A Healthy Ramadan Fast Begins with a Healthy Suhoor!

Assalam Alaikum brothers and sisters!  The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us, a time when we can focus on our spirituality and faith, and try to leave our bad habits in dunya behind to work on our imaan.  It seems that many people who fast during Ramadan tend to binge on unhealthy foods during Iftar, and often skip Suhoor to catch an extra hour of sleep instead.  While this temptation is understandable, it is not the ideal way to maintain our health, especially not when done consistently for 30 days.  Unfortunately, as strange as it seems, so many of us end Ramadan 10 pounds heavier and significantly less healthy than when we began our 30 days of fasting!

As a Certified Health Educator, I have the opportunity to help many people with their medical conditions and health goals.  I cannot stress enough the importance of Suhoor during Ramadan.  As much as we are eager to make this month-long sacrifice to demonstrate our faith to Allah SWT, we should not do so at the cost of our own health.  This is why even within Islam, certain leniency and permissions are given to those who are sick, and they are exempt from fasting.  Allah SWT did not intend Ramadan as a burden on us; rather it was meant to be a joy and a time to celebrate our imaan and commitment to the deen!

I get many questions about the best foods to eat for Suhoor.  While many of us desis tend to eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, like bread and jam, a few biscuits, some roti, or a little cereal, if we can add some nutrients to our Suhoor, it can make our fast much smoother and more enjoyable and healthy.  Read below to discover some healthy Suhoor options to try out that will provide energy for the remainder of the day.

Yogurt with Honey and Fresh Peaches

Yogurt is a great way to start the day.   It is an easily digested form of protein and calcium, and when combined with honey and fresh fruit, it will give you a burst of energy to enhance your morning prayer and other activities without needing artificial sugar and caffeine to wake you up.

Vegetable Omelette with Sliced Oranges

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, one of the most important nutrients for strength and energy.  Crack 2 eggs, add some fresh chopped spinach, cilantro, onions and mushrooms and give yourselves the perfect power combo a high-protein, high-fiber and delicious Suhoor meal that will keep you feeling full and energized for hours.  The oranges will give you a healthy dose of Vitamin C for the day.

Barley Porridge with Mixed Berries 

Barley is one of the most nutritious grains available.  It is loaded with fiber and provides anti-oxidants to protect the body.  To make barley porridge, simply add one cup of barley and 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt into a pot, boil and them simmer for about 40 minutes.  You can prep the barley at night after Iftar to save time in the morning. Top the porridge with a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon, and mix in some fresh blueberries and raspberries before serving.   

Whole Grain Bread with Mashed Avocado

Avocado toast has become very popular in recent years, and for a very good reason – avocados are considered a superfood because they are packed with nutrients.  While most other vegetables are made up of carbohydrates, avocados are made of mainly healthy fats, which are essential for our bodies and found in limited foods only.  Simply mash a fresh avocado, add some chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and a squirt of lime, and spread on whole grain toast.  You can also top this with sliced fresh cucumber to give it a little extra crunch.  This is a truly delicious first thing in the morning.

Strawberry Smoothie with Crushed Walnuts

Sometimes when we have had a heavy Iftar meal at night, we prefer something light for Suhoor the following morning.  A strawberry smoothie is the perfect healthy snack to prep you for the day of fasting ahead.  Just throw a cup of fresh cut strawberries, a frozen banana, a cup of vanilla yogurt, a splash of orange juice and a little honey and blend everything til it’s smooth.  Add a spoon or two of crushed walnuts on top for added protein and healthy fat, and enjoy this cool and sweet healthy treat.

Boiled Eggs with Chopped Peppers and Onions

This simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes and will fill your body with energy and nutrients for several hours.  While you are hard-boiling 2 eggs, chop up half a green and/or pepper, and half an onion.  Once the eggs are boiled, cut into chunks, add a pinch of salt and black pepper, and mix with the chopped onion and pepper, and chow down on this protein-packed easy meal.  Also feel free to add a few tomato slices on the side for extra healthy points!

Any of these healthy Suhoor options are a delicious and nutritious way to begin your daily activities during this blessed month.  Remember, Allah SWT prefers a strong believer to a weak one, and the Prophet SAW said: “Eat Suhoor, for there is blessing in Suhoor.”  So follow the sunnah, let go of the extra hour of sleep and prepare yourself to have a blessed day devoted to the dhikr of Allah SWT!

About the Author. 

Priya Massand is a Muslim revert who has been working in the healthcare field for 10 years. She has a Master's Degree in Public Health, and is a Master-Certified Health Education Specialist. Priya runs the popular Instagram account @healthy.muslims. She currently works as a Health Educator in New York.

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