Ramadan checklist for diabetics

After prayer, have a full meal starting with a salad using the healthy plate method (Shutterstock)

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is an important spiritual practice. If you are diabetic and want to fast, make sure to see your doctor beforehand and discuss with him how to maintain your sugar levels when you are fasting.

Here is a checklist from the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre. These tips can help you remain fit while fasting. As per the experts at the centre, it is possible to manage diabetes and fast, but make sure to visit your doctor before Ramadan as any changes to food, activity levels and timing of meals should be discussed.

Your doctor will guide you on how to adjust your doses and help adjust your fasting plan in complement with Ramadan fasting hours.

Have your glucose monitor at hand and continually monitor your sugars, it does not break your fast according to the Awqaf’s Fatwa.

Break your fast and contact your doctor if you’re not feeling well and you are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycaemia with sugar below 70mg/dl or hyperglycaemia with sugar levels above 300mg/dl, or any nausea or vomiting.

The healthy plate method

There is an easy way to make sure we are eating the right amount using the plate method. Here’s what to put on your plate:

• Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (like spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes).

• Fill a quarter of your plate with slowly absorbed grains and starchy vegetables (like wild/brown rice, fibre-rich cereals, and sweet potatoes).

• Fill a quarter of your plate with lean meat or non-meat protein (like fish, chicken, beef, eggs, seeds or legumes).

• Do not forget to include dairy with your meal, such as laban or yogurt.

Space out your meals

Remember it is a good idea to pace your mealtimes during the non-fasting hours. Try not to be tempted to eat continuously from iftar to just before fajr. At iftar, break your fast with a light snack such as dates and soup before maghrib prayer.

After prayer, have a full meal starting with a salad using the healthy plate method, followed by a balanced meal at suhoor, just before fajr and a snack in between if needed. Don’t skip any meals.

Slow release carbohydrates, known as low-glycaemic, are an excellent option for fasting food. These include wholegrain bread and basmati rice. Fast release carbs, sugary food and food otherwise known as high-glycaemic index are best avoided. High glycaemic starchy food include potatoes and white bread.

It is important that you do not get dehydrated. Adequate amount of water is recommended, especially that this is a particularly hot time of year. Also remember to eat fruits and vegetables that contain water and break your fast with soup for extra fluids. Avoid sugary drinks and reduce your caffeine intake as it can cause dehydration.

Right amount of exercise

Remember exercise is also important. Moderate physical activity every day is a healthy option. Remember Taraweeh prayer is considered a physical activity.

Walking is one of the best recommended activities for moderate exercise. However, excessive exercise is best avoided for people who are fasting and should be done two hours after iftar.

Always monitor your glucose prior to any exercise and discuss any question with your doctor.


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