to make sure that we keep up with our nutrition during Ramadan, with early morning and evening meal times, close to our bed time.
Here are some tips to help with energy levels during Ramadan for a fulfilling month:
1. Have well-balanced mealsHaving well-balanced meals means including all food groups - gluten free whole grains, high quality protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Focus on eating high quality and nourishing foods during both pre-dawn and evening meals. This will provide the body with energy and nutrients it needs, and also helps with the feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Here are foods to include:
Gluten free whole grains/pseudocereals - brown rice, quinoa, GF oats, GF bread
High quality protein - eggs, tempeh, lean poultry, lean meat
Healthy fats - nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil
Fibre - fruits and vegetables
Plan ahead and stock up on nutritious foods
Waking up at 4am for a whole month can be challenging for some so let’s be real - there are some days where you might oversleep and find that you only have 10 minutes to eat before dawn. It’s important to prepare ahead and keep nutritious foods on standby to make sure you still get something substantial in your body. Some ideas could be to cut up fresh fruit and store in the fridge, or even jars of overnight oats made with our TWK superfood muesli. They’re made with gluten free whole grains like oats and brown rice, dried fruits, and premium seeds like quinoa puffs and pumpkin seeds.
Overnight Oat Recipe
½ tsp seeds
Honey or coconut sugar to taste
- Mix the muesli, milk, sweetener, and seeds together in a large bowl.
- Portion out into smaller jars or containers and top with fresh fruit.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
A well-balanced breakfast that needs no prep time in the morning! You can even double up the recipe if you have more mouths to feed.
Energy Pearls Recipe
If you’re rushing home from work and have to break your fast outside, it’s good to have a snack handy to help you restore your energy levels fast. Try making your own Energy Pearls for an easy grab and go snack to keep in your bag in case you need to break your fast en route! You can make them with dried fruits like dates or apricots, which provide carbohydrates and fibre, and a blend of nuts and seeds which provide protein and healthy fats - making them nutritionally complete. You get a quick energy boost that won’t spike your blood sugar, and can help tide you through until you can get a meal.
Energy Pearls Recipe
1g Superfood powder
- Weigh out all the ingredients.
- Prepare the dates by taking out the seeds and soaking them in boiling water.
- Combine all the dry ingredients together.
- Using a food processor or blender, blend the dates into a smooth paste.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well by hand or with a machine.
- Shape the mixture into balls, squares, or trays.
- Roll them into coconut and lightly cover.
- Set in the fridge for 2 hours and serve on its own as a healthy delicious treat.
- Can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer.
3. Drink adequate amounts of water
In hot and humid Singapore, the risk of dehydration is higher. While it’s tempting to have sugar-sweetened drinks to quench your thirst during Ramadan, they are mostly empty calories and have no nutritional value. This won’t make you feel full and might cause you to overeat, and even feel more thirsty due to the added sugar. Try to hydrate mostly with water during the non-fasting window. Aim for at least 2 glasses of water during the pre-dawn meal, and a glass every hour after breaking the fast in the evening to ensure the body stays hydrated.
4. Practice mindful eating
After 13 hours of not eating or drinking, the urge to “replenish the loss” will be high. Without being mindful of our fullness cues, there might be chances of overeating to the point where you feel uncomfortably full. Mindful eating helps us be aware of what, how, and why we eat - a good habit to develop especially during a month of self-reflection like Ramadan.
Here are some ways to practice mindful eating:
- Recognise the importance of eating well and the benefits it brings
- Eat with the intention of nourishing the body physically and mentally
- Start with small portions upon breaking the fast and avoid eating to the point where you feel uncomfortably full
We hope that these tips will help you in your journey through a healthy Ramadan - and even beyond! Wishing those who observe this month a blessed Ramadan!