If you’ve heard that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day… how important do you think your SUHOOR is when fasting?! Your health in Ramadan is largely determined by the foods you choose to put in your body in the few hours in which you are able to eat.
When you are fasting, your body burns through the fuel from your suhoor meal first, before transitioning to fat burning. Thus, your first and primary source of fuel is your Suhoor and has a tremendous impact on your energy levels for the entire day!
If you eat suhoor that is well-balanced and full of energising healthy nutrients, you will have high energy to worship Allah all day long Insha’Allah! But, if you eat foods that are low in fiber, full of sugar, and low in nutrients, you will experience low energy and barely make it until Maghrib, feeling hungry all day! If you want to supercharge your fast and have MORE energy for worship, family, work and EVERYTHING in your life… start the day with an AMAZING SUHOOR!
Remember, Suhoor is strongly encouraged for the fasting Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“Eat Suhoor, for there are blessings in it.” 1
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also said regarding suhoor:
“The Suhoor is a meal of blessings, so do not leave it, even if one of you just takes a gulp of water, as Allah sends mercy and His angels seek forgiveness for those who take Suhoor.” 2
Keep in mind that your soul has a home—and that is your body! Our body requires proper fuel to keep ourselves running at top performance. If you want to get through some serious worship, you need serious energy!
Here are 5 tips to make sure your suhoor is as nutritious as possible to fuel your fast all day long!
1. Eat foods high in fibre at Suhoor
At Suhoor, you want to eat high-fibre foods that will keep you feeling full longer throughout the day to help keep hunger pangs away! Examples of high-fibre food include BROWN or WHOLEMEAL grains (eg. brown rice, brown roti, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal couscous, etc.) as well as vegetables (eg. spinach) and fruits (eg. apples).
2. Eat foods high in protein at Suhoor
Like high-fibre foods, protein also helps you feel fuller throughout the day, and is a great source of energy for your fast! Great examples of protein suhoors include boiled eggs, oatmeal, quinoa, fish, or even leftover chicken breast. Leftovers high in protein are a great way to feel more satisfied during your fast!
3. Drink more water at suhoor
You’ve heard this before… you MUST hydrate at Suhoor, especially if you are fasting in a country in which it is a hot summer day! Start and end your suhoor meal with water and try to drink 1-3 cups of water at suhoor. This will keep you from feeling parched or thirsty throughout the day! Bonus tip: Start drinking water as soon as you wake up for suhoor so you have longer to sip your cups of water slowly and comfortably!
4. Ban the sugar at Suhoor
Remember, Suhoor is a FUELLING opportunity for your body. Don’t waste this precious opportunity on junk food that gives you little to no nutritional benefit! Sugar doesn’’t give you ANY nutrients or benefits, so do NOT eat it at Suhoor! The majority of commercial and kid cereals are LOADED with added sugar which won’t help you OR your kids! Instead, go for sugar-free oatmeal topped with berries for a bit of natural sweetness. Read labels and watch out for jams, muffins and breakfast bars with added sugar. Even if a product “looks healthy”, flip it over and look for the ingredients! As much as you can, try to make a rule for your suhoor… NO ADDED SUGAR!
5. Get 1-3 food groups in your Suhoor.
Still in the habit of eating sugary cereal for Suhoor? No way! This is one of your 2 meals of the day, so try to squeeze more nutrients in through a few different food groups. For example, add berries to your oatmeal and finish off with a glass of milk to get three easy food groups (fruits, dairy, carbohydrates). Or, slice some tomatoes under a chopped boiled egg on whole wheat roti (carbohydrates, vegetables, protein). Or, enjoy banana, peanut butter and a cup of yogurt (dairy, healthy fats, fruits). There’s so many easy ways to sneak in more food groups for a more nutritious morning meal!
Now that you know the basics for a SUPER-CHARGED SUHOOR… Here are 5 amazing HEALTHY example Suhoor meals to get you started and give you loads of energy!!
1. For the typical breakfast lover…PORRIDGE
Porridge or oatmeal is a great way to start any day. Add some chopped dried unsalted nuts or fresh fruits to your porridge for that extra boost to your metabolism. Rolled oats and berries make a fantastic suhoor option! Replacing normal milk with cashew or almond milk will also provide you with some extra calcium, protein, potassium and iron. Potassium reduces thirst so it’s definitely a good choice!
If you want to add that extra protein, have a boiled egg beside that porridge. Not only will you get essential proteins, but the egg will provide you with slow releasing energy to help you throughout the day.
2. For the high-speed suhoor seeker… SMOOTHIE.
If you always seem to run short of time for suhoor, then you can prepare the night before by placing some blueberries, raspberries, banana, strawberries and bio yogurt into a freezer bag and popping it into the freezer. At Suhoor, you can blend all these with milk for a quick smoothie. It’s excellent for the summer and it’s also packed with all sorts of nutrients. You can even add some dry oats into the mixture when blending; this would provide added carbs for extra energy.
3. For the bread lover… WHOLEGRAIN TOAST.
If you are a fan of toast, then opting for whole grain toast with all-natural peanut butter may be the suhoor for you. You can have toast with omelet or with a glass of soya milk. You can even have toast with beans. Whole grain bread is the key!
4. For the meat lover…GRILLED CHICKEN (with veggies).
If you have a little more time on your hands and you have some space in your stomach after that large iftari, then you can have grilled chicken with steamed vegetables. These can be very quick to make if you have some chopped vegetables prepared (some excellent choices for veggies: sweet potatoes, leeks, kidney beans, carrots and green beans). You can add whatever vegetables you like with it and to make your suhoor even better, you can have pouched or dry- fried eggs with it. If you like your veggies raw, then why not add all of that into one delicious grilled chicken salad? add your favourite veggies your chicken, boiled eggs, drizzle some olive oil, add some nuts and… voila!
5. And for the traditionalist…ROTI.
If you’re like my family who can’t live without roti, then this is the option for you. Have roti with lentil soup / dhaal or a vegetable dish that is VERY light in oil – try dry-frying, instead! Add an omelet or boiled eggs to this and have a banana or an apple to squeeze in some fibre and potassium. Simple changes to your morning meal routine can make a HUGE difference in your energy levels throughout the day, inshAllah!
About the Authors
Shafia Younas is a graduate in Health and Wellbeing with a Nutrition Sciences degree. Amina Khan is the founder of Amanah Fitness, an organization aimed at fitness & nutrition education towards a healthier Ummah! Amanah Fitness seeks to improve health and wellness through health, nutrition and exercise programs of the highest quality. Amanah Fitness has prepared a special HEALTHY EATING & EXERCISE IN RAMADAN eBook – Grab your copy HERE at www.amanahfitness.com/ramadan! Be sure to like Amanah Fitness on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amanahfitness for more free health advice!