“I forgot to have lunch yesterday but compensated with a drink and burger at dinner,” said my colleague. Given the huge gap between her breakfast and dinner, I wondered if this was the right thing to eat. Not at all, says Neda Anas Nizar, Consultant Nutritionist at Dieture Healthy Gourmet, an online platform that helps with food planning. Technically, she says, it’s a fast, because you’re going without food and water for over 12 hours.
“This first meal after a fast should be balanced and must compensate for the nutrients missed. That’s why the iftar, which breaks the fast in the month of Ramadan, is so important.” Neda goes on to offer a few tips from the concept of iftar, which can be applied when we break a fast or go without food for a while.
Start the meal with dates that are rich in natural sugars and provide energy. Just two pieces will take care of the headache that usually develops due to low blood sugar.
Don’t reach out for an aerated drink or a fruit juice. These are high on sugars and calories. First, drink two glasses of water (sip, don’t gulp) before eating and don’t sip while you eat, as this can delay the digestion process. Try an arrowroot drink with milk. This is gluten-free, rich in fibre, potassium, iron and Vitamin B and improves metabolism and boosts immunity.
Happy beautiful young woman drinking water. Smiling caucasian female model holding transparent glass in her hand. Closeup. Focus on the arm
Try soups made with legumes and vegetables and avoid the rich cream-based ones. Try chilled versions if you don’t like it hot. Soups also help with hydration.
Shooting pumpkin soup for breakfast
Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre and low on calories, so try a bowl of salad or baked vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Protein-rich and easily digestible lean meat is required to maintain muscle mass. Include chicken, eggs, milk, yoghurt, or fish in the meal. Vegetarians, add legumes, beans and nuts.
Cropped image of a man spooning cooked vegetables onto a kitchen scale
Control portion size and eat slowly. Avoid deep-fried, creamy, salty and sweet food that can lead to weight gain in the long run. A heavy meal after a fast can lead to indigestion and other gastric problems.