Fasting diets are not a novelty. They have been around for centuries, just not for the weight-loss and health-related purposes they're mostly used for nowadays. But what is suhoor?
Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic religion and culture, encourages an intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion. During Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur'an and spend additional time reading it and performing special prayers and practices.
One of the most widely known practices, even to those who are not a part of the Islamic religion, is fasting from both food and drink from dawn until dusk as a means of cultivating self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. This brings on the question of what to eat before you start your fast in order to stay energetic and nourished for all those hours left in the day.
What Is Suhoor?
Known as the pre-dawn meal or blessed morning meal, suhoor is a very significant element for Muslims during Ramadan, and it has to be substantial in order for it to last all the way until dusk. Since fasting begins at dawn, suhoor is supposed to be eaten before, which usually means waking up at really early hours of the day.
This is why many people tend to skip suhoor altogether, which leaves them at risk of weakness or dehydration until they break their fast. This can pose a huge issue for the majority of people who work normal day jobs and have to be productive during their fasting hours. Making sure to actually wake up and have a premeditated, substantial, and nourishing pre-dawn meal is crucial in order to perform your best.
Culturally, suhoor is not just a meal, but a blessed event, and on the weekends, many Muslim families tend to wake up early and eat it together. After the meal, they wait for the Fajr prayer which symbolizes the beginning of their obligatory fast.
What Should You Eat for Suhoor?
Consuming nutrient-dense and healthy foods for suhoor is extremely important in order to fill yourself up with energy, avoid blood sugar crashes, and stay focused and productive throughout your day.
Suhoor should include the following foods:
- High-protein foods: Lean meats, fish, and plant-based proteins will keep you fuller for longer, help repair and build body tissue, and boost your immune system.
- Vegetables and fruit: High-fiber plants will help keep your blood sugar low, avoiding the rush and crash that only make you fatigued and drain your energy levels. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals and oxidative damage. Additionally, vegetables and fruit help increase feelings of fullness and improve your digestive system.
- Healthy fats: Another amazing source of protein and dietary fiber, these foods are rich in healthy fats and include avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. These foods work to protect your heart health and blood vessels, and support your immune system.
- Complex carbohydrates: Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, helping to sustain energy levels longer.
If you're looking for quick and easy suhoor meals that will be delicious and efficient, you can always prepare a variation of:
- Avocado or hummus toast with eggs for additional protein
- Oatmeal with plenty of toppings
- Yogurt bowls with granola and fruit
- Banana bread with peanut butter
- Poached eggs or frittata
- Banana pancakes with homemade jam
- Vegetable and fruit smoothies
- Rice or quinoa porridge
- Chia pudding with toppings
Here are some ideas if you're interested in more traditional suhoor meals:
- Menemen - an incredible rich Turkish egg dish
- Carrot Maqluba - a traditional Palestinian rice dish
- Qatayef Asafiri - famous sweet stuffed pancakes
- Kunun Gyada - peanut-rice porridge
- Shakshuka - baked eggs in spicy tomato sauce
Try some of these recipes for your suhoor meals this Ramadan month and feel energized throughout your entire fast, getting ready for a nourishing and replenishing dinner.