Ramadan Nutrition Tips

With only few days left until Ramadan, It is important to know how to eat healthy and meet our body’s needs while fasting for more than 12 hours.

Meals:

Have balanced meals that include carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats that will also provide vitamins and minerals

  1. Carbohydrates: choose “complex” carbs which will provide soluble fiber that will slow stomach emptying and help you feel fuller longer. Good sources are oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, apples, and kidney beans
  2. Protein: good sources are chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, beans, and lentils
  3. Healthy fats: good sources are walnuts, almonds, avocados, and fish
  4. Avoid salty foods: they will make your more thirsty!

Hydration:

Hydration

Between iftaar and suhoor try to drink plenty of water. Stay away from sugary drinks. You don’t have to completely avoid traditional drinks at iftaar, but enjoy them in small portions and limit them to 2-3 times a week. If you are craving a sweet drink, I would recommend these refreshing drinks:

  • 100% fruit juice
  • 100% coconut water
  • 100% homemade smoothie

Read the label to make sure you pick up 100% fruit juice with no added sugar.

How much water should I drink? Aim to drink a minimum of 3 water bottles (1500 ml) between Iftaar and Suhoor. Since it’s summer, it wouldn’t be a stretch to shoot for even 5 bottles!

In my next few posts, I will discuss healthy eats at Suhoor and Iftaar!

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Chappli Kabab: healthier version

Chappli Kabab is one of my favorite foods but it is usually deep fried in oil. My mom slightly adjusted the recipe on the back of the Shan Chappli Kabab masala box to make it a little healthier.

chappli kabab

Bake it don’t fry it!

Forget the egg!

Go lean!

Serving size: 2 kababs

Number of servings: 6

Nutrition information per serving:                319 kcals, 16 g protein, 25 g fat

Ingredients:

  1. 500 grams of regular ground beef (approximately 1 lb)
  2. Shan Chappli Kabab Masala (1 packet =100 g)
  3. 1 large tomatoes, sliced
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 1 large jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
  6. 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  7. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  8. 1 tbsp corn oil

Directions:

  • In the minced meat add Shan Chappli Kabab masala, onion, jalepeno, ginger, garlic, and oil.
  • With wet hands make thin flat round kababs (about 12 kababs). Place a slice of tomato on one side of the the kabab, and place on baking sheet (spray the baking sheet with oil)
  • Bake in 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes or until kababs are cooked (internal temperature of 165 degrees)

Tip:

Use lean ground beef (281 kcals/serving)  to reduce the fat and calories. Use chicken instead of meat to cut out the calories even more.

Believe me when I tell you…

Believe me when I tell you that you can’t even taste the oatmeal in the smoothie. Before you say “It has oatmeal in it, I am never trying this,” think about the worst that can happen? If you don’t like it, you can make your younger sibling drink it! I did this to my older brother: he thought he was drinking just a simple banana strawberry smoothie that I normally make — he had no idea there was oatmeal in it. He liked it!

Here is what you need for the breakfast smoothie:

1 Tbsp Quaker Oats 100% Natural Whole Grain Oatmeal

oatmeal

¼ cup 2% milk

Ice (approximately ½ cup)

1 small banana

4 fresh medium strawberries

1 Tbsp almonds, sliced

1 Tbsp honey

Put the oatmeal in the milk and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Pour it in the blender and add the remaining ingredients.

  • Most of the fat is monounsaturated fat – the healthy fat
  • BkfstSmothieNutritionUse skim milk to reduce the fat even more
  • Increase the almonds to add more protein
  • Frozen fruit works just as great and you might not need to add ice
  • Increase the oatmeal to increase fiber intake

Enjoy!

I am only eating 2 meals a day! Why can’t I lose weight?

