Eat Healthy For Suhoor and Stay Energized During Your Fast With This Dietitian's 6 Tips

It's important to choose your meal wisely for suhoor (also called sahur, sahri, or sehri); as the first meal of the day during Ramadan, this is the food that's going to keep you energized until sundown. So where do you start? Sana Motlekar, a registered dietitian at Lagom Nutrition, said that for suhoor, you want to choose healthy foods that will keep you full and satisfied, while avoiding the processed ones that sap your energy and leave you hungry and thirsty. In other words, "what we eat for suhoor sets us up for the rest of the fast," Motlekar told POPSUGAR. You want to eat the "key nutrients that typically help us feel our best during the fasting period."

What Foods Should I Eat For Suhoor?

For suhoor, Motlekar recommended eating protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Each of these macronutrients has nutritional benefits on its own, and putting them all together in one meal "helps us balance our blood sugar levels and keeps us fuller for longer," she explained.

  • Protein: Protein takes a long time to digest, Motlekar said, which helps you stay full throughout the day. She recommended eating a minimum of 15 to 20 grams of protein at suhoor "to keep you full and maintain your muscle mass."
  • Carbs: Motlekar recommended complex carbs (like oatmeal, quinoa, whole grains, and whole wheat bread) because they take longer to digest than simple carbs such as sugar and white bread. "By choosing complex, slow-digesting carbohydrates at meal times, you get slow and sustained energy rather than a quick rush of glucose into your bloodstream followed by a crash," Motlekar explained.
  • Fats: "Fats helps to tie a meal together by slowing down the digestion and absorption of the food we consume, especially the carbohydrates," Motlekar said.
  • Potassium-Rich Food: Hydration is also important during suhoor. In addition to drinking water with your meal, Motlekar suggested eating foods with high water and mineral content, like fruits and vegetables. Bananas, avocados, cantaloupes, and honeydews are especially recommended because they're full of potassium, which is "an important electrolyte needed to deliver water to your body's cells."

Healthy Meals For Suhoor

Wondering how to fulfill all those recommendations? Motlekar suggested a few healthy, filling suhoor dishes to add to your rotation.

  • Two-egg (or egg white) omelette with veggies and a whole grain tortilla
  • Foul moudammas (also called mudammas): This dish consists of Fava beans cooked with onions and tomato, Motlekar said. "It is a popular Middle Eastern recipe that is super filling because of the high fiber content as well as protein."
  • Shakshuka: Motlekar described this dish as "eggs poached in a tomato-red pepper sauce, spiced with paprika, cumin, and black pepper."
  • Overnight oats: "Rolled oats when just soaked in yogurt or milk (rather than cooked) is a great source of resistant starch," Motlekar said, "which is fantastic for your gut health and also keeps you fuller for longer." Plus, you can make your oats the night before to reduce prep time in the morning. Here are some overnight oats recipes to try.
  • Chia seed pudding.
  • Greek yogurt, fruit, and chia seeds or nuts: This is a good choice if you wake up late and need to whip up something quickly, Motlekar said.

Foods to Avoid For Suhoor

Motlekar recommended limiting your salt intake during suhoor, as salty foods can make you thirsty during your fasting hours. You'll also want to avoid processed carbs and foods that are high in simple and added sugars and low in fiber, she said, such as white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks. These can spike your blood sugar and make you crash soon after, leaving you low on energy for the rest of your day.

And no matter what food you choose, Motlekar recommended "eating slowly and chewing your food properly," which can help you improve your digestion and feel more satisfied now and throughout the fasting period.

Getty | wera Rodsawang