–Greata Sherene Robinson, nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chennai
India has a wide range of cultures and festivals that involve both fasting and feasting. Navaratri among Hindus and Ramadan among Muslims are some of the most common fasts which are being observed. Navaratri comes twice a year during the seasonal change period, wherein in this phase the human body is vulnerable and susceptible to fall sick. Thus, on this 9-day long festival people avoid nonvegetarian sources, onion, garlic, grains, alcohol and smoking. But the type of fast and duration differs from individual to individual. Ramadan on the other hand is fasting before sunrise till sunset. Even water is not permitted during the fasting time period.
Fasting has numerous benefits such as it boosts immunity, brings LDL cholesterol levels down, makes gut bacteria better, improves strength and vitality, improves hormones as well. The pre-fast meal (Suhoor) should be a combination of complex carbohydrates of low GI, with proteins and a moderate amount of fat and fiber. Offer a variety of hydrating fruits and vegetables before the fast. This helps in the slow release of calories and keeps them hydrated and satiated throughout the day. The post fast food is broken with a piece of date as its natural sugar and rich in fibers and other vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, etc. The meal for iftar (post-fast ) should also be balanced and to keep your nutrient quotient high.
A reminder that overindulging can cause weight gain. And also, as salt stimulates thirst, avoid salty foods. Opt for more air-fried and baked foods rather than deep-fried. Make sure the food isn’t very oily or greasy, as you might feel tired for the next day.
EXPECTING MOTHERS – TIPS TO FOLLOW
- Expecting mothers are not allowed to fast as it can affect the growth of the baby.
DIABETIC INDIVIDUALS – TIPS TO FOLLOW
- People with Type I DM are not allowed to fast. In the case of Type II, they can fast with physicians’ and dietitian’s opinions provided they have adequate medicines and if the sugars are in good control.
- There can be a risk of dehydration and hypoglycemia as it’s summer when days are longer and warmer. So, breaking the fast if in case of hypoglycemia is advised to prevent further complications.
- Optimum physical activity to be done after main meals.
SAMPLE DIABETIC DIET PLAN
|Type of meal||Options|
|Before sunrise (Suhoor)||Chapathi + curd + vegetables
Rice + vegetables + non vegetarian sources
Porridge with milk and fruits
Scrambled eggs + vegetable/fruit salad
|After sunset (Iftaar)||Date / DRIED FRUIT (1 NO)
Chicken and noodles
Broken rice porridge + Salad
Idly/ dosa/ chapathi/ rice with protein + vegetables
Whole wheat pasta + chicken + veggies
Fruits (high fiber, low GI one) and nuts
Ramadan fasting is followed from the age of 7 years. Ensuring that the food is freshly prepared and making sure to incorporate major calories does well with this fasting. Keep the meal rule simple, 30% carbs + 30% good proteins + 30% high fiber vegetables.
Fasting does wonders to your body provided you balance the meal well. So, all the best and wishing you healthy and mindful eating during these festive seasons.
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