Nine tips for a healthy Eid ul-Fitr

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Eid ul-Fitr, the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’, is a three-day celebration marking the end of Ramadan and welcoming the month of Shawwal. It is a joyous occasion, starting with special Islamic prayers often performed in congregation in a large open field. Social gatherings are an integral part of this auspicious occasion but this year Eid will have a different ambience with the covid-19 lockdown measures still in place.

Eid is distinguished by a great fervour of enthusiasm worldwide and an abundance of delicious treats that you naturally want to indulge in after a month of fasting.

There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying small portions of these fancy delights, but overindulgence can give your body a tremendous shock after a month of fasting. Consuming a lot of energy dense foods can lead to indigestion, stomach upset, bloating, weight gain and high blood glucose levels.

Here are some simple tips to make sure your Eid-ul Fitr is a healthy one!

Mindfulness

After a month of devotion and restraint it is easy to go overboard with the delicious treats. Eating slowly, focusing on the feel, taste and sensation of chewing each mouthful will help set you for the day.

Portion control

Prior to serving, set guidelines for yourself about what and how much you will eat. This will help prevent overeating. Try not to pile food on your plate as you may feel pressured to eat it so it doesn’t all go to waste. Politely refuse second helpings.

Beat the sweet tooth

Try to have some dried dates stuffed with walnuts, or dried figs before you start the other sweets. This will help you satisfy your sweet tooth and not overindulge.

Homemade sweets

Try making your own sweets to ensure healthier without sacrificing flavour. For example, use an artificial sweetener, honey or date syrup instead of sugar or sugar syrup. Opt for whole wheat flour instead of white flour.

Leave the table once you’re done

Once you have enjoyed your share of Eid delights leave the table so you are not tempted to try more sweets that your blood glucose levels, or tummy, can accommodate. Enjoying sweets in moderation is key.

Let veggies come first

Yes, that’s correct. Even on Eid! The best way to control your appetite is to have small frequent meals. Each meal should be packed with veggies.

Blood glucose monitoring

Check your blood glucose levels more regularly. Changes in routine and eating habits and adjustments to your medication after Ramadan can have an unexpected impact. If you have high blood glucose levels (>15mmol/L) you may be at risk of severe dehydration. This can result in you feeling drowsy, confused and needing urgent medical attention. Talk to your diabetes health professional for advice about management of blood glucose levels if they remain high.

Walk around the block

A good walk around the block can positively affect your mood and help in managing your appetite. Exercise releases feel good hormones which can make you feel revitalized and keep your diabetes in check. Exercise improves glucose uptake by the muscles and the body’s insulin sensitivity, so that insulin has a greater effect in reducing BGLs both during and after exercise.

Drinking water

Drinking water is important to prevent dehydration after extended periods of fasting. It is especially important after eating sweets as the kidneys will use water to flush sugar out of the system.  Try to drink one cup of water every hour.

 

By Dyala Al Jabi, Accredited Practising Dietitian

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