(SEMASA) Sustaining a Child’s Energy Throughout the Month of Ramadhan

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Sustaining a Child’s Energy Throughout the Month of Ramadhan

Educating children to fast will always be a challenge. For the children who are not mentally ready to fast, there will always be a reason why they need to break their fast early. This is where parents play an important role to come up with various ways to tackle this challenge, which can yield successful
Convincing children that fasting is not a chore can be difficult at first, but sticking to a routine will enable them to eventually adjust to the practice of fasting for the whole month of Ramadhan.

The most common struggle that children may face during the fasting month is battling the urge to quench their thirst. As the weather in Malaysia is hot and humid all year round, it comes as no surprise that by noon, they will start to feel the effects of dehydration. To ensure they keep hydrated throughout the day, parents need to ensure that the amount of water that they drink the night before is sufficient to last them during the day.

With rice being one of the staple foods in Malaysia, we could always encourage them to consume a balanced portion of rice, protein, and fibre during Sahur. With a combination of the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s ‘Healthy Plate’ recommendation of half a plate of fibre, a quarter plate carbohydrates, and a quarter plate protein. Paired together with a cup of MILO®, the likelihood of children completing a full day of fasting will be higher. The child’s body will store carbohydrates and fats that will later be converted into energy once the food consumed during Sahur is used up. A cup of MILO® contains ACTIV-GO, a unique combination of PROTOMALT, vitamins and minerals that enable children to have the Energy To Go Further.

Once a day of fasting is complete, parents should encourage their children to each fluid-rich foods in order to replenish the amount of water lost throughout the day. Ensuring that their children also do not breakfast with a meal that is too rich in fatty oils, and laden with salt will help to prepare them for the following day of fasting.

The Importance of Sahur for Young Adults

The month of Ramadan marks the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims around the world observe a month of restraint and reflection as they start their fasting routine from dawn to dusk.

This practice needs little to no introduction to us young Malaysians, having to develop our own routine after a few years of practice. Hence, Ramadhan is often seen as the season for all-you-caneat Iftars, never ending food trips to bazaar Ramadan with friends, as well as having overnight leftovers for Sahur.

With that being said, fasting should not be a license to eat with abandon, and nor should it be. Having a very small timeframe to acquire enough energy and nutrients to last an entire day of fasting and restraining yourself from consuming any food or drinks during the day, often leads to us feeling tired and dehydrated. Thus, staying healthy during the fasting month should be the main goal for us, and this can be achieved by paying attention to drinking enough fluids, getting enough rest, and most importantly, eating balanced and healthy meal.

While most of us put more importance on what to eat for Iftar, we tend to overlook the importance of the pre-dawn meal – Sahur. What we often forget is, just as breakfast is the most important meal of the day, getting the right start by having a wholesome Sahur should be as equally important during Ramadhan.

MILO® continues to champion the importance of starting your day right as our body loses 80% of our energy reserves when we sleep, we have only 20% energy left when we wake up. And this is important, especially during Ramadan, as MILO® stresses the importance of having a wholesome
and balanced Sahur to start our day right.

As youngsters, we need to consume enough energy and nutrients during Sahur to refuel ourselves to take on the day until our next meal during Iftar. MILO® recommends a balanced breakfast based on the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s Healthy Plate recommendation, which includes the suggested portions of fruits and vegetables taking up half of your plate, while protein and carbohydrate each take up a quarter plate for Sahur.

When combined with a balanced Sahur, MILO® can help provide efficient energy release from food, enabling us to have the Energy to Go Further. Rather than increasing the amount of food intake during Iftar or Sahur, it is best if we focus on the quality and type of food we consume instead, in order to manage or prevent any adverse effects of fasting throughout Ramadan.

By Nurul Iliani, Senior Nutritionist, Nestle Malaysia Berhad

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