New Atkins Lifestyle nutritionist provides a guide to eating well-balanced meals for Iftar and Suhoor
With the holy month of Ramadan soon approaching, the diet and routine of those that observe the fast can be affected. Linda O’Byrne, the New Atkins Lifestyle nutritionist, has provided an easy to follow, effective and sustainable guide on how to continue the globally acclaimed low carb, low sugar approach during Iftar and Suhoor.
Remember to Hydrate
Drinking enough fluids will prevent dehydration and also help to control sugar cravings when the fast is broken. Water is key but herbal teas can also cure a sweet craving without adding sugar. Have a glass of water with both Iftar and Suhoor meals and at several points during the night too.
Breaking your fast
Although it’s customary to break fast with dates, they have 5g carbs – from sugar – in them each. A better choice would be a lower glycaemic fruit, such as a strawberry with cream, as the fat content of the cream will slow down the insulin response. If on Phase One of Atkins, then avoiding fruit altogether would be best so break the fast with meat or vegetables.
Eat well, but don’t over-indulge at Iftar
Over-eating at the Iftar meal is quite hard to resist, however, doing so can lead to digestive problems, bloating and off set individuals from the fat burning state. Try to avoid starchy carbs like noodles, pasta, bread and foods containing white flour. The bulk of this meal should be based on fat and protein containing foods. Include fats such as, oils, butter, avocado, olives; or fattier cuts of meat like salmon; or meat such as lamb; rather than chicken. Protein sources can come from beef, lamb, chicken, fish, eggs or cheese.
To aid digestion, a vegetable soup is a good option, followed by a protein source and a variety of vegetables dressed with a drizzle of olive oil. It is important to remember not to overwhelm the digestive system. Taking breaks between courses is important and will aid in avoiding over-indulgence before the food gets properly digested.
Avoid having an entire night of feasting as this will lead to strain on the digestive system. Instead, have two meals with a snack in between.
Avoid excess sugar from drinks and sweets, which are easy traps to rapidly increase carb intake with little nutritional value. Eating them will only spike blood insulin levels and increase sugar craving.
Snacks to include between Iftar and Suhoor:
- Smoothies including green vegetables
- Atkins shakes
- Full fat Greek yoghurt
- Atkins crispbread with full fat cream cheese
- Peanut butter
- Avocado mashed into guacamole with crispbread
- Hard boiled eggs
Some people opt to skip Suhoor, especially if there’s been some over-indulgence prior to this pre-dawn meal. This will likely lead to increased hunger the next day and overeating at the next Iftar.
At Suhoor, again include a good source of protein, such as meat, cheese or eggs. This will stabilise blood sugar levels and make it less likely to feel hungry later in the day. This meal has to keep energy levels up all day and including refined carbs will only lead to hunger pangs during the day. Protein and fat containing foods are naturally more satisfying and will provide sustainable energy.
Meal suggestions for Iftar and Suhoor
- Lamb stew with various vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower and green beans
- Salmon with mixed vegetables
- Vegetable soup with a side salad drizzled with oil
- Omelette with mushrooms, cheese and red pepper
- Baked chicken thighs with roasted vegetables
Visit http://meuk.atkins.com/ for more information about the plan and it’s four phase approach.