Ask My Readers | Menu Ideas for Pre-Fast Meal

Reader Q&AToday’s reader question comes from Danit.

I never remember what I make from one year to the next for my pre-fast menu for Tisha B’Av? Before Yom Kippur we always have roasted chicken, which obviously isn’t an option.  

Thanks for your ideas!

I am actually wondering this, too! Since my husband and I are still eating grain-free, I’m not sure if we should try to integrate a bunch of other carbs (beans or lentils, for example, in place of pasta) or just stick with high protein.

Can you help Danit out? Let’s talk (vegetarian) pre-fast meals in the comments section!

Do you have a question about budgeting, couponing, menu planning or anything else? Please send me an email – I love hearing from my readers!


  1. We do watermelon and grapes before each fast. for the meal its salmon fish with greens and garlic bread and vegetable soup ( and I personally have to eat chocolate its my feel good treat. I have a variety of things like parve chilli and spinich chickpeas burgersfor the ppeople who won’t eat the fish.

  2. We always try for soup – but not salty (or spicy)! All that water is a good thing. I like lentil soup, like this one: Add a crusty bread (although not for the gluten-free people, sorry), maybe some corn on the cob or cucumber salad, and you’ve got a yummy, filling-but-not-too-filling meal.

  3. diane rabin says

    My husband and I are both on Medifast, so its Salmon, salad, and possibly some kind of chickpea salad, and some veggies (higher carbs, green beans?). Any suggestions from any one on Medifast? and gallons of water all day…its gonna be in the 90’s on Long Island tomorrow and Tuesday . 🙁

    • Estelle Siele; says

      I’m curious about the medifast. How is it going? I heard you lose but it is impossible to get off without gaining your weight back. I don’t want a lifetime commitment. Any thoughts, opinions, comments?

      • diane rabin says

        I”m in the losing stage, but feeling great. approx. 40 lb in 13 weeks, and very motivated. the idea behind the program is to change your lifestyle–to change what you eat/how often and to keep active. I’m not planning on eating Medifast bars, etc for the rest of my life but its very convenient/easy/user friendly and a decent amount of kosher options. As in any change of lifestyle, you are making a commitment to rethink how you used to eat/cook/shop/exercise–and its all for a positive outcome.

  4. We are having cream of carrot or broccoli soup (whatever is in the freezer), fried flounder, mashed potatoes, salad and fruit. Doesn’t really matter what you eat, 25 hours is a LONG time.

  5. We drink a lot of gatorade for a few days before to stay hydrated. For the meal, I am serving lasagna, ziti, maybe pesto pasta or garlic knots as well; potatoes, broccoli, and ice cream for dessert.

  6. We generally eat salmon Kol Nidre night and I’m thinking of making salmon Monday night…either rice, quionoa or potatoes and veggies…..nothing salty or spicey (but flavorful) its an easy meal and doesn’t make you thirsty…

  7. I like pasta-it’s filling. Maybe a quiche because it’s got eggs for protein and a little cheese. I never subscribed to the theory that salty is no good for a fast. I feel it keeps you less dehydrated (at least for a while) and you get thirsty regardless of food choice.
    Maybe some lentils or a soup.
    BUT! I always break our fast with English muffins and scrambled eggs. Always. It’s what my father did and I look forward to it all year! Weird, no?

  8. I’ll make a split pea soup with lots of veggies, halibut, a pasta salad with tomatoes, a red cabbage salad, a onion kugel and mashed potatoes. For dessert, watermelon and other fruit. Lots of water for 2 days before and cutting out of caffeine for the week before. Hopefully, the protein, carbs, high fiber, will help 😉

  9. I already have a “Berber red lentil soup” with big chunks of summer squash in it. I have a good whole grain bread to go with it-and watermelon as the last item about 1/2 hour before the fast starts. I made a pureed zucchini soup for lunch also.I think I’ll add some soy sausages to each serving of soup also. And I like the idea of chocolate to get me through. I ended up in the hospital getting 2 bags of fluids after I fainted at 6pm during hte last fast. this was dehydration coupled with extreme fatigue and heat exhaustion. Not fun. Usually I can handle a fast no sweat-but my body is starting to behave in ways I do not recognize.

