We hope that you’ve been benefiting from all that this month has offered, and that you have taken steps to make this your best Ramadan yet. If you have been working hard to stay healthy and fit, it would be a pity to throw it all away on a binge for Eid. While you should celebrate this day and your accomplishments, don’t do so by falling back on your commitment. Rather, think of ways to reinforce it. Developing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you deprive yourself for a limited time and then binge on “off days.” It’s really a matter of establishing lifetime habits that you can carry throughout the year.
Ramadan has taught the body many good habits: resting our often overburdened digestive systems, recognizing and honoring our bodies’ cues of hunger and satisfaction, and reducing our excessive intake of unhealthy foods. Eid should be no exception when it comes to being mindful about your eating habits, as tempting as all of the desserts may be. Below we give you some tips on how you can have fun, enjoy the foods you love, and celebrate this momentous occasion, while maintaining your progress towards a healthy, productive, and rewarding year.
Don’t Binge All Day Long
After a month-long period of 16-18 hr fasts, our bodies have adjusted to a certain quantity and time frame of food intake. To overload it with excessive amounts suddenly can be shocking and very tiring to our systems, which can lead to indigestion, bloating, and energy lags throughout the day. It’s best to pace yourself and leave a few hours (2-3hrs) between meals to allow time for our bodies to digest.
Breakfast: Make it Last
Instead of having processed carbs like muffins or pastries, which will cause a sharp rise in blood sugar and will inevitably lead to fatigue and sugar cravings during the day, opt for foods that will keep you energized and feeling full for longer, as we also explained in our “Eat Well This Ramadan” article. For example, have a fresh homemade smoothie, scrambled eggs, or a veggie omelette. Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamins ,and minerals, which are increased if you add veggies. Keeping your first meal packed with fiber, protein, healthy carbs, and good fats means less cravings, and less of a need for snacking throughout the day. You can still have your sweets, but you won’t feel the need to overindulge if you have set the stage with a healthy breakfast.
Start Your Meals Off Right
As for your main meals, don’t just dive into your favorite foods. Start with a healthy appetizer, like a vegetable soup or salad. Such foods offer the greatest amount of and variety in essential nutrients and fiber. This will also prevent overeating and possible indigestion. Eat your meals slowly and thoroughly so your body has a chance to recognize the signal that it is getting full, which takes approximately 20 minutes. That way, you won’t need a second and third helping. If you eat too quickly, your body will be full before you even realize it, and by the time you do, you’ll be stuffed and sorry!
Ramadan may lead to mild dehydration for many, so try to remember to drink water throughout the day. Adding a slice of lemon is refreshing and adds a little flavor to encourage you to drink more, while also having a detoxing effect on the liver. Try dropping a slice into your cup or water bottle! Ginger, mint, or rosewater are other flavorful, healthy options as well.
Make Sure to Get Some Movement In
Physical activity helps with digestion, burns some of your calories, and releases feel-good hormones into your bloodstream. Taking a walk outdoors, enjoying a bike ride, or playing a game of soccer with your loved ones will add to Eid fun, while benefiting your health as well. Taking your celebration outdoors adds a much-needed feeling of community, even if you need to maintain social distancing. Some mosques are organizing socially-distanced Eid parades and Eid tables from which kids can pick up goodie bags to make the holiday more enjoyable for them this year.
Have Some Fruit to Keep your Sweet Tooth Happy!
We are not saying you should not have any sweets at all, but rather, we’re giving you a variety of ways in which you can prevent making sweets and unhealthy foods the main source of your energy for the day. To curb your desire for large amounts of all-sorts of desserts, try having some fruit. Fruits will provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber while also satisfying your sweet tooth, score! Try tasty low-sugar fruits like berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.), or honeydew, cantaloupe, and kiwi. They’ll definitely keep your want of sugary foods in check. So, by all means, enjoy some desserts, but just make sure that the bulk of your calories come from healthier alternatives first.
Opt for Water, Coffee, or Tea Over Sugary Juices and Soft Drinks
Resist the urge to drink cup after cup of coffee right out of the gate post Ramadan, especially if you tend to add sugar and cream. Caffeine adds to extra water loss when we should be trying to rehydrate. Try to limit your caffeinated drink intake, and choose hydrating beverages instead. There are also many caffeine-free options available, such as decaf coffee or tea, or chickory, and herbal teas. Soothing teas that also help in digestion include peppermint, ginger, or lemon.
We hope that you’ve benefited from our advice for a healthy Ramadan and Eid, and that these recommendations will help you maintain positive lifestyle habits well beyond this blessed month and holiday.
May Allah accept your fast and ibadah, and give you the motivation to continue working hard on your iman, and your physical, mental, and spiritual health for as long as possible! We will keep you in our prayers, as we hope you will keep us in yours.
This article was written collaboratively with holistic nutritionist, Hoda Ali, C.H.N. and founder of Sound Nutrition.