Since a child’s body requires many vitamins and nutrients for healthy development, it is necessary to ensure a healthy and secure fast for your child. But how can they get all of the vitamins and minerals their bodies require from suhoor and Iftar meals?
Dr Muhammad Sami, a teacher and consultant pediatric at Ain Shams University, stressed that children should not fast until they are 7 or 8 years old and that fasting should be introduced gradually. So they fast from morning until midday, then until afternoon, and finally until the sunset in the month, indicating that if they are fasting for the first time, they will eat breakfast in the morning and then refrain from eating from afternoon until sunset. The process must be followed until their body accustoms to fasting.
A child with kidney failure, diabetes, or anaemia (haemoglobin less than ten) should not fast for an extended period. On hot days, the child should break their fast, particularly if they will be physically active that day, such as exercising.
If the child experiences negative symptoms to perform any physical exercise, such as impaired concentration or dizziness even if it is mild, they must break the fasting by drinking water. Liquids and sugars, such as those found in natural juices, can be consumed by the infant.
Dr Sherine Empabi, a clinical nutritionist at In Shape clinics, recommends giving the child dates and half a cup of milk for breakfast because it helps stabilize blood sugar level while also emphasizing the importance of supplying them with protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables.
If the child refuses to consume a particular form of vegetable: the clinical nutritionist recommends incorporating it into their favourite dish, such as chopping vegetables into small pieces and mixing them in with ground meat, for example, to boost the nutritional value of the meal.
Giving a snack two hours after breakfast (which may include candy) is ok, but should be limited to three times per week consisting of fruit. Likewise, beans and whole grains like night and oats are some of the best options for the child’s pre-dawn meal.
She added: “By cutting the fruit and applying it to the Balila dish before serving it to the child, and by adding oats and cutting fruit to yoghurt, the nutritional value of the yoghurt is increased, and the child receives the nutrients he or she requires”.
Finally, the nutritionist explained that adding bananas and cinnamon to oats increases the nutritional value. It is a meal rich in nutrients and help in controlling blood sugar level. She also added that the child can have a spoonful of honey during the pre-dawn meal.