Monday, 7 July 2014

Healthy Ramadan 2014: A meal in a glass

For Muslims in Ramadan, it can be very difficult to eat two healthy full meals with very little time in between the two. And its even more difficult to ensure that we are getting all the essential nutrients from both of these meals too. Here I have explained how you can go easy on one of the meal times without missing it on the nutrients and ensuring you are getting a well-balanced meal too. 

I am sure you have all got the WhatsApp forward of smoothies for suhoor. When I read it I thought it was a great idea, as it is very hard to eat a full meal at suhoor time, especially when you really want to as you know you will not get to eat for the next 20 hours (well here in the UK anyway). So I decided to decode this message, in order for us to see the benefits of these smoothies and what else we can have and how we can adapt it to our own liking.

Having smoothies and juices helps us to consume food and nutrients easily. It is less work in the mouth and therefore less work in the body. To get the most out of the smoothies ensure and that you are actually getting all the essential nutrients you need, I have formulated a system. 

There are five food groups which our meals should be made of:

1. Carbohydrates – breads, rice, pasta, bread, oats, cereals. 

2. Protein – fish, meat, poultry, nuts and seeds.

3. Fruit and Vegetables – bananas, apples, pears, grapes, berries, mango, spinach, kale, carrots...

4. Milk and Dairy products – milk, cheese and yoghurt.

5. Fats: honey, sugar, sweetener. 

Here are some recipe ideas for you to have a meal in glass. All you need to do is blend together all the ingredients. 

Banana and Date Smoothie: 
1 cup oats
10 almonds
1 banana
4 soaked dates
1 cup Greek Yoghurt
a drizzle of honey

Weetabix Smoothie:
2 pieces of Weetabix
1 tablespoon of mixed seeds
handful of berries (your choice)
1 cup of semi-skimmed milk
drizzle of honey

Vanilla Spiced Smoothie:
1 cup of oats or bran flakes
A few nuts of your choice/or 1 tsp of peanut butter
5 pre-soaked dates
1 cup of yoghurt
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract/and cinnamon powder
ice cubes

Helpful Tips:
- Soak the dates for a few hours to soften and it will blend better into your drink.
- I used honey but feel free to use a natural sweetener, for some smoothies you don't need honey or sugar at all. The fruit will be make it sweet enough. 
- Use low-fat yoghurt; plain or Greek is better if you want it thicker. 
- Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
- Feel free to play around with the fruits, use whatever you have or what you like. 
- Soak some dried fruit like apricots and raisins to add to your smoothies. 
- Use almond milk, protein powder to increase the protein
- Other cereals you could use for your carbohydrate source: Weetabix, oats, bran flakes, cornflakes, shredded wheat.
- Add some water if the smoothie is too thick.  


Be Happy! Be Healthy!


Sources: Myself and anonymous WhatsApp message... :-) 

By Ayshabibi H. ANutr
A H Nutritionist
7th July 2014

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