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As we head into the second week of the blessed month of Ramadan, it is important to remind ourselves to remain healthy and active along with adopting good eating habits despite the fast.

Ramadan is the most blessed time of year in Pakistan when we express love, devotion, and good deeds. In order to fully submerge in the spiritual significance of Ramadan, it is also important to remain healthy to maintain our energy while worshiping.

What to eat and what to avoid during a heatwave

The first thing in order to have healthy Ramadan is to prioritise one's nutrition.

Stay hydrated

It is very easy to become dehydrated when fasting from water so ensure that you drink water before consuming food at Iftar time. Drinking water before eating makes it less likely to overeat at Iftar.

It is also recommended to drink as much water as possible between Iftar and Suhoor.

Avoid fried foods

Additionally, avoid eating too many fried foods like samosas and pakoras as these foods can cause further dehydration. Regular consumption of fried foods can also lead to unwanted weight gain and issues with cholesterol.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that provides satiety signals to your body therefore, it is recommended to have a lean source of protein at Iftar and Suhoor.

Fat is another essential macro nutrition that helps keep you fuller longer. I recommend consuming healthy fats as a snack between Iftar and Suhoor instead of consuming processed foods like chilli chips or biscuits.

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Healthy snacks that include good fats include mixed nuts or olives or pumpkin/sunflower seeds.

It is recommended to choose carbohydrates wisely during Ramadan.

Complex carbs like bajra, brown rice, quinoa, etc. are recommended instead of white bread or pasta as whole grains do not spike blood sugar as much as processed carbs.

Stable blood sugar is the key to keeping hunger at bay during Ramadan.

Try to consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to avoid developing any nutrition deficiencies during Ramadan. I recommend that half your plate should be vegetables at Iftar.

Bhindi masala, baingan bharta, sarson ka saag, and palak sabzi all make incredible, flavorful, healthy side dishes at Iftar. The fiber from vegetables also helps with satiation and gut health.

Get ample sleep

Not only is it important to eat healthy but it is also important to get enough sleep.

Sleep is one of the most overlooked commodities when it comes to our health. Getting enough sleep during Ramadan helps balance hunger hormones and helps to avoid hunger pangs.

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Remain active

Regular movement during Ramadan is essential to support muscle mass and bone health.

Fasting may decrease muscle strength but exercising may help stop muscle deterioration. I recommend taking a long walk before Iftar.

A slow walk does not stimulate hunger as much as running or cycling would and therefore, it is the perfect activity. Additionally, walking before Iftar is a great way to keep one’s mind busy to avoid the sensation of hunger. Walking before Iftar is also a great time to practice Tasbih.

There is much to be thankful for during Ramadan, therefore it is important to treat one's body with respect by providing it proper nutrients through your food.

The writer is a certified functional nutritionist

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