Ramadan poses a challenge for athletes who need to plan training schedules during their fasting hours. Studies reveal that an athlete should eat three large meals each day, but this is likely to be modified during a fasting month. Interestingly, athletes can maintain their ability to perform different types of exercise during Ramadan by ensuring proper hydration and nutrition in the evening meal. Here are some tips for sports and exercise during Ramadan:
>> Divide meals evenly into Suhoor, Iftar and non-fasting periods; and drink two to three litres of water. Do not drink too much caffeinated drink as you may lose water and salt.
>> Make sure you are getting enough complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain choices for starchy foods (whole grain cereals, whole grain bread, and brown rice or basmati rice, whole grain chapatti). Add high-fibre foods that slowly release energy. These include grains, seeds, barley, oat, millet, beans, legumes.
>> Eat protein-rich foods to ensure you get enough protein throughout the day, including: meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, or vegetarian alternatives.
>> Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
• Avocado, spinach and oat flour pancakes with poached eggs, smoked salmon or turkey slices
Dates followed by:
• Coconut kefir, mango, ginger, and cardamom smoothie
• Barley, lentil and carrot soup with cumin and turmeric, topped with pumpkin seeds
• Stewed roasted lamb sweet potatoes, butternut squash and green beans.
For strength training, follow the dinner with a smoothie shot (using matcha green tea powder, creatine or amino acid powder, and coconut water).
Post training/pre-bedtime (not too close to sleeping hours)
• Hot water with ginger and fennel seeds (to prevent bloating )
– Javeria Qureshi, clinical dietitian, Thumbay Hospital Fujairah.
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