What foods to eat and those to avoid during Ramadan fasting

During the holy month of Ramadan where fasting is done by the muslims, many are confused as to what to eat or how to eat them . With the right intake of food , there are enough nutrients to ensure the  Islam faithfuls eat healthy and still have enough strength to go about their daily activities. The foods are listed in the order in which they are to be taken just after breaking a fast to the start of a new fast.

Fruits and Nuts: 
Groundnuts,coconut, dates, cashew nuts are example of nuts commonly found while fruits include bananas,pineapples, strawberries, oranges,pawpaw, watermelon, apple e.t.c. These fruits and nuts are the foods that pave way in the digestive system for other foods to follow. The fruits can be squeezed and their juices extracted to be taken as accompaniment with other meals. Though they become more expensive during the Ramadan period but they are are a must have and should be included in the diet.

Energy rich foods:

These include rice, plaintain,potatoes,yam and other  Swallow foods t o be taken with any favorite soup of yours. Swallow foods incude energy giving foods rich in carbohydrates such as Eba (Prepared garri), Pounded yam, Amala,Semo, Tuwo and Nigerian soups are Ofe Nsala, Pepper soup, Okro soup ,Oha, Edikang Ikong ,Efo riro (Vegetable soup, any vegetable- Spinach, Water leaf, Ugu),Bitter leaf soup, Egusi (Melon seed soup). The soups must be prepared well , preferably with palm oil.  The soups are rich in vegetables which prevents constipation and also ensure a healthier diet.

Bread and Grains:

Bread,pasta (spaghetti, macaroni),Garri, rice, beans and  cereals (maize,millet, bran, cornflakes) are also ideal to make for a balanced diet.

Proteinous foods:
Meat (all meat products except pork), fish (catfish,smoked or dry fish, mackerel/titus), low dairy products (confirm you are not allergic to any of the dairy products), sea foods (prawns, shrimps,crab,lobster), beans , peas and lentils.

Water:  

For Rehydration and to aid digestion. This is in fact the most important. It has been scientifically prove that a body can survive without food for 14 days but not without water for 3 days. In addition to water, other non-alcoholic drinks such as Sobo, Kunu, Fura de Nunu, smoothies,Tapioca with coconut water,chapman can be used to complement it.

So in breaking a fast, I recommend starting off with a light meal first after the juices has been taken before moving on to heavier meals.Light meal allows the stomach to make adjustment to the body system changes gradually without upsetting the digestive process. Light foods include : Pap (Liquid cornmeal) and moinmoin (boiled Bean cake), Eko/Agidi (cornmeal) and Akara (Fried bean cake), oatmeal, fruit/vegetable salad, boiled plaintain with vegetable soup, potato salad, sandwich, masa, pancakes and more. When a balanced diet is achieved, you reduce the chances of devloping ulcers, increased blood or cholesterol levels.

Food recipe: How to make pap (for 2 adults).
 In a bowl, dissolve corn meal (3tablespoons) in cold water, till all lumps is removed, boil water (2 cups), pour the boiling into the dissolved corn meal, stir in milk and sugar as desired. Note, The lesser the water used, the thicker the cornmeal becomes, after a few trials, am sure you will get the consistency that is suited to your taste.
There is also special bean cake called moinmoin Elemi meje, literally, it means moinmoin with seven lives that is because it contains all the necessities or "obstacles" as some refers to them such as shrimps, egg (previously boiled), fish (dry or boiled),crayfish e.tc.which improves the taste of the moinmoin and increases its nutritious value.

More tips:
  1. Avoid frying as much as possible, instead boil, grill,steam or roast. So you don't end up with Greasy and fatty foods.
  2. Reduce intake of  dairy products, eggs, yoghurt, milk , cheese instead use  low skimmed milk or low fat cheese.
  3. Reduce salt and spices consumption. They do damage to the stomach lining.
  4. It is not ideal to overfeed before another day fasting commences in a bid to makeup for the day as this can lead to stomach upset or indigestion.
  5. Avoid sweets, desserts or if you cant do without them, reduce the the intake . Moderation is key, after all its a month of sacrifice, so you can do without.
  6. Don't over do it Or take on unnecessary risks with your health. Let your colleagues, friends and co workers know you are a Muslim and observing a fast.  
2 cases happened this  month of Ramadan, a girl almost fainted in my office after standing for over 2 hours, she didn't tell anyone she was fasting and did not request to sit down. Another friend lost his wife , she was 7 weeks pregnant and never knew, she slumped and was taken to a nearby hospital , though she was discharged by the doctor after confirming she is better, she died after. These cases shows infallibility of human beings, we need to be in good health even when fasting. And healthy eating makes healthy living. Also ensure you are in good health before starting a fast by having a medical checkup performed by your doctor especially if you have had previous health challenges. Share your fasting diet with us!!

Also Read:
How to make Pizza
How to make masa
How to cook Thai rice with Chicken prawns
22 Nigerian foods one cant do without
Catering tips for food vendors
The art of fruity display: How to get started

Christina

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