What Should Your Last Meal Before Fasting Include?

Consuming nourishing meals that promote satiety and help to keep you full can be key when following a fasting regime and preventing food cravings during your fast.


Protein-rich foods form part of every healthy diet, since they provide our bodies with important amino acids, which are utilised in various physiological reactions and which form the base of numerous cells in the body. In fact, protein is also linked to an increased feeling of fullness following a meal and reduced hunger.[1] Some studies have found that protein has a greater effect on satiety, as compared to other macronutrients such as fats![2] What’s more, protein has also been suggested to help preserve muscle mass.[3]

Suggestion: Choose sources of lean protein such as eggs, skinless poultry, leans cuts of pork, fish and seafood, tofu and soy products. Yogurt and plant-based foods such as beans and lentils also provide excellent sources of protein!

Complex or Starchy Carbohydrates

Traditionally, the last meal before religious fasting like Ramadan includes starchy foods which are a great source of energy before a fast.[4] Look for high fiber options as fiber takes longer to digest, therefore, high-fiber foods will help you feel full for longer, while also helping your digestive system and preventing constipation.[5]

Suggestion: Good sources of fiber include oats and cereals, wholegrain seeded bread, whole grain rice and pasta, quinoa, couscous, barley and bulgur wheat.

Combine the high-fiber carbohydrates mentioned above with lean sources of protein and healthy fats from plant sources which have a higher proportion of unsaturated (the healthy) vs saturated (the not so healthy) fats. Avoid carbohydrates that are high in sugar, such as pastries and cakes, as these will cause an increase in blood sugar levels and lead to hunger.

The satiety-promoting effect of fiber is possibly due to a number of different factors, relating to its complex structure. Fiber has the ability to absorb water and bulk up in volume and affect viscosity. In addition, fiber is not fully digested in the stomach but fermented in the large intestine – which results in the release of substances beneficial for satiety and health in general![6]


Vegetables are another essential component of a pre-fast meal, as they not only provide high amounts of fiber which will keep you full during the day, but also burst with vitamins and minerals – all integral to a healthy diet! Some of the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, such as vitamin C and Magnesium, contribute to your metabolism function too![7]

Suggestion: Aim to include fresh or cooked vegetables to your meals – if you are short for time, you can cut some fresh vegetables such as carrots and bell peppers into chunks, and consume them as a side to your meal.

Pulses and Legumes

Pulses and legumes are another group of plant-based foods which can be a great idea for a pre-fasting meal. Beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas are extremely nutritious and widely available. These foods also provide an generous amounts of plant protein and fiber – it is safe to say that they tick all boxes![8]

Suggestion: You can add different pulses and legumes to most savoury meals for some extra protein and fiber – for example, a can of chickpeas to your salad, beans to your casserole, or why not try a plant-based lentils bolognese?

An interesting fact is that the sensory effect of food has also been studied as an important factor in satiety. For instance, even the sight, smell and texture of food can affect signals sent to the brain, which in turn influences the experienced satiety following a meal! As an example, viscous foods can be associated by the brain with feelings of fullness and satiety, and can therefore lead to greater satiety following consumption, as compared to fluids.[6]


[1] Leidy, HJ, Clifton, PM, Astrup, A, Wycherley, TP, Westerterp-Plantenga, MS, Luscombe-Marsh, ND, Woods, SC, Mattes, RD. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 101(6), June 2015, pp: 1320S–1329S. Link

[2] Ortinau, LC, Hoertel, HA, Douglas, SM, Leidy, HJ. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutrition Journal 13, 97, September 2014. Link

[3] Mettler, S, Mitchell, N, Tipton, KD. Increased protein intake reduces lean body mass loss during weight loss in athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 42(2) February 2010 pp: 326-337. Link

[4] British Nutrition Foundation: A healthy Ramadan. Reviewed: May 2019. Accessed: July 2022. Link

[5] British Nutrition Foundation: Fiber. Accessed: July 2022. Link

[6] Chambers, L, McCrickerd, K, Yeomansa, MR. Optimising foods for satiety. Trends in Food Science & Technology 41(2) February 2015, pp: 149-160. Link

[7] Tardy, AL, Pouteau, E, Marquez, D, Yilmaz, C, Scholey, A. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients 12(1): 228. January 2020. Link

[8] Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Legumes and Pulses. Link