Tips for Better Sahur Morning Meals

Want to make your Ramadan mornings just a little bit better? Here are some tips to have better sahur meals and mornings this holy month.

by Sarah Anati

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar, with its significance being observed by Muslims all over the world. During the month of Ramadan, able-bodied Muslims partake in a fast that takes place from dawn to dusk. In preparation for the day’s fast, Muslims wake before the break of dawn to eat their morning meal. This occurrence is called sahur. Sahur is the pre-dawn meal consumed by Muslims that ends at the start of Fajr prayer. Below are some tips to make sahur mornings more successful. 

Give yourself ample time in the morning

For a good head start, it is best to get adequate sleep the night before to wake up rested and refreshed for the early morning ritual. When waking up in the morning, refrain from hitting the snooze button on your alarm. Start planning sahur meals the night before and prepare meals in advance to avoid the hassle of cooking. Planning or even setting aside some of your favourite meals will tempt you out of bed in the mornings with the expectation of your favourite eats. 

Avoid high sodium, spicy and sweet foods

While it may seem like a good idea to have instant noodles for sahur as it is a quick and easy meal to prepare, it may not be the best choice. Foods that are salty and spicy are known to cause more intense thirst throughout the day. On the other hand, foods high in sugar may provide us with a quick energy boost in the morning, but will actually leave you feeling hungry quicker later on in the day. 

Instead, fill up on foods high in protein and fibre to help get you through your fast. Some great sahur meals include: 

  • Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and to stay fuller for longer. With so many variations such as hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, sunny side up or as an omelette, switch up the style of cooking as well as the flavour and filling by adding vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, cold cuts and cheese. Serve and have it on its own or on some bread. 
  • Sandwiches and Wraps: A versatile meal, you can make a sandwich or wrap with anything. From cold cuts of beef salami and chicken slices to yesterday’s leftovers of roasted chicken and minced beef, add cheese, some salad and fold for a quick, easy meal. 
  • Oats: A quick cook of rolled or instant oats or preparing your oats the night before provides a meal that is a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add some flavour with some cocoa powder, a small spoon of condensed milk, a bit of honey or handfuls of fresh berries.

Limit consumption of coffee and tea 

During the sahur meal, it is advisable to drink plenty and enough liquids to keep hydrated throughout the day. In increasing consumption of water, coffee and tea may not actually contribute much. Coffee and tea are diuretics – liquids that make you visit the bathroom more often. It will not leave you severely dehydrated, but with so much loss of fluid, drinking tea and coffee may leave you feeling slightly more dehydrated than hydrated. If a little caffeine boost is needed to get you through the day, limit yourself to a small cup.  

Better yet, forgo the coffee and tea completely! Slowly wean off coffee and tea until you are no longer dependent on the caffeine.

Avoid immediately falling back asleep after sahur 

It may be inviting to go back to sleep after having a good meal and a full stomach. However, it is best to avoid lying down and resuming sleep straight away after sahur. The human body needs time to digest and process food that has just been eaten. Lying down directly after having the sahur meal could lead to acid reflux and heartburn as the stomach is filled with food and acid and the lying down position prevents gravity from holding it down causing it to come back up giving you reflux. It’s perfectly acceptable to go back to sleep or take a nap after sahur, but make it a habit of sitting upright after eating and giving your body some time to break down the food.

Avoid skipping sahur

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Take meal a little before dawn, for there is a blessing in taking meal at that time.” (Sahih Muslim, 2412, Book 6)

For most adults, it may not be difficult to skip sahur altogether. However, the pre-dawn meal can be vital in keeping the body energised and ready for the upcoming day. It was also the habitual practice or the way of the Prophet to take sahur before fasting. As such, multiply good deeds during this holy month of Ramadan by following Sunnah and having sahur before fasting. 

Sahur: The Predawn Meal for the Day’s Fast

In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be challenging to properly prepare your body and yourself for the Ramadan fast. But, taking time in the morning to have sahur prior to starting our fast is paramount. Not only is sahur of great importance during this holy month, but it is the fuel that keeps us going throughout the day. It is essential for us to take better care of our bodies as we need to focus on the values of Ramadan that are reflection, self-improvement, empathy and patience and sahur is the gateway to achieving that. 

Homage wishes you Ramadan Mubarak and Selamat Berpuasa. 

References
  1. Gunnars, K. (2018, June 28). Top 10 health benefits of eating eggs. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs
  2. Massoud, R., Sharifan, A., & Massoud, A. (2020). Religious fasting; the purgation of soul and body. Journal of Nutrition, Fasting and Health, 8(1), 17-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.22038/jnfh.2019.40984.1201
  3. Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (n.d). Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Sawm, The book of fasting. (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui Trans.). https://www.iium.edu.my/deed/hadith/muslim/006_smt.html
  4. Noorshah, K. (2020, May 18). Sahur, the pre-dawn wake-up-call ritual during Ramadan. The Star. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2020/05/18/sahur-and-its-wake-up-call-ritual-before-covid-19
  5. Olsen, J. (2017, November 23). Mayo clinic minute: Timing snacks to avoid heartburn. Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-timing-snacks-to-avoid-heartburn/
  6. Palsdottir, H. (2016, July 19). 9 benefits of eating oats and oatmeal. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal 
  7. Pakkir Maideen, N. M., Jumale, A., & Balasubramaniam, R. (2017). Adverse health effects associated with Islamic fasting-A literature review. Journal of Nutrition, Fasting and Health, 5(3), 113-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.22038/jfh.2017.25419.1095
  8. Petre, A. (2019, March 13). Does tea dehydrate you? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-tea-dehydrate-you
  9. Raman, R. (2019, December 11). Does coffee dehydrate you? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-coffee-dehydrate-you
  10. World Health Organization, Regional Office of the Eastern Mediterranean. (n.d.). Dietary recommendations for the month of Ramadan. https://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/dietary-recommendations-for-the-month-of-ramadan.html
About the Writer
Sarah Anati
A nostalgic soul armed with the yearn to explore different possibilities and enact positive change. Always eager to experience all that life has to offer!
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