Men line up at a takeaway food stand in the Saudi port of Jeddah in the early hours of August 26, 2011. Practicing Muslims eat their suhoor meal before dawn during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Amer Hilabi/AFP/Getty Images hide captionitoggle caption Amer Hilabi/AFP/Getty Images
Men line up at a takeaway food stand in the Saudi port of Jeddah in the early hours of August 26, 2011. Practicing Muslims eat their suhoor meal before dawn during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.Amer Hilabi/AFP/Getty Images
We're coming up on the final week of the month of Ramadan. It's the time of year when observant Muslims avoid all food and drink during the holy month's daylight hours — if they're able.
When Ramadan falls during the height of summer — as it does this year — that's a lot of hours. So what's the best thing to eat to prepare you for a long fast?
The pre-dawn breakfast meal — suhoor — varies quite a bit. What you serve for suhoor depends upon whether you're from the Middle East or Malaysia or the U.S., and whether you're ravenous in the morning or still a little ill from overindulging at last night's iftar, the Ramadan evening meal.
suhoor tables are spread with everything from leftovers to a dish of stewed fava beans called ful medames to hard-boiled eggs to chia seed smoothies. But no matter what you're feeling in the mood for (and can stomach early in the morning), there are a few guidelines for the most sustaining meal.
Nour Zibdeh is a dietician and nutritionist in Herdon, Va., who advises many fasting patients (and observes Ramadan herself). She recommends suhoor dishes with protein, healthy fats, and fiber — as well as smoothies, fruits and water. You want to be satiated and hydrated. But, as Zibdeh notes, even the best suhoor has its limitations.
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