Negotiating Ramadan: how to maintain your nutrition

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

It’s one of those rare years when everyone starts on the same day, so lets celebrate by addressing something that regularly lights up my DM’s on Instagram: HOW TO NOT FALL OFF THE NUTRITION WAGON DURING THE FASTING MONTH. I get a ton of questions and requests leading up to Ramadan about the best ways to not eat and drink ALL OF THE THINGS when it’s time to break your fast at the end of the day. People usually expect me to have some kind of magical potion or complicated answer, but the truth is that it’s not magic or complicated. And the best part is, it works.

Say it with me: SMOOTHIES

Okay, perhaps I did a little much in the picture department trying to drive the message home. But I’m so serious. Smoothies will save you EVERY TIME. I know how some of y’all do in the morning before sunrise, cooking up 5-course meals, only to suffer and end up even hungrier (and dehydrated as hell because you can’t drink water to flush it out). Others are just like “Oh I’m just gonna have some water or a little tea” and then spend the rest of the day questioning their life choices and trying to stay awake. Do better. Drink a smoothie.

Now, I know some of y’all are looking at that sea of pink and assuming it’s all fruit. NOPE. Some are made from beets, some from rhubarb, and some from purple sweet potatoes. There are also smoothies made of tofu and cashews and walnuts and cacao and greens (hence the color). Listen. Now is your opportunity to drink the rainbow.

Smoothies work particularly well during Ramadan because it’s a great way to get in a whole lot of nutrients without a whole lot of volume. You can’t eat all of the smoothie ingredients in their whole form in one setting (and certainly not before dawn). So this is a way to keep your body nourished throughout the day as you observe the fast. It’s also a great way to break your fast so that you don’t go insane when it’s time to eat.

After your traditional Iftar, pause before the meal (y’all are supposed to be praying anyway, so step away from the dates and go handle your business). Have a smoothie. Just a small one. You’re not gonna have that much room in your belly at this point anyway so don’t overdo it. A green plant-filled smoothie (in my opinion) is the best choice because you won’t get slammed by a bunch of sugar from a pure fruit version. It will help give you clarity on your meal choices and allow you to take your time as you move forward with your nightly nourishment. There is nothing more constipating than eating a bunch of rich food at night, and getting up to eat again before dawn… only to suffer throughout the day. I have witnessed this lethargic cycle one too many times over the years, and it’s clear that some habits need to shift.

I also recognize that the last thing you’re thinking about at Iftar is making a smoothie, so don’t wait until then to make one. PREP.

Those are 64 inch jars. We don’t mess around in this house. Each one contains approximately 3 (maybe 3 1/2) smoothies by our measure and consumption. So, that’s 5 days of smoothies if we’re doing one a day, or 3 days roundabout if we’re doing two a day. These will keep for 5 days refrigerated, so I prep and time them out accordingly. It’s extremely easy to measure out what you want and enjoy your smoothie as you’re planning your next nutritional move. It’s also nice to have options. There are going to be days when the thought of a green smoothie is gonna make you cuss. That’s when you opt for Black Bean (tastes like chocolate) or sweet potato (tastes like pie) or any number of other combinations that tickles your fancy.

Here are the main ingredients to my favorite green smoothie combination, along with a tablespoon of spirulina and 2 bananas. This makes two 64 ounce jars (I told you we are not playing in this house). It’s sweet and tart and a little bit spicy, and it immediately gives me energy. It’s also dense as all get out (you can honestly eat it with a spoon), because it’s got a ton of fiber cut only by plant yogurt. If that’s not your jam, I get it. Swap the yogurt out for plant milk and cut the ingredients by half. You can also toss in a few medjool dates to make it sweeter.

Or try this watered down version instead. It’s not as sweet or as dense, but it’s an instant energy boost.

Whatever you decide to do, prep it and taste it (that means you need to make it the night before) so that you’re sure it works as a grab and go item. This will take some of the guesswork out of nutrition and help you balance and maintain your levels throughout the month. Make a few different varieties and see if it helps make things run that much more smoothly.


Published by Shahada Karim

Aryuvedic Nutritionist - Movement Therapist - Chef - Author

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