This is a very common question and the most tried effort for weight loss. Sadly, it’s not always successful.  Why? Because you deprive your body of fuel supply that it needs in between these two meals. When it doesn’t get the fuel your body starts conserving and saving energy.Our body thinks “Who knows when I am going to get fuel (food) again? So let’s start conserving”

MealTime

Here is how Dr. Brian Wansink, the author of Mindless Eating, puts it “Our body’s metabolism is efficient. When it  has plenty of food to burn, it turns up the furnace and burns our fat reserves faster. When it has less food to burn, it turns down the furnace and burns it more slowly…Our bodies fight against deprivation”

Research shows: “Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not”

How do I lose weigh then? You and I don’t need to cut out any food groups from our diet and we definitely don’t need to starve ourselves. Eat in moderation cutting out 200-300 (no more than 500) calories a day and adding some physical activity. Our bodies won’t recognize these few calories missing from our diet. Over time, you will be able to fit into your “back when I was skinny” jeans that you still have in your closet!

Take it one step at a time – change one thing at a time! 

Nutritional Gatekeepers

“The biggest food influence in our life is the nutritional gatekeeper. This is the person in our home who does most of the food shopping and meal preparation. Regardless of whether they’re a great cook or whether they’re “culinarily challenged,” they have a huge day-by-day influence on their family’s nutrition.

Although they don’t realize it, gate-keepers powerfully shape what food gets eaten both inside and outside the house. Suppose a teenager wants to eat Pop-Tart, but there aren’t any in the cupboard? The gate keeper has de facto decided they won’t be on the menu. This poor Pop-Tart hungry teenager either has to  make a special trip to the grocery store, or pressure Mom or Dad to put them at the top of the next shopping list”

Wansink, Brian. Mindless Eating. New York: Bantam Dell, 2007. Print

 How will you impact others as a nutritional gatekeeper at home?

Fruit Veg 1

How much protein is in homemade daal (Orange Lentils)?

I have always wondered how many calories and how much protein I was getting when I had one of my favorite foods: my mom’s homemade daal. Daal is a very common dish in Pakistani and Indian culture and is made from orange lentils.  Below is the recipe and nutrient analysis:

Masoor Dal (orange lentils) 1 cup
Water – enough to dip the lentils
*Wash and soak for half an hour
*Then on medium heat, add the following:
1 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Chili powder
1 Tomato – cut into cubes
½ tsp turmeric powder

*Cook till the lentils are tender. Blend with the hand blender. Add salt and green chili. Add fresh chopped cilantro right before serving. Add jalapeños to spice it up.

Nutrition Facts
Servings per Recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup (8 oz)
Amount per Serving:
Calories              97.7
Total Fat             3.8 g
Protein               4.8 g

Many people add meat to daal and it would increase the calories per serving. I enjoyed 1 cup of daal with 1 cup of cooked rice and 1 cup baby vegetables that totaled up to 370 calories.

Daal

Lentils are a good source of protein and ½ cup of pure lentils will provide about 7-10 grams of protein!

Save Your Child: Childhood Obesity Crisis

The NHANES Survey shows that 16.9% of United States children and adolescents were obese in 2009-2010. That is about 12.5 million children and adolescents in the United States.

I have seen my aunt trying her best to feed my little cousin and man it is hard! He is such a picky eater. There are times when she has to give in to his demands and give him what he likes. There are many parents who have kids who refuse to eat anything except for chicken nuggets. There are also those who are not able to afford a nutritious meal for the entire family and resort to feeding them fast food to fill their bellies. Many parents have very busy schedules and quick fix meals are the answer. Unfortunately, despite parents best efforts to keep their children well-fed, they neglect to keep good nutrition a priority in their child’s life.

On the other end of the spectrum, David Ludwig, an obesity expert at Children’s Hospital in Boston, believes that parents should lose custody of their obese children as they are not able to properly nurture the healthy growth of their children. He states:

“State intervention may serve the best interests of many children with life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful behaviors”

Well, that is a little extreme but parents do need to take the front seat when it comes to feeding the children nutritious food and helping them stay active. Lack of nutritious diet can also lead to malnourishment where body is deficient of vital vitamins and minerals necessary for daily functions of life.

How do I give my child a good healthy future? Start with yourself – be a positive role model for your children. Good health is basic to a good life that is free of sickness and disease for yourself and your family. Not only will it help with the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and pursuant diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, but it will also teach them to make better choices later on in life.

Good food choices include: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, lean protein sources, and low-fat dairy.

 In my future posts I will be sharing with you some very practical and healthy tips for yourself and your children.