The first day of Ramadan – and here in the UAE it’s a 15-hour fast, the longest it’s been in 32 years!
What to have or Iftar
Iftar today is at 7:12pm and you’re probably already thinking about what to dig into when the Muezzin calls for Magrib prayer.

Here’s what Hala Abu Taha, Dietitian for The American Surgecenter in Abu Dhabi advises:

‘Iftar meal should always start with a source of simple sugar to compensate energy lost during long fasting hour and nothing beats dates with that.

‘Along with dates, a cup of laban could be consumed as a good source of minerals and protein for the body.

‘A cup of warm, non-creamy soup helps human’s stomach to receive food with better digestion and less discomfort.

‘After having these starters, it is recommended to have a break of 10 minutes then go to the main meal, which should be a balanced one containing sources of lean protein, such grilled fish or chicken, low glycemic index carbohydrates, such as brown rice or boiled sweet potatoes, in addition to a source of vegetables, raw or cooked, with little oil.

‘It’s common in Ramadan feast to enjoy certain types of appetizers as samosa or kibbeh, however, having them in lighter version, that is baked not fried, will guarantee less after-meal discomfort and less calorie intake’

I love my sweets and candy, and in Ramadan craving for sugar goes up. But fruit is recommended rather than the usual deserts. There are some deserts recommended though according to Abu Taha:

‘Having Ramadan sweets such as Katayef could be healthy as well if it’s prepared in a healthy way, such as a baked Katayef instead of fried, and syrup should be added by a teaspoon instead of dipping.’

About Suhoor: ‘People tend to skip this meal ignoring the fact that our body needs a source of energy to maintain production level high the next day. A perfect Suhur meal will consist of complex source of carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread with a protein source as boiled eggs, Turkey slices or white cheese. What could make Suhur meal even healthier is a cup of low fat milk or laban and a bowl of freshly cut vegetables.’

Plus it’s hot out there – at least two litres of water should be consumed daily the experts recommend.

Now read my essential guide to driving in Ramadan on Motoring Middle East!

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