Iftar is a time of family and feast. What’s better than a table filled with delicious morsels surrounded by your loved ones? Imagine a table filled with rich mutton curries, hearty kebabs, delectable haleem, cooling sherbets, mouthwatering biryanis and irresistible desserts. You must be salivating thinking about these delights. But, consuming such rich foods day in, day out is not a good idea for your health.
Don’t worry! We have a solution: food swaps!
It’s okay to indulge in sweet or savoury treats every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a daily affair. It’s important to continue eating healthy even during Ramadan.
We’re not telling you that you should bid adieu to your favourite treats. You can still have them. The trick is to make them healthier. So, here are a few healthy swaps for your Ramadan treats.
Swap 1: Change your cooking style!
Pakoras, samosas, cutlets: do these items make your mouth water? They might be delicious but are filled with unhealthy fats. What’s the alternative? Bake them! Baked foods are healthier in comparison to fried foods. They also have fewer calories. For example, a fried samosa has 230 calories1 while a baked one has 120 calories2.
Shallow frying, grilling, and baking are great alternatives to deep frying or cooking with large quantities of oil. In fact, you can even opt to air fry your food!
Swap 2: Say ‘Goodbye!’ to stock cubes!
It’s unlikely to see an Iftar table without soup. It’s a staple in many households and a go-to food for breaking one’s fast. However, many people use stock cubes to make their broth. This is a no-no! Why? Stock cubes are high in sodium3 and may even contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can cause many health complications.
Instead, make your own stock, or broth, from scratch. Boil vegetables in water with spices for a delicious veggie stock. Use chicken meat and bones for a yummy chicken broth. Go for homemade stocks! They’re tasty and healthy.
Swap 3: Chuck juices and soft drinks!
It’s common to serve Rooh Afza, fruit juices, sherbets, etc., during Iftar. However, such drinks tend to contain a lot of sugar, which can make you gain weight and cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Instead, choose to have water. Since you fast for long hours (8+ hours), your body tends to lose a lot of water. Therefore, it’s important to consume enough water once you’ve broken your fast to avoid dehydration. You can also choose to have lemon water (without sugar) or water infused with fruit to feel refreshed. Ensure you spread out your water intake evenly between Suhoor and Iftar. Stay hydrated, stay healthy!
Swap 4: Choose a nutrient-rich Suhoor!
Suhoor is an important part of Ramadan. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. During Suhoor, it’s important to choose foods that are neither too sweet nor too salty. While sugary foods might make you feel hungry within a few hours of fasting, salty foods trigger thirst. So, nix those!
Instead, choose to have whole-grain cereals with fresh milk, eggs, yoghurt, fruit,nuts and seeds. Consume fruits that have high water content like watermelon. These will help you stay hydrated while you fast. Citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, pineapple, etc. are fibrous and filling.
So, there you have it! Try these 4 simple swaps and make this Ramadan healthier.
- [Internet]. 2020 [cited 17 February 2020]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/533186/nutrients
- Baked Samosas Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. Nutritiondata.self.com. 2020 [cited 17 February 2020]. Available from: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/recipe/2983143/2
- [Internet]. 2020 [cited 17 February 2020]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/506572/nutrients