Don't get weighed down

How to avoid falling into a pattern of overeating before and after fasting

By Christopher Kinsley

Published: Thu 29 Apr 2021, 6:20 AM

Last updated: Thu 27 May 2021, 8:21 AM

Anyone looking to develop healthy eating habits should include plenty of greens into their diets, such as spinach, rocca leaves, or kale. Vegetables in general are great during fasting, but greens boost your energy quickly as they are packed with nutrients. It is best to avoid anything that can slow you down as you want to keep your body flowing with energy.

Eating heavy meals weigh you down, and because your body is not getting any food for a while, you want to make sure what you are giving it will suffice. Overall, sticking to a cleaner diet with high volume vegetables and balanced meals will make you feel satisfied while fasting. It is very easy to overeat during this month, so sticking to high volume, low-calorie options, will fill you up.

The healthiest way to break your fast is with dates. They slowly release sugar into your system, so it helps your blood glucose levels return to normal. They are also very nutritious. Keeping in mind the season, it is also recommended to stay hydrated with coconut water which replenished electrolytes lost during sweating or working out.

Foods high in protein will keep you full for much longer, so, having eggs, or any meal high in protein at Suhoor is a great way to ensure your energy is up. Lowering your white carb intake - white bread or regular pasta - during later hours in the night will minimise the habit of overeating since these foods tend to keep you full for shorter time periods. Dried fruits, figs, and vitamin C are also great when fasting.

Some meal ideas I recommend would be a farro salad or lentil salad which are easy to make and even available at grocery stores. They are delicious and filled with wonderful, wholesome flavours. Add good fats like avocados and nuts, proteins, and any healthy carbs to satisfy your cravings.

Whenever you crave something sweet, it is always better to turn to an alternative. If you want to sweeten drinks such as tea or coffee, go for cane sugar, honey or date syrup. These small changes will add up in the end, and you will feel amazing as you give your body cleaner options.

In general, take it slow. Changing your diet drastically is not the best for your body, it is a shock to it, especially if every change made is major. Start slowly by increasing your water intake after breaking your fast. Aim to drink two to three litres of water a day, and that alone with make you feel very refreshed. Nothing happens overnight, getting into a healthier lifestyle takes time. Your body needs to adjust, and extreme diets lead to a yo-yo effect on your physical and mental health. The Holy Month of Ramadan is a great time to reflect and take it slow. It is important to have 'guilty pleasures', but you should not feel guilty for having them, as it's all about the right balance.

- Christopher Kinsley is the Head Chef at Flow Dubai.

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