Sahur – The Most Important Meal of the Day
By Indra Balaratnam
The most important meal during Ramadan is sahur, or the pre-dawn meal. Sahur provides the nourishment your body needs to get going after a long night of fasting. Without sahur, not only are you likely to feel lethargic, but it will also be difficult for you to sustain your fast and replenish body stores that have been depleted through the night. So missing sahur is not advisable, if you want to last through the day with minimal digestive discomfort, and successfully complete a whole month of fasting. If you are one of those who normally do not wake up early to prepare a meal, it is advisable for you to reorganize your schedule to make time for a quick nutritious sahur.
Since sahur is very early in the morning:
- Pre-plan your menu and get the ingredients ready before bed-time the night before.
- You could also consider cooking up convenient one-dish meals with a variety of ingredients to get the nutrition you need to kick-start your fast.
- A stir-fried rice with meat, chicken or fish and vegetables makes for a great balanced one-dish meal.
- Another warm and satisfying quick and easy one-dish meal is oatmeal with added fruits and nuts
- Or a hearty soup that has quick cooking oats added for a fuller meal.
- A source of whole grain carbohydrates that provide the fuel you need to kick start the day. They also provide protein (1, 2), B vitamins, Vitamin E, minerals (including iron), and fiber (3). Oats are a good source of dietary fiber and are a better sahur option than white rice, as oats provide 7 times more dietary fiber than white rice (4, 5).
- In particular, the soluble fiber in oats helps you stay full for longer, because it dissolves in water and forms a gel that slows down the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines (6, 7).
You will never be bored with the versatility of cooking Ramadan meals with oats. There’s a taste for everyone in the family with oats. Here are some ideas:
- Quick cooking oats can be added to savoury soup and a variety of vegetables, or sweet porridge with low fat milk, fruit, raisins and nuts.
- Add rolled oats into the rice cooker as you cook your rice and serve it with your favourite meat/chicken and vegetable dish.
- Blend quick cooking oats together with low fat milk or yogurt and fruit to make a smoothie.
- Use oats as crumbs to coat meats and bake it for a healthier crispy wholegrain crumb.
- Instead of white flour, use oats to make pancakes, muffins, cakes and cookies.
Consider these wholesome choices for sahor:
• Quick cooking oats pre-soaked in low fat milk in the refrigerator for a few hours with your choice of fruits and nuts.
• Quaker Sweet Oat Pots made with low fat milk
• Quaker Good Start Biscuit with a cup of low fat milk or yoghurt and a fruit
1) Nutrition analysis of Quaker Quick Cooking Oats and Instant Oats
2) The Whole Grain – Greater Than the Sum of its Parts. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.quakeroats.com/Libraries/pdf/The_Whole_Grain_Greater_than_the_Sum_of_its_Parts.sflb.ashx
3) Oats & Satiety Information booklet. The Quaker Oats Company, 2013
4) Nutrition Analysis of Quick Cooking Oats and Instant Oats
5) Nutrition Analysis of raw un-enriched white rice, USDA, Nutrient Database, NDB No. 20444.
6) Kristensen M, et al. Dietary fiberfibers in the regulation of appetite and food intake. Importance of viscosity. Appetite. 2011; 56(1):65-70
7) Wanders AJ, et al. Effects of dietary fiberfiber on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight; a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2011; 12:724-39