  10. Rachel Slutsky says

    Before 9 B’Av we always have lentil stew. We used to have it with (semi-burnt) toast. There is a tradition to eat lentils or eggs before 9 B’Av (or during shiva) and burnt toast symbolizes the burning of the Temple. This year we are trying to do more grain-free meals, so we’ll probably have our stew with quinoa or on it’s own. I also heard recently that it’s best to eat carbs and fat (not a huge amount of protein) before fasting. Good luck!

  11. Shawn Wylie says

    Was going to do soup. Instead, Kosher Turkey burgers, mixed with green onions, then pan fried w/coconut oil, and an Israeli salad (finely diced cucumbers, tomatoes, (avocado optional), some Kosher salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Nice and light. This will be for both pre and post. Good health with my health issues, AND, observance.

  12. galileegirl says

    I also struggle with this every year since we aren’t fish eaters. This year we’ll be having split pea soup and homemade pizza (with whole wheat crust).

  13. Faigy Topp says

    I printed this up on my notes a few years ago and I always go back to it before a fast.
    The water, carbs and honey really all add up and make it easier! True you may be hungry, but when I do all this I can make it through the day, where before I couldn’t.

    1) Don’t have ANY caffeine for 3 days before the fast.
    2) Every time you go to the fridge for something to eat, take a cup of water first. Drinking down 5 cups at once will not work. You just need to drink a cup at a time multiple times throughout the day.
    It may help to keep a small bottle in the fridge so you don’t need to go find a cup.
    3) for supper before the fast:
    Prepare lots of complex starches (pasta, rice, couscous) & water-filled fruits&veges.
    4) Don’t worry about what you may gain. Don’t forget that tomorrow you won’t be eating ANY carbs!

    My typical menu for before a regular fast:

    zucchini soup
    avocado salad
    couscous salad w/ tomato, cuke, pepper, chickpeas
    pasta & sauce or rice & mushrooms

    last thing to have before fast should be just a spoonful of plain honey.

    The last 3 years I’ve been making meals like this for before the fast. When I’m careful about caffeine, eat what I serve, and have the honey, I fast drastically better than when I didn’t.

    Have an easy fast!

    7/18/10 – UPDATE:

    This year’s menu is:
    “couscous ratatouille”
    guacamole with NY Pretzels (Yoel’s in the mood of them)
    israeli salad
    water, tea

    Erev Yom Kippur 2010 menu:
    1st meal:
    israeli salad
    pasta salad
    couscous with bouillon
    watermelon and grapes

    2nd meal:
    zucchini soup
    mashed potatoes with sauteed onions
    tomato-cucumber-avocado salad
    watermelon and grapes

    October 2011 update:
    YK menu: I fasted pretty well!
    1st meal:
    gefilte fish
    salad (tomato, cucumber, avocado)
    chicken soup with lokshen and kreplach
    baked rice with meatballs
    2nd meal:
    chicken soup with lokshen and kreplach
    mashed potatoes with fried onions
    (forgot to serve the broccoli and asparagus)
    chocolate cake and orange juice
    gefilte fish
    chicken soup with lokshen & kreplach
    baked chicken nuggets
    israeli couscous
    all the leftovers from yesterday
    halva ice cream and mango ice cream

    10th of Teves 2012 – pre-fast menu
    butternut squash soup
    chicken ratatouille
    french couscous
    pasta for whoever wants
    avocado salad with a big pretzel (special treat in this house;)
    cut peppers

    Taanis Esther 2012pre-fast:
    butternut squash soup
    couscous salad (couscous, tomato, cuke)
    asparagus? broccolli? (going to store today. will c what they have)
    avocado with big pretzel (we gotta finish them b4 pesach)
    maybe mashed potatoes as well.

  14. My husband is eating at work, so for me and the girls it will be pasta, fish sticks, egg salad, green salad, and watermelon. Dont know what we are gonna eat after the fast.

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