Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5 May 2020: Through the ages, fasting has been practiced by people of various beliefs and cultures, but fasting in the month of Ramadan is considered as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Although fasting is not obligatory on children under the age of puberty, many children practice it out of their own will or due to the wish of their families.
Dr. Mohamed Wasfy El Abiary, Consultant Pediatric at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai shares five healthy tips for children who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan:
Psychological readiness:It is essential to teach children the true meaning of fasting, its importance and benefits along with the purpose behind abstaining from eating and drinking. It is also an opportunity to teach children about controlling the urge and doing good to others in addition to instilling healthy food habits.
Gradual Fasting and Golden Points:For children under the age of ten, it is advised to follow a step-by-step approach in fasting as every child’s ability varies as per the ageand personal readiness.
Sleep and Suhoor:A child needs adequate hours of sleep every day, at least 8 hours, so it is advised to ensure that the child goes to bed early, so he has sufficient time for Suhoorwhich is an essential meal of the day.
Good Food Diet:The choice and quality of the diet are crucial to ensure a healthy Ramadan for children. They must be refrained from eating any fast food or canned food, and foodand beverages that are rich in sugar. It advised to give them food that had fresh vegetables and fruits as they are rich in nutrients, vitamins and protein.
It is advised to follow a healthy fasting program:
Iftar: Dates, water, Soup then break for Maghrib break, followed by a healthy home-made Iftar meal.
Snack: Sweets can be consumed in moderation – only 2-3 times per week and fresh juices without adding sugar.For those active and fitness enthusiasts, it is advised not to do a heavy physical activity.A walk or light workout is recommended (preferably 2 hours after Iftar).
Suhoor: Suhoor must be given most importance and time. It is suggested to include food items that are rich in fiber, in addition to yogurt.
Last but not least, it is important to enjoy the spirit of fasting by creating an atmosphere of joy and excitement at home. Involving children in prayers, preparing food and in charitable activitycan benefit the family in general and the child in particular.