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Jul 20, 2012 08:47 AM

RAMADAN- What are you eating as your pre-dawn meal? (suhur/s7ur)

Ramadan starts today, which means abstaining from food and drink (yes, even water) from sunrise to sunset for a month. Where I live, that lasts from 4:20am-8:50pm on this particular day.

We usually wake up before dawn for a meal, and my usual is yogurt/granola/dates, decaf Nescafe with milk, and a banana. What are you eating? Even if you don't fast, could you suggest something more filling?

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  1. Salaam! I usually try to include some form of protein and/or fat plus fiber in my pre-dawn meal for satiety.

    Go-to's for me in the past have been:
    -Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat (fat and protein from peanuts, fiber from ww bread)
    -Leftover haleem (protein from the lentils, fat from the meat, fiber from the grain)
    -Eggs and leftover vegetables with whole wheat toast (protein from the eggs, fat from the oil to cook the eggs, fiber from the vegetables and toast)
    -Eggs on potato pancakes or hash browns with quick-sauteed spinach (protein from eggs, fat from cooking potatoes, fiber from the spinach)
    -Canned sardines and avocado on whole wheat toast (protein and fat from the sardines, fat from the avocado, fiber from the toast)
    -Lower-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with chopped raw vegetables and hot sauce (protein and fat from the cottage cheese, fat from the oil, fiber from the vegetables.)

    The yogurt and milk in your meal are a good source of protein. Consider others, as well as healthful fats, that you might like as part of your meal (I personally am OK with eating "non-traditional breakfast foods" before 4 AM, but your mileage may vary. :)

    And I think it goes without saying, but PLENTY of water accompanies this meal as well. I find that the days I feel worst are when I didn't drink enough water. I usually drink at least 16 ounces, minimum, and I do not have a job/lifestyle where I have to be intensively physical.

    My best wishes!

    1 Reply
    1. re: 4Snisl

      Excellent suggestions. Thanks for all the details, love it! I don't think I can do canned sardines/avocado that early in the morning, but I'm looking forward to trying that combination once I'm able to have lunch again! Yes and water is SO important. I weaned myself off of caffeine a few weeks before Ramadan to avoid the headaches, and now decaf does the trick.

    2. Try black beans in a crock pot. Season as you like. Have with fried potatoes or fried yuca and a fried egg on top. All mixed together in a bowl with some salsa is awesome. Also have some fruit that is very watery like oranges or watermelon or what have you. Black beans release their energy slowly.

      You could also try Arabic style breakfast with either fool or brown beans or even addis, some type of cheese, some type of labna, some type of egg, egg cake, or omelette, some cream with honey, some tahini halwa, and some flat bread. All items are set out in small dishes and you eat bits of each one. Most stuff you can make the night before and just unwrap for breakfast, except the eggs which will of course be best fresh. A nice combo or carbs, proteins, and fats to fill the belly.

      I would just avoid something that is purely carb based cuz it will make your blood sugar dip a lot later on even if it fills the belly (like a big plate of pancakes or something.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: luckyfatima

        Interesting about the black beans. I need to find a way to get them down at 4 am, what do you season with? Just salt and pep? And the watermelon idea makes so much sense, but I've never thought of it! I have lots :D I love Arabic style breakfasts used to make them for suhur before I had kids, but I find it generates so much dishes/noise when I'm tidying up, and I'm trying so hard not to wake up my 1 and 3 year old that early! But, good suggestion nonetheless!

        1. re: maabso

          I happen to love black beans so getting them down is no problem. I used to season them up with a lot of garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt, liquid smoke, and some smoked turkey type sausage or bacon type product. I basically attemted halal feijoada, and loved it. But recently I tried plain re-hydrated stewed black beans that seamed to be just salt and beans, perhaps a little garlic. The beans were so flavorful on their own. I really enjoyed. I had these beans at a couple of different Peruvian roasted chicken places that are ubiquitous in my area. So simple and so delicious. I never have a problem eating at any time of the day, so getting them down at 4 am is not an issue. But are heavy.

      2. I'm always curious about different religions. How does Ramadan work if someone is not able to fast, or particularly must have liquids, due to serious & thoroughly documented health issues? Is there some sort of dispension given?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1

          I do not observe Ramadan, but I know there are categories of people who are not required to fast. From my understanding, this covers the very young, the elderly, those who cannot fast for medical/healthy reasons, those who are travelling far from home, pregnant women, and even women who are menstruating, among others. I'm sure others have much more detailed information on this... (and by others, that could also include google :))

          1. re: calmossimo

            Yes, that's right. If one is not able to fast due to compromised health, pregnancy, breast feeding, age, or what have you, one is simply not required to fast. That is between the believer and her Creator. It is recommended, though, that if one is not able to fast and one can afford to do so, one should feed the poor or donate money to feed the poor in order to earn the same stars on the chart with the Creator. Also, if one has a short illness that prevents fasting just for a few days during Ramadan, one can optionally make up those missed fasts during any time of the year before the next Ramadan.

        2. As someone who does not observe, I would view this somewhat as a cleansing diet, where people only drink a special drink. I know my personal body and eating a huge meal with the expectation of not eating for what you are explaining is 14 1/2 hours would be impossible. I would definitely stay away from stuff like salty foods such as peanut butter or anything processed. I would also stay away from heavy foods such as potatoes, rice, beans and most meats. I think I would definitely do a late dinner of a heavier meal, maybe grilled chicken and vegetables and for breakfast have a salad of tomato, cucumbers and avocado. The last thing I would eat is a banana. I personally don't like yogurt, but I was going to suggest yogurt or some low sodium cottage cheese.

          Always amazed at the dedication this takes. As a person who grew up celebrating Jewish holidays, I know how hard one day can be.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jhopp217

            I have to really be careful not to overdo it when I break my fast. Our meals usually include all of the 'no-nos' you mentioned, and I never thought anything of it, but maybe I'll keep the meals lighter. It makes sense too, because I'm usually full after the soup or salad I start with; I just need to follow my body's signals and eat light instead of forcing myself to make up for what I've missed. Great suggestions. It is hard at first, but after a week or so you get used it. It always makes me realize how much time I spend thinking about/preparing for/eating food!!! I have so much more free time! ha!

          2. I drove past my local mosque this morning and remembered that it was Ramadan. Salaam and Ramadan mubarak!

            Eggs eggs eggs, but I agree with others that one shouldn't overdo the salt since you must fast from drink as well. I often find that my favorite breakfast -- two eggs, two pieces of sprouted grain toast, put the eggs on one piece of toast and slather the other with peanut butter, two cups of tea with whole milk -- keeps me full for so long that I forget to eat lunch. Cottage cheese, tomato, and cucumber on sprouted-grain toast is also VERY filling and delicious. A banana would likely make me crash midmorning -- my blood sugar's pretty sensitive, though. And this is just my experience but if you can get your hands on sprouted-grain bread, I find that it lasts longer and doesn't spike my blood sugar as much as the ordinary kind.


            1 Reply
            1. re: LauraGrace

              Ramadan is almost over, that almost flew by! I used your tip about not eating a banana because of the sugar crash. Thanks :D