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Six tips on eating before Yom Kippur

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(JTA) Yom Kippur is one of the most, if not the most, important day on the Jewish calendar. For many Jews, fasting and being in synagogue is the focus of the day.
by SHANNON SARNA | Sep 26, 2019

Fasting isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone. Some people can’t fast because they are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a medical condition. Or they simply don’t function well abstaining from water and food for a 25-hour period.

But for those who choose to fast as a meaningful way to engage in Yom Kippur, there are actually foods that can set you up for a more successful, less onerous fast.

As I did research for this story, I found that 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.

Here are some more tips on eating before the fast.

1. Avoid foods that are hard to digest.

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.

2. Eat foods that have fibre and water.

Foods with lots of fibre will keep you fuller longer, and foods with water (like fruit 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.

3. Avoid salt.

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 blander for that pre-fast meal.

4. Avoid sugar.

Too much dessert before fasting may cause your blood sugar to spike and then come crashing down, which can be unpleasant at its best and cause a headache or moodiness at its worst. Too much sugar also makes you thirsty, like salt, and have you craving more sweets during your fast.

5. Drink water.

This is pretty obvious, but make sure to drink plenty of water, not only at the meal right before the fast begins, but on the days preceding it as well.

6. 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.

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