Nutritionist-approved tips for a healthy Ramadan fasting

Nutritionist-approved tips for a healthy Ramadan fasting - Health - News

Maintaining a Balanced Diet During Ramadan: Insights from a Dietician

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a time when observant Muslims practice a strict fast from dawn till sunset. This spiritual practice calls for maintaining optimal health and energy levels to sustain the physical demands of prayer and other religious practices throughout the day. In this conversation, we explore how to eat healthily and stay hydrated during Ramadan with Rahaf Al Bochi, a dietician and recipe developer for the Mediterranean-style News Finder newsletter Eat, But Better.

Understanding Suhoor and Iftar

Ramadan begins with the pre-dawn meal, called suhoor. It is an essential meal that provides energy for the long hours of fasting ahead. Iftar, which marks the end of the daily fast, is an opportunity to rehydrate and refuel with a nutritious meal.

The Importance of Dates in Breaking the Fast

According to prophetic tradition, it is recommended to break the fast with dates and water. Dates are an excellent source of quick energy due to their natural sugars that help replenish glycogen stores in the liver. They also provide essential fiber and when paired with a protein source like nuts, can prevent a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.

Balancing Meals: Complex Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Healthy Fats

A balanced meal during Ramadan should consist of complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Use the healthy plate model as a visual guide to help balance your macronutrients, meet energy needs, and portion-size food groups.

Examples of Suhoor and Iftar Meals

For suhoor, focus on protein-rich foods that sustain energy throughout the day. Examples include eggs, avocados and toast, overnight oats, Greek yogurt bowls, protein waffles, and burritos stuffed with beans and eggs. For iftar, incorporate those nutritional principles while enjoying traditional foods.

Foods to Avoid or Limit During Ramadan

While it is essential to enjoy the cultural foods, it’s wise to be mindful of certain food choices. Limit intake of sweetened beverages and fried foods as they can negatively impact overall health. Opt for balanced meals with nutrient-dense options to support energy levels throughout the day.

Staying Hydrated During Ramadan

Adequate hydration is crucial during non-fasting hours. Carry a water bottle for nightly prayers and consume fluids like teas, soups, and fruits with high water content such as watermelon. Electrolytes added to water can help your body absorb fluids more effectively.

Coffee Intake during Ramadan

The decision to cut back on caffeine intake during Ramadan is a personal one. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, gradual reduction can help mitigate potential headaches or negative effects on energy levels.


To enjoy a productive and healthy Ramadan, focus on optimizing your nutrition by balancing meals using the healthy plate model, staying hydrated with adequate fluid intake, and making mindful food choices. Remember to savor the cultural foods while maintaining a balanced diet that supports your energy needs throughout this sacred month.

Jocelyn Solis-Moreira is a health and science journalist based in New York.