You WANT a healthy diet, you KNOW how important it is for your health and well-being… BUT with so much information coming from every direction, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, right?!
So, to simplify the messaging and cut through the noise, the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has put together a series of helpful articles on its healthy living portal which include advice on top five foods for runners , superfoods fact or fiction , staying hydrated and more, covering everything from food groups to hydration, and applying those very principles to the Holy Month.
The top 3 tips to maintaining a healthy diet and working out during the Holy Month of Ramadan
3. Mix up your diet, the different food groups are your friends!
A varied diet is essential! Opting for nutritious food means a happier and healthier lifestyle with improved heart health, enhanced energy levels, and boosted moods. During exercise, your body uses up more energy so it’s important to eat well to support an active lifestyle.
A healthy diet should contain plenty of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, and protein. The SFA lists beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, oats, berries, and leafy greens as important staples for a healthy and active lifestyle. Affordable and nutritious foods to add to your weekly meal plan include bananas, oatmeal, peanut butter, broccoli, and a variety of beans.
These health-boosting foods provide energy, improve muscle function, and supply nutrients which can make a big difference to your performance and overall well-being. Certain spices, like turmeric, have also been used by many cultures for centuries to support the immune system as it is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. You can add it to curries and stews or start your day off with a zingy turmeric and ginger tea.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
The SFA also stresses the importance of staying hydrated as 60% of the body is composed of water. Water energizes the muscles, helps with recovery after workouts, aids digestion, increases brainpower, and keeps skin looking healthy!
1. Simply apply the same principles during Ramadan
When thinking about healthy eating it’s important to apply the same principles during Ramadan. And the most important areas to pay attention to? Drinking enough water and being mindful about what you eat during Iftar and Suhoor.
Break fast at Iftar with easily digestible foods such as soup, water, and freshly-squeezed fruit juices to hydrate your body. For the main course, consider vegetable dishes as healthful and filling options. Try incorporating bulgar wheat, it’s rich in carbohydrates and fibres, and will keep you feeling full has digestive system benefits.
For Suhoor a light, filling breakfast with sides of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers is recommended; try a tasty homemade granola with almond or oat milk and top it with fresh berries and banana. Dried fruits, walnuts, and almonds are also great food supplements, that also make you feel full for long hours throughout the day. But it’s not just the variety of food you eat, but also the portions that play a decisive role. Think smaller portions and eat wisely.
If you exercise regularly, you should continue to meet your daily energy, protein, and water needs during the times you are not fasting. Additionally, lower your exercise duration by 30% during Ramadan and drink two to three glasses of water every hour from Iftar to Suhoor.
Ramadan is a sacred time of year and fasting is an important part of this Holy Month, but there are plenty of options available to fast and stay healthy and nourished. Healthy eating should be an enjoyable and social experience, it is about eating a wide variety of foods and making sure you get the right balance. Remember, conscientious nutrition acts as a preventative health measure!