Ramadan is just around the corner and a vast majority of the Muslim community will be observing fasts during this holy month. Ramadan in Malaysia, however, is known for its night markets and restaurants serving the most amazing meals for breaking fast.
While it might be alright to indulge in some cheat-meals at the end of the day, it is necessary to start the fast right and ensure that the morning sahur is packed with the enough nutrients to keep you going through the day. Take a look at some superfoods you need to to include in your grocery list for a smooth sailing and healthy early morning meal.
This superfood needs no explanation. Packed with high quality protein, vitamin B2 and essential minerals such as zinc, iron and copper; eggs are perfect to kickstart the fasting season. Including eggs in your diet plan will ensure that you feel full and active during the day.
Whether you like your eggs scrambled, baked, hard boiled or the classic sunny side-up, the versatility of cooking eggs means you can bring something new to the table each day.
According to Islamic traditions, the fast generally ends by biting on a succulent date. But including these energy boosters in your sahur will keep those hunger pangs at bay. Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose which in turn will prevent you from feeling lethargic and keep blood sugar levels in check.
Chop up some dates to use in your muffins, use them as a pancake filling drizzled with honey or just pick a few as a snack, either way these sweet delights are a treat to snack on for your early morning meals.
Fast-tracking its way to the world’s most popular health foods, quinoa is a must-have in your kitchen-shelf this Ramadan. This pseudo-cereal is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few edible seeds that is packed with nine essential amino acids.
Not only is quinoa perfect for the health conscious, it a tasty seed that works well in a myriad bunch of combinations. You can have them sweet with a dash of coconut milk dusted with cinnamon or throw in some colourful roasted veggies for a delicious, quick and filling salad.
Skip smothering your toast with butter this sahur and replace it instead with slices of avocado or an avocado inspired spread such as guacamole. This nutritious fruit is a good source of fibre, folate as well as fats (remember you need the calories too!) which will leave you feeling full and satiated throughout the day.
The creamy texture of avocados implies that you won’t be missing the store bought spreads! Well maybe a little, but then health comes first right?
Many people often complain of dull skin and breakouts during Ramadan which occur due to an obvious lack of moisture and hydration. While drinking sufficient water during the non-fasting hours is key to keeping hydrated, including olives in your diet will also work well. Olives are a known source of anti-oxidants and vitamin E that protect the skin from UV and act as a natural moisturizer.
You can either consume them whole, or add olives to your salads and omelettes for a balanced whole meal.
There are very few people who can resist the delicious goodness of a pink and fleshy slice of salmon. Apart from being a meal time favourite, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, which is an essential fatty acid vital for healthy brain functioning. Besides, salmon is also packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals which makes it an ideal suhoor superfood.
While a slice of salmon marinated with spices may result in an acid reflux during the day, you can incorporate slices of smoked salmon in your sandwhiches or use it on your toast with some poached eggs for a healthy and tasty meal.
While it is advisable to avoid whole milk and fatty dairy products during Ramadan, you can get your intake of calcium and nutrients by including some Greek yogurt in your meal plans. As opposed to staple yogurt, Greek yogurt is a strained version that has less sugars, more carbs and higher calcium than dairy products. Not to forget the added advantage of being packed with pro-biotics.
You can add some berries, seeds and nuts to your serving of Greek yogurt or use it to make some healthy fruit smoothies.
Although these tiny seeds have been around for ages, it is only recently that its’ health benefits have come to light. Often termed as the most powerful plant foods, flax seeds are the vegan’s best substitute for omega-3 fatty acids and good sources of fiber.
You can sprinkle flax seeds over your salads, use them as a topping for yogurt or get creative in the kitchen and include them in the batter for waffles, pancakes and cookies as well.
Substituting your roasted nut butter products with healthier alternatives such as almond butter will help in keeping your waist size in check and reducing the intakes of unnecessary fats. Almond butter is an ideal source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium as well as anti-oxidants which are great for speedy muscle recover.
You can use almond butter as a spread on your toast, or use it to make fresh smoothies with berries, bananas and nuts creating the perfect morning tonic drink.
Give your sahur a sweet ending by indulging in some delectable dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contain flavanols that are known to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. However, these nutrients do come with added calories and sugar, so its best consumed in moderation.
For a quick and easy snack, combine dark chocolate with roasted nuts to make some ready to go chocolate snack bars or mix it together with some almond butter for a yummy toast spread.
Are you dreading the post Ramadan weight gain? Check out what Dr Andrea Lim shares her tips about coming out of a fast without the extra weight gain.