Overcoming 3 Fasting Challenges during Ramadan: Tips for Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Coinciding with the beginning of the month of Ramadan every year, some fasting people suffer from 3 main problems, which are “hunger, thirst, and lethargy.” In an interview with Al-Hurra, two nutrition experts present a “Ramadan recipe” for an ideal breakfast, and give advice on how to feel full and energetic during fasting.

Therapeutic nutrition consultant, Dr. Bahaa Naji, talks to Al-Hurra website about 3 main problems facing the fasting person in Ramadan, which are “thirst, hunger, and lethargy,” and provides tips to overcome each of them.

For her part, Dr. Yara Hussein, a clinical nutrition consultant at the University of Florence in Italy, confirms to Al-Hurra the importance of eating “breakfast and suhoor” in a balanced and healthy manner, to solve these problems.

How do we overcome thirst?

Regarding thirst during the day in Ramadan, Dr. Bahaa Naji says that the solution is to “drink plenty of water between breakfast and 4 hours before the start of fasting.”

And he stresses the need to “reduce drinking water just before dawn,” because excessive drinking leads to “urinating during the day in Ramadan, which increases thirst.”

The mineral salts in the fruit help the body retain a good percentage of water during the day in Ramadan, and therefore we must eat plenty of fruits after breaking the fast, according to Naji.

Naji points out that some reduce the consumption of fruits and increase the consumption of sweets that contain complex sugar, which increases diuresis, which means an increase in thirst.

Nagy advises eating plenty of fruits during Ramadan, especially strawberries, melons, watermelons and pineapples.

He warns against drinking caffeine such as tea and coffee before dawn, because these drinks are diuretic and the body loses a large part of the water.

He also warns against eating fatty, high-calorie meals that raise the body temperature, causing water to come out in the form of sweat and increase the sense of thirst.

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How do we overcome hunger?

Naji believes that the “Suhoor meal” is the magic solution to overcome the feeling of hunger.

The suhoor meal must contain fibers such as oatmeal and corn fiber, added to yogurt or milk.

During Suhoor, a person must eat complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, freekeh, bulgur and brown bread.

As well as a source of protein containing fiber such as beans, kidney beans, cowpeas, lentils, and chickpeas, which all contain “vegetable proteins that are good for health.”

During Suhoor, it is not recommended to drink carbonated water because it speeds up digestion and contains salts that increase thirst.

How do we overcome “lethargy and laziness”?

Nagy advises exercising and sleeping well to overcome lethargy and laziness.

And stresses the importance of eating fruits, nuts, salads and vegetables, all of which provide the body with activity and vitality and reduce cholesterol and harmful fats that cause lethargy.

Also, you should avoid eating fatty meals that contain saturated fats such as ghee, butter, cream, and meat fat.

What is the perfect breakfast?

Dr. Yara Hussein points out the importance of eating a balanced and healthy breakfast that provides the body with its essential nutrients and helps it regain its energy without feeling lethargic, lazy, stomach problems and poor digestion afterwards.

And “dates” are an ideal and healthy option to break the fast during Ramadan, as they are easy to digest and contain a high percentage of complex sugar, fiber, minerals (calcium and iron) and vitamins, according to Hussein.

She says, “The soup dish is indispensable at breakfast because it contains nutritious ingredients that are easy to digest and is rich in water that helps moisturize the cells of the body and skin and compensate for lost fluids during the fasting period, and prepare the stomach for digestion, which helps in preventing gas and stomach pain.”

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Hussein also points out the importance of the green salad dish, as it is “rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, provides a lot of nutrients, contains few calories, and gives a feeling of fullness, which ensures eating smaller quantities of the main dish.”

As for the main dish, she recommends that it contain balanced proportions of complex carbohydrates and proteins.

Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, whole grain bread, potatoes or bulgur, are rich in fiber and minerals and provide the body with stable levels of energy.

As for proteins at breakfast, they should make up 20 to 30 percent of the main meal.

Hussein says, “It is recommended to eat high-quality, easily digestible protein that contains all essential amino acids, such as fish, poultry, red meat of all kinds, milk, yogurt, eggs and cheese.”

For vegetarians, other protein sources can be eaten, such as legumes and nuts, according to Hussein.

What is the perfect suhoor meal?

The Suhoor meal is just as important as Iftar, as it provides the body with enough energy for the long hours of fasting, and making good healthy choices for the Suhoor meal can make a big difference in our energy levels and help fasting without experiencing energy drops, mood swings and headaches, according to Hussain.

Hussein points out the importance of the Suhoor meal containing slow-digesting foods that provide the body with energy without causing any stomach discomfort, thirst or hunger for the fasting person during the day.


Eggs, meat, beans and dairy products are great sources of protein.

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The body digests proteins slowly, which makes a person feel full for a longer period, and it also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels during fasting.

During Suhoor, it is recommended to eat the equivalent of 4 slices of cheese, 60 grams of meat, two eggs, a small plate of labneh, or a cup of legumes (such as beans).

complex carbohydrates

Hussein points out that “foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, oats, fruits and vegetables are essential during fasting,” because they take longer to digest, which helps maintain energy levels for a long time.

It advises that the amount consumed be equivalent to “one cup of brown rice, two slices of wholemeal bread, or a quarter of a loaf of brown Arabic bread.”

vegetables and fruits

Hussein says, “Vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, which slows the rate of food digestion in the stomach, increases the feeling of fullness for a longer period, and thus reduces the feeling of hunger.”

They also help prevent constipation, and are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health, according to her talk.


Hussein stresses the need to drink at least two to three cups of fluids at suhoor to avoid feeling thirsty during the fasting hours, and water is the best option for hydration.

She indicates the possibility of eating fruits and vegetables rich in water that help the fasting person to resist thirst, such as watermelon, orange, cucumber, lettuce and green salad.

Among the recommended liquids are natural fruit juices, qamar al-din and tamarind because they contain vitamins that provide the body with vitality and vitality and strengthen the immune system, in addition to calcium-fortified milk that gives the body additional energy, according to Hussein.

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