Are your kids fasting this Ramadan? Here is what you need to know about maintaining their health while fasting!
As is well known to Muslims across the globe, the holy month of Ramadan calls for a daily fast that starts at dawn and lasts till sunset – mainly from food, water, and sexual activity. It is also considered a month where Muslims cleanse their souls by being kind to one another, by continuously praying and reading the Quran and by refraining from speaking ill of others using bad language and avoiding any unethical activity in general.
However, this rule differs when it comes to children – it is not mandatory for them to fast from food or drink up until they reach the age of maturity, although some children may express a desire to fast when they see their parents and older siblings doing so.
So how can you ensure that your little one is staying healthy as he/she begins to fast? Lack of adequate nutrition during growth can adversely affect a child – which is why it is important for you to follow these tips, to make sure that your child enjoys fasting during Ramadan while he/she stays healthy at the same time!
5 Important Tips for Kids While Fasting During Ramadan
Here are a few things to keep in mind if your little one wants to fast during the Holy month of Ramadan.
- Take It Slow
It is actually recommended that kids indulge in gradual fasting so that their bodies can get used to going long hours without food once they’re much older.
If your child is under the age of ten, it is best not to extend the fasting window to more than a few hours – say from their usual breakfast to lunch time. By introducing them to fasting for short intervals and gradually increasing the length of the time they are fasting, their bodies will be able to adjust better to going without food.
- Offer These Foods for Their Iftar Sehour (First Meal of the Day)
The first meal before undertaking the fast for the day, Suhoor, needs to cater to the needs of the child, so that he can keep up his energy levels during the time he is fasting. It should also help to keep thirst at bay, and make the digestive process efficient. The meal should include a combination of nutrients such as complex carbohydrates, protein, and fibre – eggs, bread, cheese, dates and other dried fruits, fresh fruits, yoghurt, and milk can be your go-to options.
- …and These for Iftar…
When it is time to break the fast, traditional ways are the healthiest. Offer 2-3 dates, followed by a glass of water and milk, before tucking into the delicious meals that await. Plenty of salads and fruits need to be included in their diet to make up for the lack of required hydration during the day – and needless to say, they are packed with plenty of essential nutrients.
- …and These in Between Suhoor and Iftar!
Water, water, and water! Hydration is of absolute importance during the time of fast for kids. Hydrating fruits, juices, milkshakes, and plenty of water is required not just to quench thirst, but also keep hunger pangs away.
- Make Sure That Your Kids Avoid These Foods and Habits
Certain types of foods can make your child thirstier than usual and drain him of energy. Also, a sudden change in eating habits is bound to upset the digestive system. Ensure that your child stays clear of salty, fried, or fatty foods that can increase thirst. Similarly, overeating at Iftar is not a good idea, because it will be too much for his stomach to handle at a time.
Instead of letting children have a heavy meal all at once, split portions and servings into two meals, so that it doesn’t overburden their digestive system all of a sudden; spare the yummy cutlets, sandwiches, and rice for later.
Lots of sweets after a fast can cause a fluctuation in blood-sugar levels and children craving for more; therefore it is advisable to wait for 2 to 3 hours after Iftar before offering any sweets at all. It is also important to regulate a child’s physical activities, because putting in too much energy into school activities or activities done at home can tire him/her out easily.
5 Easy Food Ideasfor Kids During Ramadan
- Cheese, Meat and Spinach Fatayer
These traditional Arab Fatayers are easy to digest and make for a delicious treat for kids and adults alongside your Iftar meal!
- Macaroniwith Bechamel
Healthy, delicious, and colourful – your kids are going to love this treat! It is packed with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to keep your children healthily satisfied.
- Fruit-and-Nut Bars
A much healthier snacking option than processed sweets with low levels of nutrients – this is the best way to get your kids to fall in love with healthy food.
- Hummus Dip
An ever-favourite dip that doubles as a healthy accompaniment to a meal! Hummus is the perfect side-dish for your little ones to slather bread with; add a couple of veggies on the side for more nutritional value.
- Labnah and Cheese Sandwiches
Perfect to fill their tummy and keep them happy too!
Ramadan is truly the best time of the year for Muslims, so keep your little one happy and healthy with these tips – and watch him learn and enjoy the true joy and blessings of the Holy month of Ramadan! Ramadan Kareem to all!
If you have any more yummy recipes that your kids absolutely love, you can contribute to our recipes section below!