If your tween or teen is fasting this Ramadan month, you have to make sure that you are closely monitoring your child’s eating habits to make sure they are still getting sufficient nutrients. Hopefully, by now, if they are sticking through the bi-annual regimen which Muslims undergo for about 40 days, they have adjusted to the new eating schedule.
If you haven’t been watching them as close as you should, it’s not too late. This year, the holy fasting goes thru August 17. Heed to these lessons Yasmine Haddad of MotherBabyChildOnline put together for Muslim parents:
- To maintain good health, children must always break their fast with dates and either water, milk or juice. Dates are a great source of dietary fiber; they contain calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium. It is also important that children drink plenty of water – at least 8 full glasses – as well as milk, yogurt and freshly-squeezed juices between Iftar and Suhoor. Children must abstain from carbonated drinks as they may lead to bloating and indigestion.
- Nourishing beverages such as Horlicks help to sustain your child’s fast the following day and, more importantly, fill nutritional gaps – when included as part of a healthy Iftar meal. It comes in two delicious flavours – chocolate and wheat – and contains 16 vital nutrients. In just two servings, Horlicks contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA*) of Iron, Folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamins B2, B6 and B12, as well as 50% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA*) of Calcium, Vitamins A, B1 and D, plus other essentials. This is key as a healthy Iftar meal must include a good balance of all essential nutrients and vitamins.
- During Iftar, children must consume hydrating fruits, such as watermelon, berries, oranges, coconut, grapes, mango and pineapple. It is pivotal to top up your children’s water intake with healthy fruits as this will help them feel refreshed and enhance their energy levels.
- When breaking their fast, make sure your children start with a soup. Soup is a traditional Iftar dish; it is rich in fluids, facilitates digestion and is a great source of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Lentil soup, in particular, is full of healthy hydrating ingredients.
- Children must also eat plenty of salad when breaking their fast during Ramadan. Salads are full of vitamins, minerals and fibres; they also prevent constipation and help hydrate the body.
- A well-balanced Suhoor meal – which includes fibre-rich foods such as whole-wheat cereals and fruits and vegetables, is also key. The Suhoor meal should provide children with enough nutrients and energy to sustain their fast throughout the day.
Following these tips thru the rest of this fasting month and others in the future should ensure all are staying on track and having a wholesome and spiritual experience.