By Shannon Sarna
(JTA) – Fasting on Yom Kippur is not easy, nor is it for everyone — some people cannot fast because they are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a medical condition. Some simply do not function well while abstaining from water and food for a 25-hour period.
But for those who do choose to fast as a meaningful way to engage in Yom Kippur, there are actually foods to eat beforehand that can set you up for a more successful, less onerous fast.
Most people stick to a menu that is classic and delicious but not too crazy or spicy: chicken soup, chicken, rice or pasta, a vegetable, some challah and water.
Avoid foods that are hard to digest
Now this might be different for everyone, but in general stay away from heavy meat dishes, fried foods, or lots of dairy. Because you know, Jewish stomachs.
Eat foods that have fibre and water
Foods with lots of fibew will keep you fuller longer, and foods with water, like fruits and vegetables, will keep you hydrated. Chickpeas or lentils are a great vegetarian protein source to eat, especially a dish like mujaderra. A hearty chicken soup with noodles or rice and lots of veggies is another safe bet.
Salty foods like olives, pickles, chips, canned soup, or dishes made with those bouillon cubes will bloat you and make you even more thirsty. So stick to something a little more bland for that pre-fast meal.
Too much dessert before fasting may cause your blood sugar to spike up and then come crashing down, which can be unpleasant at its least and cause a headache or moodiness at its worst. Too much sugar will also make you thirsty, like salt, and will have you craving more sweets during your fast.
This is pretty obvious, but make sure to drink plenty of water, not only at the meal right before the fast begins, but during the days preceding as well.
Avoid eating too much
Eat a moderate sized meal that leaves you satisfied, but not unbuttoning your pants. You will feel uncomfortable and it will be more difficult to digest a monstrous-sized meal.