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Diabetes Victoria Blog

Join the discussion in our blog where a variety of writers from all walks of life take a stance on current diabetes issues.

Healthy eating tips for Ramadan

15 May 2018
By Farah Wilson

With only a short duration between iftar (dinner meal after sunset) and suhoor (breakfast meal before dawn), your food choices are important. Ensure you are eating foods that provide you with vitamins, minerals and fluids to stay healthy and manage your blood glucose levels during the month of Ramadan.

1. Hydrate! Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water between iftar and suhoor. Avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea) which can lead to dehydration.

2. Eat low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates at suhoor. Low GI foods break down slowly during digestion and produce smaller rises in blood glucose levels. They will also provide you with lasting energy over the day. Some low GI foods include.
  • Oats, all-bran & porridge
  • Wholegrain breads
  • Basmati rice
  • Legumes (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils) Low-fat dairy
Make sure your meal at iftar is balanced. The healthy plate model is a good guide to follow, so try:
  • Half of your plate being non-starchy vegetables or salad
  • A quarter of your plate being low GI carbohydrates (pasta, basmati rice, legumes or sweet potato)
  • The final quarter being lean protein (lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs or tofu)

The healthy plate model is a good resource to help you create a balanced meal atr iftar.

Avoid oily, rich or large portions of food. These can take longer to digest and can lead to high blood glucose levels.

4. Be mindful. Eat slowly and savour your meal, especially during the iftar meal. Try to avoid overeating.  

5. Soups are a popular entrée dish of the iftar meal. Make the most of cooking soups that include lentils, legumes, vegetables and lean meats. Soups are an easy way to increase your intake of fibre and fluid.    

6. Snack smart during the evening. Limit processed and packaged foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugars such as traditional, biscuits, cakes and pastries. Save these foods for special occasions or family gatherings. Choose healthy snacks such as a serving of fresh fruit, a handful of raw nuts, a tub of low-fat yoghurt, wholegrain dry biscuits with low-fat cheese or vegetable sticks with hummus.  If you are participating in Ramadan, speak with your doctor or diabetes team on how best to manage your diabetes. It's a good idea to tell your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator any difficulties experienced in previous fasts and how you coped with them. They can advise on any adjustment of medication that may be required to enable you to fast safely.

The International Diabetes Federation and Diabetes and Ramadan (DAR) International Alliance have created practical guidelines to help people manage their diabetes during Ramadan. The guidelines, designed for health professionals, provide relevant background information and practical recommendations.