Ramadan is a time for charity, gratitude, self-reflection and connecting with family and loved ones. Iftars and social gatherings are very much the norm during the holy month, therefore, it can be tricky to keep track of your nutrient intake and whether you’re actually eating healthily once your fast ends.
In order to have a healthy fasting season, here are a few Ramadan fitness tips to consider to help keep your energy up during the holy month.
Moderate Exercise: Our energy levels often dip due to the absence of movement and activity during our day. A few minutes of stretching, a short walk or some moderate indoor exercise can help pump up your energy levels and improve blood circulation during your fast.
Hit the ground: Just before Iftar, try to step out and engage in recreational exercise – whether it’s walking your pet or running around a playground with the kids, unstructured exercise can help boost energy, release endorphins and burn calories.
Siestas and catnaps: A short 15-minute nap can reboot your system by reducing lethargy, thus improving alertness. Make sure that you don’t doze off for too long for fear of throwing your sleep cycle off track.
Stay hydrated: During the hours that you are not fasting, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water. Sip water between meals and through the night instead of gulping down several glasses in one go to stay better hydrated.
Pre-plan your meals: Include plenty of water, fruits and vegetables in both Suhoor and Iftar meals to maintain hydration levels and energy during Ramadan. Nutritious meal choices include the right balance of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Now that we’re on the subject of meals, here are some healthy Ramadan recipes for Suhoor and Iftar to keep you fit and your energy fuelled during and after fasting.
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, Medjool dates are a great source of energy. Add in bananas to maintain optimum levels of potassium in your body. Bananas are a great choice of fruit to help maintain digestive health and improve memory in addition to uplifting your mood. Have this smoothie for breakfast or post-workout – it’s a healthy and tasty choice to make this Ramadan.
The recipe: Blend almond milk, pistachios, walnuts, bananas, dates, cinnamon and vanilla extract with crushed ice and serve cold.
A great source of plant-based protein, chickpeas increase satiety and provide essential vitamins and minerals. By adding in red peppers and mango, the salad becomes nutritious, tasty and helps keep your energy levels up. This recipe is a great appetizer to keep you cool through the warmer hours of your fast.
The recipe: Combine chickpeas, red bell peppers, mangos, olive oil, salt, black pepper and cumin in a bowl. Squeeze lime into the salad, garnish with cilantro and serve cold.
A complete meal power-packed with vitamins, protein, minerals and essential fibre, baked chicken fajita is a super nutritious dish. It can be prepared ahead of time and by cooking it in an oven, you are allowing yourself to take some down time for about 30 minutes. Skip starchy bread as an accompaniment to keep your health in check.
The recipe: Marinate chicken strips and your choice of vegetables with chilli powder, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, oregano and basil and place in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil, mix well and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Top with lime juice and fresh cilantro and serve hot with salsas, guacamole and beans.
Dessert doesn’t have to be creamy or overly sweet – the right choices of natural sugars for dessert can leave your sweet tooth craving satisfied. Packed with antioxidants, strawberries contain several vitamins, minerals and nutrients that contribute to overall wellness and health. Cap off your Iftar with a delicious fro-yo treat.
The recipe: Combine frozen strawberries, honey, unflavoured Greek yogurt and lemon juice in a processor until creamy for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender and transfer the strawberry mix into an airtight container to freeze for 6 hours or overnight. This recipe stays fresh for up to a month.
In addition to these healthy Ramadan dishes, the effectiveness of fitness and exercise during Ramadan cannot be diminished. The right diet alongside proper attention to fitness and movement can help keep your energy levels up, leading to a happier, more fulfilled holy month of Ramadan.
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