12 April 2021
By Kim Duggan-Larkin, accredited practising dietitian
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
3. Make sure your meal at iftar is balanced. The healthy plate model is a good guide to follow, so try:
The healthy plate model is a good resource to help you create a balanced meal.
- Half of your plate being non-starchy vegetables or salad
- A quarter of your plate being lower GI carbohydrates (pasta, basmati rice, legumes or sweet potato)
- The final quarter being lean protein (lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs or tofu)
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
. Cook soups that include lentils and other legumes, vegetables and lean meats – these 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 during this time. Choose healthy snacks such as a serving of fresh fruit, a handful of unsalted nuts, a tub of low-fat yoghurt, wholegrain crackers 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.
For more information or to speak with a Diabetes Victoria dietitian, call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700.
Kim Duggan-Larkin, accredited practising dietitian at Diabetes Victoria.
Kim coordinates programs for people with diabetes like OzDAFNE and DESMOND, assisting with enquiries through our Helpline, developing education resources and training other health professionals and carers.
Kim loves food and cooking, and managed to find a job where she can talk about it all day long!