KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 – Comes the fasting month, it is always challenging for parents to wake their children up very early in the morning to take the sahur (pre-dawn) meal.
One of the ways to motivate children to fast during this holy month of Ramadan is creating the excitement of taking sahur by getting them involved in preparing the meal. MasterChef Malaysia’s Brian Chen, better known as Abang Brian, said psychologically, in such a way, children would be excited and encouraged to take sahur.
“Instead of ‘bribing’ their children to fast by giving them money or buying them things, parents should give them space to cook together in the kitchen. Children will be happy to eat the food they cook. “The main point is to ensure children who are learning to fast get a balanced diet. Many people know what is the meaning of balanced nutrition but not many really practise it,” he told Bernama, here, today. He also suggested that parents not serve unfamiliar dishes to their children for sahur because they might find it difficult to adapt.
Chen, a radio announcer at a local station, said it was essential for children to have a balanced diet with the right amount of food and the main point was to eat moderately, not only during fasting but on normal days too. For example, he said, instead of taking white bread, take wholemeal bread for fibre and it would help people stay full while fasting and also help flush out toxins in the body.
“Dates are good to eat during sahur as they contain sugar (for energy) and are rich in potassium, which is good for the muscles and to keep a regular heartbeat,” he said. Chen has been fasting during Ramadan for the past four years and he took the challenge to take sahur this year to get the experience.
“I am proud to be a Malaysian, and although I’m a non-Muslim, I still can fast like the Muslims. That is the beauty of our country. “Fasting makes me calm. I think it is a perfect opportunity to do planning since we have a clear mind,” he said.
Chen who has a profound passion for early child development and recently invited to a voluntary programme, Eating Smart Assembly, said it was important for children to start practising healthy eating habits early in life because what they learned and adopt now would have a lasting impact on their lifestyle.
“If they get accustomed to bad eating habits that affect their wellbeing, it will be harder for them to reverse to a healthier lifestyle,” he said.
The programme, organised by Mondelez Malaysia and Makanlah was held at Sekolah Kebangsaan Puchong Batu 14, Selangor, was supported by the Education Ministry to create ‘Joy School’ as a way to promote balanced nutrition and active play among young schoolchildren in the country.