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During the month-long fasts of Ramadan, it is essential for Muslims to partake in suhoor, the early morning meal that takes place before the sun rises. Suhoor will help to sustain you throughout the long daylight hours until the sun sets and the fast is broken at iftar.
Suhoor comes pretty early in the morning, especially when Ramadan falls during the summer months. It can be tempting to just stay in bed and skip it altogether, but you would be doing yourself a disservice! Suhoor helps to curb the crankiness and weakness one might feel during a day of fasting. It is also Sunnah: the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was known to have said that there are blessings to be had by partaking in suhoor.
The key is to have easy make-ahead dishes, and/or quick-fix meal components on hand. The most traditional food is dates. These fruits are nutritional powerhouses, and are the star of Ramadan, as they are also traditionally eaten to break the fast before Iftar.
Suhoor should be served about thirty minutes before the Fajr prayer is called at dawn, and finished by the time the call (adhaan) is made so that you may come to prayer on time, as the prayer must be completed by sunrise. It is important to not eat or start your fast earlier than necessary, as this would only serve to make Ramadan more difficult than it has to be. It is stated in the Quran:
Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until sunset. (2:187)
Dawn is the time that the sky just begins to lighten before the sun actually peeks over the horizon (which is sunrise).
It is important to consume healthy foods during Ramadan and avoid foods that are void of nutritional benefit (i.e. junk food). Limit things like caffeine and refined or processed carbs like sugar and white flour.
- High Fiber Carbohydrates: It is important to eat foods rich in carbohydrates, especially fiber, to fill you up and keep you from feeling hunger pangs or getting weak throughout the day. Examples include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Protein: Protein is another food that will help you to feel full for longer. Adding in a protein-rich component can help to sustain you throughout the day. Examples include eggs, meats, and cheese.
- Water: Water and other liquids are perhaps the most important component of suhoor. Think of it as your last chance to get your required 8-10 glasses of water per day before the sun rises, and drink up! Liquids such as water, juice, and even milk can help to satisfy this requirement, but be careful to limit caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee and tea, as these drinks can actually dehydrate you.
Simple Suhoor Suggestions
- Hot cereals like oatmeal or farina, fruits, smoothies, and breakfast sandwiches or burritos are best to maintain energy throughout the day.
- Leftovers from iftar (the meal is eaten to break the fast), or mezze components you may have on hand, such as labneh with toasted pita and olives.
- Most of the recipes below are designed to be made ahead, so they will be ready to eat with little to no preparation.
Quick and Healthy Granola Bowl
This quick and easy recipe is packed with protein and fiber to keep you fueled throughout the day.
For each person, place 1/2 cup of plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt in a bowl. Top with 1/4 cup granola and 1/4 cup fresh blueberries or another fruit of your choice. Drizzle the top with honey and serve!
Overnight Crockpot Rice Pudding
Rice pudding comes in many delicious varieties. Although it is generally enjoyed as a dessert, it also makes a pretty awesome breakfast! This lower sugar version is simple to whip up the night before and forget about it until morning, when it will be perfectly cooked and ready for you to eat!
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup sugar
6 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbs vanilla flavoring
1 cinnamon stick, whole
A pinch of nutmeg
Mix together all of the ingredients in a medium-sized crockpot. Set to low heat and allow to cook for 6-8 hours.
Foul muddamas is a delicious spread made of fava beans. This Egyptian recipe is traditionally served with pita and fried or hardboiled eggs.
2 cans small fava beans
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Drain and rinse beans, then place in a medium-sized saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and place on the stove over medium heat until the beans are heated through.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Drain the beans, then mash with a potato masher. Alternately you may also process the beans in a food processor for a smoother consistency.
- Once mashed, mix about 2/3 of the dressing into the beans. Place in a medium-sized serving bowl and smooth out the top. Using the back of a spoon, create a ridge around the sides of the beans, then create a shallow well in the center. Pour the remaining dressing over the top.
- If desired, you may garnish the bean spread with chopped tomato, green onion, fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Serves 6 to 8.
These muffins are tasty, easy to make, and healthy too! You can bake a batch of these ahead of time, then freeze in a large ziplock bag to keep them fresh.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tbs molassas
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 cup dates, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bran, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, molasses, and oil.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the flour is just moistened.
- Stir in the dates.
- Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the cups, then place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool on a baking rack before serving.
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 02, 2017:
I've never heard of foul muddamas, but I love fava beans, so I will definitely give it a try!
I like that you included tips for staying full longer, too. That is so important when fasting.