Ramadan is considered to be the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. It is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims the world over celebrate it by fasting. Besides from abstaining from food and drink, Muslims also refrain from gossiping, smoking, using bad language and from indecent behaviour (such as wasting food ?)!
That being said, it’s not too uncommon for us to develop some unhealthy habits during Ramadan, like binging on unhealthy foods or overeating. Unfortunately, these habits can negatively impact your overall health; leading to negative side effects like grogginess, abdominal pains and gastritis just to name of few!
So, to prevent all that from happening here are our 8 Tips to Prevent Overeating This Ramadan ?.
1. Don’t skip Suhoor
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Remember that one saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? Well that saying reigns true for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) as well. When you skip Suhoor, you’re prolonging the time you fast; forcing your body to rely on the previous meal to give you nutrients and energy until iftar ?.
Besides making you feel hungrier and more tired, skipping Suhoor can also encourage overeating during iftar; which can cause unhealthy weight gain. Now, we understand that the thought of skipping Suhoor in order to get a full night’s sleep is ridiculously tempting, but do keep in mind that eating Suhoor is Sunnah.
As narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” al-Bukhaari.
[Can't decide what to eat for suhoor? Here are 8 recipes you can put together in 15 minutes or less]
2. Break your fast with something light
When breaking your fast, try to avoid going straight for the heavy stuff (things like fried foods or fast foods) because it can give you some major stomach aches. Instead, opt for something light like soups or some water ?.
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Better yet, you can also break you fast according to the Sunnah by eating dates (as it is said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to break his fast by eating one to three dates during iftar).
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In addition, dates are also very rich in fibre, natural sugars, magnesium, potassium, and other necessary key nutrients; making them the perfect entrée to prepare your stomach to digest the rest of your meal ?
3. Don’t overeat
After a full day of not eating or drinking, you’re bound to be hit by a case of the post-fasting munchies. Whatever you do, don’t give into it. Just as it is advisable for you not to skip Suhoor, piling up your plate with a mountain of food when iftar rolls around can only lead to overeating, weight gain and (worst of all) wasting food ?.
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Your stomach will be just as content with a smaller portion of food (especially if you’ve been fasting) and best of all, you get to skip the stomach ache (that was bound to happen if you had forced your stomach to take in more food than it should) altogether ?.
[P.S. Don't know what to do with leftover food? Here are 10 useful tips to avoid wasting food this Ramadan]
4. Plan Out Your Meals
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Another great tip to help prevent yourself from overeating is to plan out your meals ?. With the all the Ramadan Bazaars popping up during the fasting month, temptations are everywhere! Delicious fried chicken, pan-fried noodles, a veritable buffet of kuihs, cakes and cookies, it’s no wonder some people can actually gain weight during Ramadan ?!
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In order to prevent that from happening, you can prepare your suhoor and iftar meals beforehand and keep them stored in the fridge until it’s time to eat. Not only will it be able to save you a lot of hassle at meal times, but you will also be able to control the portion sizes and prevent yourself from overeating.
5. Avoid eating straight from the box
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If you’re tired of meal prep or cooking in general, there’s nothing wrong with hitting up the Ramadan Bazaars to get your iftar meal. Nowadays, the Ramadan Bazaars carry all sorts of food, from Korean fried chicken and chicken rice to homemade pizzas and boba tea. There’s bound to be some healthy options amongst the bunch that would be suitable to break your fast with. But when it comes to takeaway, our advice to you is to not eat the food straight out of the box ?.
While it might seem like a good idea (no dishes!), eating out of the container can actually cause you to eat more food than you need.
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Instead, portion out a single serving onto a plate or bowl to prevent yourself from overeating or wasting the food that you can’t finish. Bonus point: If you portion out your food during Iftar, you’ll also have something tasty to eat during Suhoor ?.
6. Don’t eat too fast
During iftar, the temptation to just inhale your food like a vacuum cleaner is a strong one. Unfortunately, eating too fast has also been linked to not just overeating, but also to drastic weight gain over time ?. Be sure to take your time and savour your meal; after all it isn’t like your food is going to grow legs and run away!
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Besides, eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly can also help you recognize the signs that your body reaching fullness; which can also help you to reduce overeating. Plus, you get to avoid the risks of choking on your food altogether!
7. Avoid junk foods
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It’s not uncommon for people to reward themselves with rich, greasy, fried and sugary foods come meal time after they had spent the whole day fasting ?. While junk food tastes glorious and can give you a sudden burst of energy, they can also leave you feeling too groggy and sluggish to participate in Taraweeh prayers and make fasting the next day rather difficult ?.
Besides the risk of unhealthy weight gain that comes with junk food (especially if you don’t hit the gym right after), the consumption of salty, fatty and sugary foods during the fasting month can also leave you feeling excessively tired, thirsty and sluggish ?; so best try to avoid it if you can.
8. Stay hydrated
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Drinking plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor is a simple yet effective way to curb food cravings and to stop yourself from overeating. By increasing your water consumption, you can actually decrease your calorie intake and still feel less hungry ?.
Plus, when it comes to fasting, you’d be surprised at the number of people who confuse the feeling of thirst for the feeling of hunger (quite possibly because they share a lot of common symptoms like dizziness, headaches, stomach gurgling/rumbling, etc).
So, the next time you’re feeling hungry after Iftar or before Suhoor, instead of opening up the fridge to get something to snack on, try drinking a glass of water (or milk) and wait 15 minutes. If you were really hungry the feeling will persist, whereas if you were just thirsty, you’ll feel satisfied (and will have managed to avoid taking in extra calories that your body doesn’t need) ?.
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#HHWT Tip: Try to avoid drinking anything caffeinated like teas, coffees and sodas because they have a diuretic effect (meaning they’ll make you want to go to the bathroom a lot - which is massively inconvenient during taraweeh prayers by the way) and can leave you feeling dehydrated when you’re fasting during the day ?.
[P.S. Planning on travelling during Ramadan? Check out these 15 tips you should about fasting while travelling]
And that concludes our list on 8 Tips to Prevent Overeating This Ramadan. Hopefully, you’ll find some of these tips useful during this blessed fasting month ?. So, just to recap, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayers and reaching out to our local community in order to lend a helping hand to the needy. What it isn’t about though, is overeating or overindulging in food (and giving yourself a stomach ache in the process ?).