Clinical Dietician Diana Nakhle shares her tips to prepare for Ramadan…
Days are passing by so quickly! Just before you realise it, Ramadan will soon knock at your door; That month of the year where you do not only abstain from food and drinks for certain hours, but you fast for a purpose. It’s quite hard to deal with all the changes all at a sudden on the first day of Ramadan, especially the headaches, indigestions, hunger, and tiredness. This is why following a pre-fasting regimen and planning will make the whole transition a lot easier and will lessen the symptoms you might experience.
Reduce your food intake
Knowing that fasting is almost close, without realizing you start to eat more thinking you want some reserve for all the long fasting hours. However, over eating prior to Ramadan, will contribute to some weight gain, increase in appetite, and will make first days of fasting the hardest. Instead, start by reducing the quantity of one meal at a time.
Eat small healthy snacks in between your meals to keep you full and stimulate your metabolism. But during Ramadan you will not have the time to eat all your regular snacks. In the lead up to Ramadan, get used to eating 3 main meals with as less snacks as possible.
Eat Breakfast Early
As a preparation for Suhour, the pre-dawn meal before the fast begins, start having your breakfast earlier from now even if you are not hungry. The purpose is to get your body and stomach used to the new routine and when to expect food.
Cut Down on Caffeine
That headache you get if you didn’t drink your morning coffee or tea cup on time, will definitely feel worse while you are fasting if you haven’t prepared your body in advance. The key is to gradually decrease your intake of coffee and caffeinated beverages throughout the day to train your body to function caffeine free during daytime. First, reduce the intake to one coffee a day, then switch to decaffeinated coffee, and finish up by cutting your daily intake all together.
Regulate your Sleep
Start by putting your alarm a little earlier each morning, as a result you will have an early sleep at night.
Pre-Ramadan Fasting days
In order to gain control over your actions, stomach and desires, practicing fasting days will ease your fasting adaptation. In the run up to Ramadan, choose two days per week to fast, and start gradually increasing the days as we approach the Holy month.
This Time of the year requires a lifestyle change, both spiritually, mentally and physically. As you are still energetic and fully focused, plan ahead your meals to avoid last minute hassle and control your cravings so it won’t affect what your body actually needs. Change your lifestyle in advance and maybe permanently you will be stopping some bad health habits. Wishing everyone a Holy month full of faith and spirituality!
Diana Nakhle is a clinical dietician from Lebanon. Throughout her career, she has succeeded to provide nutrition counseling to thousands of people to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle.