Preparing special fried foods or sugary goodies for Iftar for children who are fasting is quite common. Yet it is imperative that parents choose healthy food for their children for all their meals during Ramadan to ensure their daily nutritional requirements are fulfilled in the Suhoor and the Iftar meals.
• An ideal meal at Suhoor should contain high fiber breakfast cereals such as oats, porridge with nuts, green leafy vegetables paratha with low- fat yogurt, and wholemeal chicken sandwiches with fruit.
• Kids should be given energy and protein dense foods such as dates and dry fruit milk shakes during their Suhoor meal.
• It is recommended to incorporate high fiber fruits and vegetables which digest slowly and gradually release sugar into the body. Watery fruits like melons and vegetables like celery, cucumber, and tomato will help to rehydrate the body during the fast.
• Drinking plenty of water is key during the non-fasting hours in Ramadan to keep the body hydrated throughout.
• Iftar is the meal when an individual replenishes their energy by consuming food after long hours of fasting. Avoid eating excess oily, fried, and fatty foods as they are empty calories.
• Consume foods from all food groups. An Iftar meal should include more fluids other than just water. Fresh fruit juices with no-added sugar will help rehydrate the body.
• Also, include a simple form of easily digested sugar, fresh fruit, lentil soup, or chicken soup before beginning the meal.
• Adopt healthy eating options for desserts in the form of fruit salad or fruit yoghurt instead of heavy sugar coated sweets, cakes, chocolates, and pastries.
(Credit: Sushma Ghag, dietician)