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Getting the proper nutrition during Ramadan

Muhammad Bham | mbham@radioislam.co.za
30 March 2023| 11:15 CAT
3 min read

Photo Credit: Times of India

Traditionally Muslims around the world break their fast with dates, but in Lebanon, dried apricot is also added to the diet when breaking the fast.

Soup is another meal added to the diet for iftaar as it replenishes the body of fluids and warms the stomach. Lentils, vegetables, chicken, and vermicelli soups are usually served during Ramadan, with lentil soups being the most common in Lebanon.

Jallab, a Lebanese drink made with date molasses and rose water topped with nuts, is also a favourite for iftaar with many fresh vegetable salads. A must-have for many Lebanese Palestinian homes is the Lebanese Fattoush, a well-seasoned fried pita bread with seasonal vegetables tossed in a zesty Mediterranean dressing with sumac.

Figs, raisins, and prunes are commonly eaten after iftaar for fibre and other nutrients.

Eliminating certain food groups by trying to minimise food intake for your child during Ramadan may cause deficiencies, and with winter approaching and given the current emphasis on physical and immune health, eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast is vital, as is getting 10 to 15 minutes of unfiltered sunlight daily and eating fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and proteins.

Dietician Imaan Mukaddam said a person should try to cut down on sweets, sugars, and treats, especially during Ramadan but at other times of the year, for adults and children. Instead, the focus should be on getting enough fruits and vegetables. A variety of colourful fruits for children makes it more exciting and will ensure they get many of the micro-nutrients that the body needs.

In South Africa, with the 13-hour-long fasts, the body becomes tired, and people tend to get tired and start getting crabby, which happens when the sugar levels drop. Thus, the sunnah of breaking one’s fast with dates, and water is wise, as it helps hydrate and replenishes the body quickly.

Treats and sweets on the table at iftaar time usually see children skip the dates and water, giving them a sugar high and then a quick drop, leaving them lethargic. It also curtails their appetite for more wholesome foods, much needed to nourish their growing bodies.

If this pattern continues, by the fourth or fifth day, one becomes fatigued, with teens displaying moodiness, they feel down, and the exhaustion keeps them from praying the Taraweeh salaah.

The best time to have the sweets and treats is after Taraweeh salaah.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with host Annisa Essack here.

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