Fasting in Ramadan - diet recommendation
July 29, 2011 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I am Muslim. I will being fasting in two days. Fasting will be from dawn til sunset. I have never fasting in the month of August. Days will be long. Dawn will be at 4am and sunset at 8.45pm. What should I eat to keep myself satiated? I was thinking something like clam chowder at the pre dawn meal?? What about drinks? Hot or cold? Also, does anyone know what to eat at sunset to break the fast? Any foods I should keep away from? Drinks?
posted by alshain to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Eat as much fat as you can. Avoid carbohydrates, especially sugar.
posted by shponglespore at 10:15 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Make sure you drink lots of water.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:16 AM on July 29, 2011

Yah, definitely fat and get a good amount of protein too if you can: I suggest peanut butter or other nuts, or whatever meat/fish products you can stomach and are acceptable in your diet. A thick, hearty clam chowder definitely sounds like a good idea. And as shponglespore said, skip the sugars (a.k.a. carbs), those will wear you down right away and you'll be wiped in an hour or two. Fat, on the other hand, will help you feel as full as possible for longer and will provide you with energy for longer.
posted by dubitable at 10:19 AM on July 29, 2011

This is something I know little about, but do have a question- would protein shakes count as food or as a drink? I would say, if you could, drink a protein shake or 2 during the day to help with sluggishness and energy.
posted by TheBones at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2011

TheBones: It's Ramadan. The OP cannot eat or drink anything during daylight hours.

I worry anything soupy would make a faster transit through the stomach than solid food and not keep you full for a long period.

Definitely proteins and fats. Chicken thighs would be great. Avoid sugar and carbs.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:28 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are some interesting ideas here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:32 AM on July 29, 2011

If I had to go nearly 17 hours without eating, I would eat a big serving (let's say 12 oz) of beef, poultry, pork, or lamb, accompanied with a lot of vegetables (to keep the GI tract moving right along despite the fact) and a lot of healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, chickpeas).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:35 AM on July 29, 2011

I'm told by someone who has connections in the porridge industry that Muslim Middle Eastern countries go though huge quantities of porridge during Ramadan.
posted by rhymer at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am not Muslim, but fasted during Ramadan while living in a majority Muslim country. Please take my comments with appropriately salt-grain sized heft.

One practice that I appreciated was to eat a very small meal at the end of the fast, to replenish and get some sugar back in the system, then a larger meal later at night. For the small repast, we had dates, water, and coffee. Although I'm sure many would recommend against coffee, it was such a delicious part of the meal and helped everyone stay awake for a later dinner. The dinner was rice-based, with a moderate amount of oil and protein. This wasn't a wealthy community, so this diet may be shaped more by economy than by nutritional ideals.

Breakfast was porridge. It really sticks with you for the day. My experience was that the first few days of Ramadan were always the hardest in terms of hunger; after that, the body got used to it, and it was mostly the dehydration that was difficult to cope with. We would drink as much as we comfortably could in the early morning and sleep as late as possible, depending on the demands of the season.
posted by itstheclamsname at 10:52 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm also in Toronto. Last year I went with a normal breakfast (bowl of cereal or toast/croissant) plus a boiled egg for the morning meal. That did me fine for the day. In the evening I'd have a small snack (some chocolate, cookie, etc - I do not like dates) at work and then bike home 15k where I'd have a regular supper. Depending on the day supper could have been anytime from really soon after Maghrib prayers to around midnight depending on how busy work was.

When you look at the fasting it seems like it'll be really hard, but if you are reasonably healthy it isn't a big deal. The first couple of days will be tough but you'll get used to your new eating schedule fairly quickly. There may even be days where you will sleep through the morning meal - you will still be fine for the fast.

You don't need to overeat. There will be lots of Iftar parties and gatherings with a great temptation to pile food on to your plate. Stick with a normal meal and you'll be fine.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2011

I'd do what Inspector.gadget suggested...heavy on protein. Steak or lamb will fill you up for a long time. Some times, when I know I'll have a busy day, I'll get up early to go to a breakfast place and get country friend steak, this can be made healthier, and will still get by without staving for 12+ hours of work. Try not to eat too much carb, if you do, try complex carbohydrate.

If you're not a beef eater, have turkey bacon, eggs and wheat toast. This breakfast keeps me full till late lunch, although I am constantly drinking coffee or water. Since you can't, try to hydrate yourself in the morning, early morning.
posted by icollectpurses at 11:13 AM on July 29, 2011

I worry anything soupy would make a faster transit through the stomach than solid food and not keep you full for a long period.

