“..Eat and drink, but be not excessive..” Qur’an 7:31
Many people find it very difficult to remain hungry for long and the moment the Adhan is given for Maghrib they resort to binging at Iftar time. This scene is commonplace in communal Iftar dinners where there is an abundance of food.
The result of this no holds barred approach can be devastating on the human body. There is indigestion and heartburn, bloating and heaviness. After binging at maghrib people do not feel like getting up for their prayers. Not only do they binge at Iftar, after they have done maghrib prayers they have another session, this time with heavy dinner variety meals.
Due to such binges people feel bloated, heavy and sick. They feel sleepy when its time for Isha and either miss Isha prayers or perform them half asleep. People often complain that instead of losing weight they have actually put on weight despite a month of fasting. Little do they realize that the items that are standard on a Ramadan menu like Samosas, Pakoras, Jalebis, etc are all high carbohydrate and high calorie foods, whose carefree helpings add to our weight.
Thus there is a need to not only plan the type and quality of our meals at Ramadan but also their quantity and timing. The following tips should remedy the situation by tackling the aforementioned imbalances.
#1. Do Iftar with only dates and water. Break your fast just by a few dates and a drink of water and nothing else. The Quran informs us that when Mary was in pain and hardship Allah ordered her to consume dates and drink spring water. So consuming dates and drinking water after a period of hardship does carry Quranic wisdom. Eat the dates and drink the water during the time of azan. Once the Adhan is over, then get up from the food table, go and perform your Maghrib prayers.
#2. Only snack between Maghrib and Isha
After Maghrib prayers do not help yourself to your dinner yet but instead take a light snack meal. For example a Samosa or two with a cup of tea. If you eat your main dinner now, you will feel heavy and will not be able to concentrate on your prayers. So after Maghrib eat only a light snack and not a meal with full stomach. With a half empty stomach go for performing Isha prayers.
#3- Have a light dinner after Isha Once you have performed your Isha prayers, now you should have your dinner or main meal of the day. Eat your dinner but in a balanced manner paying attention to portion sizes. You will not feel the urge to binge because your hunger pangs due to fasting would have subsided due to the dates and snacks.
#4. Take Yogurt at Suhoor Before Fajr eat a light meal like fruits and yogurt at Suhoor time. Don’t forget the Yogurt as it will help control the thirst all day long during the fast.
#5. Eat Quranic foods. Avoid deep fried items like Jalebis, Pakoras, Biryani, Qorma. Also avoid refined carbohydrates like Naan bread, Pasta, White Rice, Sugar etc. Allah has specifically mentioned the following foods in the Quran, so if you are able to you should incorporate these in your Ramadan diet in raw and pure form.
- Olive oil
Ensure that the above Quranic foods are on your kitchen table throughout Ramadan.
#6. Count Calories. Ensure that all the four meals you consume do not cross your daily calorie limit. Eg if you are supposed to consume 2000 calories a day then plan your meals accordingly.
#7. Consume foods that are planned. Avoid eating eating haphazardly and without a meal plan. If you stick to a preplanned meals you will be able to have control over your body.
In-Sha-Allah if you observe these tips you will have a balanced fasting period with controllable thirst and hunger and remain healthy and strong during Ramadan.