Ramadan begins on April 12, meaning that individuals around the world will celebrate Holy Month with fasting and prayer.
Ramadan traditions ask individuals to wake up before dawn to eat their first meal of the day (Suhoor), then fast until after sunset when they can eat their second meal (Iftar). For individuals focused on fitness and nutrition, the holiday can raise a few questions regarding how you can eat well (and with intention!) within traditional guidelines. Thankfully, Ruba Ali has Ramadan meal plan tips to keep your nutrition goals in mind while still prioritizing your spiritual life.
Don’t be fooled by the idea that fasting automatically leads to weight loss. Ramadan is often associated with weight gain due to large amounts of food in the early morning or after sundown. In addition to the abundance of traditional fried foods that are sometimes too delicious to resist. This means you have to be a little more strategic about what you eat (since when you eat is already decided).
The idea of fasting can be overwhelming if you’ve worked hard to stay on track with your nutrition goals. But just because your meal schedule will change due to the holiday schedule, you can still fast in a way that will compliment your fitness routine (which you can keep up with during the month!) and keep your spiritual health as the top priority.
While fasting during Holy Month isn’t focused on health benefits, there are several reasons fasting can be good for you.
1. Regulates digestive system
2. Controls blood sugar
3. Reduces inflammation
4. Boosts metabolism
Ruba suggests sitting down and assessing where your nutrition is at before Ramadan begins. This way you can know how to adjust accordingly throughout the month. Ask yourself a few key questions:
What eating habits can you improve?
What new habits will help you stay on track during this Ramadan?
When will you prepare your meals?
When will you schedule your workout?
If you’re not sure when you’re going to prepare your meals, stop what you’re doing and strategize! Meal prepping means you won’t waste time cooking and cleaning, allowing you to squeeze in that treasured workout.
Since you’re not able to drink water during the day, staying hydrated during Suhoor and Iftar is essential. Ruba recommends drinking 2/3 of your weight (in LBS) in ounces of water.
EXAMPLE: 180 lbs person = 120 oz water
Water is your best friend during a time of fasting. Feel free to drink coffee and tea to but with no additives (like milk, sugar, etc.) and limit how much you have. When in doubt, just drink water!
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes (see what we did there?) of why we’re all here — how to eat during Ramadan! Whether it’s Holy Month or not, whole foods are where it’s at. Fill your plate with protein, healthy fats, whole grain carbs, and LOTS of fruits and veggies. Ruba Ali’s Ramadan guide has specific recipes you can follow along for the entire month of Ramadan. How can you get access to all this great content? We’re glad you asked! If you download Ruba Ali’s app you can get access to her guide Ramadan Gains: Your 30-Day Fitness and Nutrition Guide. She also has specific Ramadan workout routines for you to follow along with in addition to all of her workout programs and nutrition guides that are for all times of the year. Download her app now and get started for just $1 for the first month.
About the author
Lily is a Brooklyn-based wellness enthusiast who never says no to trying a new fitness class. As a previous fitness coach and current health editor, she loves New York's health scene and can often be found in a hot yoga studio, attending a meditation seminar, or going for a long run in Central Park. Lily is originally from Oregon and moved to Brooklyn in 2017—one day when she makes it big, she'll spend her winters on the West Coast and her summers in New York's best borough.