At what age can a child complete their first fast?
It is difficult to answer this question. From a medical point of view, first of all, it is necessary to ensure the well-being of the child, regardless of his age. For example, some suffer from chronic diseases for which fasting is contraindicated. Others, despite good general health, are weak and may be physically unable to fast. They may have migraines, digestive disorders (nausea, vomiting, constipation, etc.), and sometimes discomfort that makes it difficult to continue fasting. The opinion of the pediatrician or the attending physician may be useful.
How to prepare and encourage him to fast?
When a child is very young, he may not be able to fast for a whole month. Parents may suggest starting with just a few days to gradually prepare for fasting. Fasting days will allow the child to rest, recover and be encouraging and soothing for him. It is necessary to monitor the moral and physical health of the child. In addition, children are usually interested in learning. From a nutritional point of view, it is very interesting to explain to them what each food they eat brings them, why it is important to give preference to some and, on the contrary, avoid others, how to combine the pleasure of food and good health. … The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to remind children and adults that good nutrition is necessary and necessary to keep the body healthy and provide all the energy it needs to function optimally. Thus, it is necessary to explain to children that fasting is qualitative and that it is not the quantity that prevails, but the nutritional value of food. Developing a balanced lifestyle can also be a friendly educational moment. In addition to the exchange started when making it, teach children how to prepare simple and healthy meals such as soup, pancake dough, batbot or their favorite dish, which can only be positive. As a general rule, children enjoy cooking for the family and enjoy eating what they have cooked after the day of fasting.
How to make your first fast “easier”?
The most important thing is to moisturize well. Lack of water causes fatigue and headaches. Hydration also helps maintain good transit. Make him drink mostly water, milk, soup, broth, but avoid juices that are too high in carbohydrates and are not recommended in the diet. Vegetables and fruits are also an excellent source of water and should not be neglected during the month of Ramadan. Also favor carbohydrates at all meals: starchy foods are a very important source of energy that will allow your child to get through the whole school day the next day. Sleep is also very important. Children are tempted to stay awake, but lack of sleep makes fasting difficult. Daytime naps outside of school hours can also be helpful. We must not forget that children should have a school day that requires a lot of attention and concentration: fasting + lack of sleep is a very complex equation. Maintaining a night’s sleep is essential for growth.
What are the rules for fasting a child?
As mentioned earlier, hydration, sufficient energy and quality nutrition, and enough hours of sleep are rules that parents should follow. Children are growing. In addition, if a child fasts for a whole month in poor conditions, this can affect his weight, leading to weight loss if he does not eat enough, or weight gain if he consumes too much sweet food (traditional cakes, pancakes sweetened with honey). or chocolate, sale, pastry, juice, etc.) or too fatty (brivates, marshmallows, quiches, spring rolls, pastries, etc.) to the detriment of staples. The child also runs the risk of having persistent fatigue after Ramadan if for a whole month he did not receive all the trace elements (vitamins, mineral salts, etc.) necessary for his metabolism and growth: lack of B vitamins, vitamin C in the absence of fruits and vegetables, lack of iron and protein, if mealy foods replace meat and fish, lack of magnesium and calcium, responsible for muscle fatigue…
What are your dietary recommendations?
Keep two or three quality meals with enough carbohydrates for energy. Choose starchy foods: if possible, whole grain bread, pasta, rice, semolina, potatoes. Harira is a good source of feThanks to the beans and rice it contains, for those who appreciate it. For children who prefer sandwiches, choose quality bread, homemade if possible, avoid industrial breads such as Viennese bread, buns, milk bread, sandwich bread, which are high in sugar and additives. As for the filling, it should contain proteins of high nutritional value: chicken, beef, eggs, fish, cheese. Avoid processed foods such as hot dogs or “kosher” deli meats. You can also offer a good homemade mayonnaise, a dash of olive oil, or a thin layer of raw oil in place of industrial sauces like ketchup or others. The share of vegetables should be equivalent to the share of starchy foods: lettuce, raw vegetables such as carrots. or grated beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, stewed vegetables, grilled vegetables, baked in the oven or tagine. Soups made from various vegetables, pumpkin, or other vegetables can also supplement hydration. Offer your children quality protein foods: fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Keeping the main course (plates of meat, vegetables and starch) and dessert (dairy and fruit) during dinner remains one of the best formulas and guarantees at least a balanced and complete meal for 24 hours. Avoid fried foods that are generally not recommended in the diet: brivats, spring rolls or chbakia are fried foods that are best eaten in moderation. And the filling is not always very interesting from a nutritional point of view. In addition, fried foods are poorly digested and irritate the digestive system. However, for those who prefer baked brivats, they remain greasy and should not be consumed every day. They do not replace a full meal. And, of course, be sure to drink enough water.
What do you recommend in terms of physical activity? Because a child will always want to work hard during the day…
In the month of Ramadan, it is better to avoid physical activities that greatly accelerate the heart rate, such as football or tennis. Instead, opt for walking or cycling in a cool and shady environment, if possible. For those who regularly engage in high-level sports, switch to light workouts. Beware of increased risk of injury due to lack of hydration.
Menu idea for kids
– A small bowl of vegetable soup or vegetable broth with Chinese vermicelli to supplement the hydration provided by water and a source of mineral salts.
– Some little bats are garnished with raw vegetables/tuna, while others are garnished with lettuce/cheese such as grated emmental or gouda cheese. This will provide a share of carbohydrates from starchy foods in the form of bread, fiber and vitamins from raw vegetables and dairy, a source of calcium.
– Complete Meal: Chicken or minced skewers with broccoli or spinach and mashed potatoes or rice (use of proteins, vegetables and starches)
– A bowl of strawberries or fruit salad and one or more dates. Fresh and dried fruits are sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.
Light snack after the tour:
– A glass of milk or 1 yogurt
– Some nuts or dried fruits such as almonds, walnuts, dried apricots, or occasionally a traditional cake (chbakia, sallow or honey pancake)
– A large glass of water and/or a hot drink such as an infusion or tea.
– Slice of cheese bread or a glass of milk, an omelet and a slice of bread with butter and jam.
– An apple or other seasonal fruit and some dried fruit (dried apricots, figs, dates, raisins).