I saw a fairly reliable documentary that displayed the opposite of that, in it they had a group of ten workers, fed 5 an english breakfast and the other 5 the same breakfast but thoroughly liquidised. The people who ate the liquidised breakfast remained full for a lot longer. I can't remember the reasoning, perhaps something to do with it being easier to digest and therefore the nutrients escaped the food more readily.
posted by pmcp at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw that documentary recently about weight and its relation to the food we eat. They did an experiment where one group of army recruits ate a Sunday roast and the other ate the same in a soup form. The soup group stayed fuller for much longer. They said that this was because the liquid couldnt be extracted from the solid nutrients. This slowed down the digestion because the body usually empties the stomach of the liquid first before digesting the solids.

But I think that would only be useful if the meal was liquidised. I think soup is a bit different from a liquidised Roast Dinner.

"10 Things You Need to Know about Losing Weight" with Michael Mosley it was called.
posted by Trudeau at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Traditionally, you break the fast every evening by eating dates. More on Iftar. If you're a recent convert or if this is your first Ramadan, it's best to gain more knowledge through your local Imam or at least through contact with the local Ummah.
posted by ruelle at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2011

Eat lots and lots of protein. Tuna and cottage cheese. Farro soup. Eggs.
posted by heartofglass at 12:38 PM on July 29, 2011

Ful is the traditional Ramadan breakfast.

Ramadan kareem!
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think hot or cold matters. I would go for balance - lean protein, healthy fats, veggies for nutrients and fiber. Avoid starchy and sugary things, which will leave you with a sugar crash and hungry again soon. Some whole grains would be okay.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:18 PM on July 29, 2011

Here are some ideas of things to eat in the evening to break the fast.
posted by Lexica at 2:13 PM on July 29, 2011

I'm not a Muslim, but I usually eat once a day. I'd suggest a big meal of cooked lamb on it's own with no carbs in the morning, then fast, then eat whatever in the evening.

Or else try skipping a meal in the morning (unless that's mandatory) and eat it all at night, making sure to get plenty of protein and fat.

Carbs in the morning is the worst idea imo as they'll make you hungry and low energy in the day. There's not really any that can sustain you all day.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2011

As part of a 28 day Outward Bound course we fasted for 3 days. The first thing we were fed was raw yogurt and granola. It did seem to restore us pretty quickly.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:23 PM on July 29, 2011

"Ful is the traditional Ramadan breakfast."

Yeah, not in Morocco. Yuk. :) We eat bread, yogurt, dates, and bananas, + tea and juice for the pre-dawn meal. I also like oatmeal/cream of wheat, they're very filling.

I'm usually not hungry throughout the day, it's the thirst that gets to me. :( Try to keep a carafe of water by your bed at night and drink some whenever you wake up, even if it's just briefly.

Also, you're probably aware that it's not about keeping yourself satiated - the idea is to be subduing your base instincts (nafs), so being hungry throughout the month is ok.
posted by HopperFan at 4:50 PM on July 29, 2011

If you're a regular coffee drinker (or other caffeine) you will get a headache from lack of caffeine through the day. When fasting, I have found that having a big cup of coffee before the fast helps with that. Note that you will have to balance this with the threat of dehydration, so don't overdo it.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:54 PM on July 29, 2011

What about a bowl of oatmeal, made with milk, with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter mixed in and a sliced banana? (I eat that in the morning before i go skiing, because i want to stay full long enough to have a late lunch so i don't need to deal with lunch hour lineups! And it totally works! )
posted by Kololo at 8:04 PM on July 29, 2011

Is drinking water allowed on a Ramadan fast? If so, make sure you drink lots of it. If not, avoid eating anything salty in the hours prior to the fast as it will make you incredibly thirsty during the day. This is something I learned the hard way on Yom Kippur.
posted by falameufilho at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2011

I don't know whether you drink caffeinated drinks - tea, coffee, colas. If you do, you'll probably get caffeine-withdrawal headaches during your fast. There's not a whole lot of time to do this, but start getting yourself off caffeine by halving the amount you drink today and tomorrow, and take something like ibuprofen or aspirin to deal with the resultant headaches. It's better to have them now than when you're fasting. And next year, start at least a week before the fast.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:36 AM on July 30, 2011

Camel up!

This site says "carbs over protein", weird, now I don't know what to believe.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 7:30 PM on July 31, 2011

You need to understand fat as well to get the full picture. Meat, eggs etc are not just a 'protein'
posted by Not Supplied at 10:23 PM on July 31, 2011

Here's an article about "Turkey's top iftar tables" — the restaurants in Turkey that do the best evening post-fast meal.

Just reading the names of the dishes they're serving is making my mouth water.
posted by Lexica at 10:25 AM on August 25, 2011

« Older Songs like Melanie Safka's Brand New Key?   |   It's the kitchen sink - in my salad bowl. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.