Suhour, a meal eaten at Sahar is the most important meal during Ramadan. And as you prepare for this wondrous season and its traditional practices, one of the most dramatic things that you will probably remember is the deep-rooted ritual of the Musaharati – the man who heralds the approach of Suhour with the beating of his drum.
It is a time when the world is silent before the break of dawn. When the night has all but surrendered to the brightness of a new day and serenity surrounds your soul. When your heart eagerly awaits the thread of light that appears on the horizon and you are overwhelmed by the heavenly rays that touch the earth.
This is the time to partake in the holiest meal of the day, Suhour – a meal that is the symbol of your heartwarming act of worship and one that is your source of your energy all through the day. The importance of suhoor is not less than the importance of Iftar
So to help you realize the importance of this special meal, here are the reasons why starting your day with Suhour is essential:
- It gives you strength and vitality: It’s the body’s primary source of energy during a Ramadan day, especially if the meal is rich in slowly absorbed carbohydrates. Suhour makes fasting easier and tolerable.
- It helps prevent nausea and headaches during the fasting hours, by regulating the level of sugar in the blood.
- It reduces thirst during the day.
- It makes digestion easy and efficient.
It helps cover nutritional needs, when it is balanced and includes a variety of food. Now that you know why suhour is important,here are some useful suhour tips and food ideas to make it healthier, it will also be helpful in weight loss:
- The meal should contain all the nutrients needed by the body (proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) and have easily digestible foods so that it doesn’t cause any stomach discomfort.
- Drink sufficient water to avoid feeling thirsty during the fasting hours.
- Avoid salty foods such as pickles, olives, salted nuts and canned food. Also avoid ‘heavy’ desserts such as kunafa and baklava, fatty and fried foods, and spicy foods, which increase thirst.
- Light sweets such as puddings, mouhallabia or rice pudding can be consumed during Suhour as it gives a feeling of fullness and provides the body with energy and sugar needed when you are fasting, thus preventing you from feeling tired during the day.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT AT SUHOUR
If you’re worried about what to eat for suhoor, you should know that a balanced and varied Suhour is the best to provide the body with all the essential food groups (bread and cereals, milk and dairy products, meat and legumes, fruits and vegetables) as guided below:
- Complex carbohydrates: Equivalent to one cup of rice or spaghetti, two slices of bread, ½ loaf of Arabic bread or one bowl of whole-grain cereals for suhour
- Protein: Equivalent to 4 cheese slices, 60 grams of meat, two eggs, one small plate of labneh or 1 cup of legumes (such as fava beans)
- Assorted vegetables
- A fresh fruit
- One glass of milk or yoghurt
- Dried fruits and dairy or dates and milk would be a great idea to have at Suhour along a serving of complex carbohydrates as mentioned above and sliced vegetables!
ASK THE DIETICIAN
WHAT SHOULD I GIVE MY CHILDREN AT SUHOUR?
Children who are fasting can be served eggs or cheese, bread, dates, 1 teaspoon of honey and milk during this meal; these foods contain B vitamins, calcium, proteins and carbohydrates, which activate digestion and provide the child with the energy needed for fasting.
CAN I HAVE THE SUHOUR MEAL AT MIDNIGHT?
The best Ramadan suhour time is before dawn. Although this may involve waking up earlier, it will ensure that your body benefits from the nutrients and energy provided by the Suhour meal for longer hours during the day.