As a Muslim, I know how tough it can be to figure out what to eat for suhoor in Ramadan. It’s 3 or 4 am and you’re just not quite ready to turn your brain on. Honestly, sometimes you barely have an appetite to eat but you know that if you don’t, it will be a very very tough day.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I have some tips and ideas to hopefully make suhoor an easier and less stressful time. Since the meal is so early, the best way to prepare for it is to actually prepare for it. This means having something ready from the night before or at the very least, decide what it is you would like to eat.
Suhoor needs to last you as long as possible so there are a few components you can include to help it last longer. These are:
-A protein -A whole grain -A healthy fat -Fruit or vegetable
I know it sounds like a lot, but I will share a few ideas at the end that will bring it all together.
Protein: Proteins are foods like meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian sources like lentils, beans, eggs, and dairy products. When it comes to your protein you want to choose leaner proteins like lean cuts of red meat and white chicken meat as well as choosing foods like seafood and vegetarian sources. Everybody’s body is different and some may struggle with meats in the very early morning, so I recommend more vegetarian based sources like lentils, different beans (hummus, foul, pinto beans, etc.), eggs, and dairy products like Greek yogurt.
Grains: Grains are foods that are made out of grains like bread and pasta or the grains themselves like bulgur wheat, wheat berries, and oatmeal. Whole grains are a good choice because they are more complex carbohydrates so they stay longer in your body and provide you with many nutrients including fiber and some protein as well. Fiber helps to slow down digestion (in a good way) which makes you feel full longer.
Healthy Fat: Healthy fats are essential fats that your body needs. These are fats that come from sources like nuts and nut butters, avocados, some fish like salmon and tuna, eggs, and olives and olive oil.
Fruit/Vegetable: Fruits and vegetables will provide added nutrients like vitamins, minerals, as well as water and fiber.
Just as a side note it’s also important to stay away from salty and sugary foods in Ramadan as they can lead to increased thirst and hunger.
Putting it all together - Suhoor Ideas:
Green Eggs and Toast Whole grain toast or tortilla Smashed avocados (try different seasonings like cayenne pepper; salt and pepper; lemon juice) 1-2 eggs (can be scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled with a drizzle of olive oil)
Yogurt Breakfast Parfait 1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt Fruit of choice (berries are the easiest as they require minimal prep) ¼ cup granola (try to choose one with less added sugar) ¼ cup nuts (unsalted)
Oatmeal 1/3 cup steel cut oats 1 cup 2% milk (cook oatmeal in microwave or stove top, if in the microwave – watch for overflowing) Fruit of choice Berries are the easiest Apples tossed in a dash of cinnamon ¼ cup nuts or 1-2 tablespoons nut butter may sweeten with a small amount of sugar, honey, or use whole foods like dates and raisins
Hummus Platter ½ cup hummus (or any other bean like foul) with a drizzle of olive oil Whole grain bread or crackers A side of carrots or cucumbers I ask Allah (swt) to give us the opportunity to witness another Ramadan and to be able to reap its reward and benefits.
For more Ramadan nutrition tips, you can watch the Ramadan Do’s and Don’ts Webinar from last year on Dua the Dietitian’s Facebook page.
If you’re interested in taking your nutrition to the next level through the example of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) this Ramadan, then be sure to sign up for Dua the Dietitian’s Ramadan Webinar Series: “Mindful Eating – A Prophetic Example” Ramadan Series
Dua Aldasouqi is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Health Coach, and the founder of Dua the Dietitian. She has been practicing since 2010 and genuinely believes that our relationship with food should not be complicated. She is also a student at Qalam Institute and loves combining the traditional teachings of Islam with modern day nutrition guidance. You can reach her on her website, Dua the Dietitian, or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr.
Ramadan Do’s and Don’ts (http://bit.ly/2qTS0Vo) “Mindful Eating – A Prophetic Example” Ramadan Series (http://bit.ly/duaRamadan) Dua the Dietitian (www.duardn.com) Facebook (www.facebook.com/duardn) Instagram (www.instagram.com/duardn) Twitter (www.twitter.com/duathedietitian) Tumblr (www.duardn.tumblr.com).