Suhoor (pre-dawn meal)
Suhoor needs to be wholesome to provide enough energy to last during the long hours of fasting. Suhoor should include the following foods
- Fruits and vegetables
Rich in fibre, fruits and vegetables are essentials during fasting as they increase the feeling of fullness and help prevent constipation. They also contain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are vital for good health.
- Rice and alternatives
High-fibre carbohydrate foods like brown rice and wholemeal bread take longer to digest, helping to sustain energy levels longer.
- Meat and alternatives
Skinless chicken, fish and low-fat dairy products are a great source of protein while limiting your fat intake. Furthermore, they help repair and build body tissue, and build up your immune system.
Consuming high-calcium dairy products also helps maintain strong bones. Those that are lactose intolerant can choose lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soybean milk.
Iftar is the time you replenish energy levels so every effort should be made to consume foods from all major food groups: fruit and vegetables, rice and alternatives, as well as meat and alternatives (which include dairy).
- Fruit and vegetables
Nutritionists recommend a minimum of 2 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day. “Make sure you have 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of veg at each of your two meals. Traditionally during Ramadan, dates are eaten at the start of Iftar to symbolise the breaking of the fast. Besides being an excellent source of energy, dates are also rich in potassium – helping muscles and nerves to function well. But don’t consume too much as dates are high in sugar!
- Rice and alternatives
Wholemeal bread, brown rice or wholegrain noodles are complex carbohydrates that provide the body with energy, fibre and minerals. Compared to sugary foods and desserts that burn quickly, they provide more stable and sustainable energy levels.
- Meats and alternatives
Incorporate protein rich sources such as lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs,legumes and low-fat dairy products.
To keep your meals healthy, limit the use of oil and opt for steaming, grilling, baking or shallow frying instead. When choosing oils, you should also pick those that are high in unsaturated fats such as canola oil and soybean oil.
Foods to Avoid Completely
- Deep fried foods, e.g. Samosa’s & Pakora’s, (you can have yogurt chat, chickpeas)
- High Sugar / High Fat Foods, e.g. Indian Sweets, Baklava, (for a treat you can have milk based sweets Rasmalai or Barfee
- High Fat cooked foods, Paratha’s, Oily curries & greasy pastries, (you can have chapatti’s and grilled meat, fish and chicken)
- Avoid Fizzy and Energy drinks and Caffeine drinks like Tea and Coffee
- Avoid smoking during the month of Ramadan, (you can have plenty of water to keep hydrated)