A promising young footballer who is featured in the Birmingham City FC books has launched a campaign to better prepare Muslim athletes at all levels for fasting during Ramadan.
Layla Banaras, 15, will be observing her second fast this year and decided to work with a club nutritionist to produce a Ramadan nutrition guide and meal planner after finding little to no resources available last year.
She currently trains four times a week and plays competitive matches throughout her fast, so understanding the best ways to eat for elite level sport is paramount.
Together with sports nutritionist Isobel Cotham, Layla’s guide not only gives examples of foods to eat, but also introduces the science of what, when and why Muslim athletes should eat and drink during religious time. She also worked with the PFA to produce a meal planner, so that participants could record their consumption and how they felt.
Layla was spotted by Birmingham City at the age of eight and rose through the ranks to the Under-16 team. Since her first fast last year, she has worked hard with the relevant experts to ensure that she can help as many young Muslim athletes as possible. Her efforts were recognized by The Sunday Times before Christmas, when she was named Young Inspiration of the Year.
Speaking on her Ramadan nutrition guide, Layla said: “Religion and football are both a part of my life, so when it comes to fasting I have to be prepared for both. plays a lot, so it’s hard to maintain my energy level without any professional advice – that’s why I wanted to create these plans, so that Muslim athletes can continue to perform at their best.
“I don’t see many athletes on TV who look like me, and if the work that the club, the PFA, the nutritionist and I have done can encourage more Muslims to play sports, I will be extremely proud. “
You can read the documents below.