In a typical African family, the pre-dawn meal must be as heavy as possible. It’s very common to hear women pounding yam at 3am! Infact, most bachelors strive hard to get married before Ramadan so that they won’t have to eat biscuits and Milo again this year!
But guess what? Your level of alertness and productivity is not about how many plates of eba you eat for suhoor. I’m not saying we shouldn’t eat our favourite staples, but servings should be within moderate limits: about the size of your fist. When planning a moderate, well-balanced, filling, yet delicious suhoor, the most important constituents are FIBRE and WATER. Sometimes called “roughage”, dietary fibre keeps you fuller for longer. It contains complex carbohydrates which are digested slowly and release energy over a long period. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains come under this category of food. Opt for whole wheat bread, brown rice and pasta rather than the refined, “white” counterparts
Water is life. Thirst is a sign of dehydration and you cannot rule this out while fasting. So you have to prepare your body for this during suhoor. Aim for at least, two glasses of water. That’s roughly 750ml of water. Eat food that has high moisture contents; such as water melon, cucumber and apples. Drink a glass of milk or chocolate drink. But avoid tea, coffee, sweetened juice and fizzy drinks as these would make you pass more urine and become more thirsty.
You can still enjoy all your traditional foods that are often reserved for Ramadan. Some treats and cheats once in a blue moon is fine. But don’t overdo anything. Resist those cravings. Ramadan is meant to teach us many lessons and self-restraint is top on the list. There is no need to fill yourself up to your throat just because you’re skipping those mid-day snacks and lunch. Focus on the reason for the season and stop thinking of it as a food festival.
May Allaah make it easy for us and accept our fasting and other acts of ‘ebaadah. Amiin.