During Ramadhan you need to put extra effort into including foods from all five food groups to ensure variety and a well-balanced diet. These foods include:
• breads, cereals and other grain products
• fruit and vegetables
• meat, fish and poultry
• milk, cheese and yoghurt
• fats and sugars (these contain very little nutrients and are high in calories and therefore their intake should be limited).
The most commonly consumed foods by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were milk, dates, lamb/mutton and oats. Healthy foods mentioned in the Holy Quran are fruit and vegetables, such as olives, onions, cucumber, figs, dates, grapes as well as pulses such as lentils.
Complex carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting and are found in grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice. Look out for foods labelled Low G.I.
Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes and figs.
Foods to avoid are the heavily processed and fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour or fatty food like cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. It may also be worth avoiding the caffeine content in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola (caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination).
What Foods Should I Eat at Suhoor and Iftar?
The pre-dawn meal should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods like complex carbohydrates. Drink fluids to keep you hydrated during the day and assist with digestion.
The meal that breaks the day’s fast could include dates, following the Sunnah. Dates will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy. Fruit juices will also have a similar, revitalising effect.
As a bottom line, properly plan food intake during Ramadhan would determine your 'freshness' during the day time when completing your daily routine.