Ramadan is a time for self-discipline and self-control yet many people end their fast with a feast and end up putting on weight during this period of refrainment. However, you can avoid this common problem and use it as an opportunity to lose some of the extra pounds you’ve wanted to shift or make some healthier changes to your lifestyle.
Avoid foods high in…
Fat – fried foods such as samosas or pakoras. Yes we know it’s hard, especially when they’ve become such a tasty family tradition.
Sugar – gulab jamun, luqaimat , baklava and balushahi. Sweets provide a quick hit of energy but it doesn't last long before you need and crave more. Reach for some almonds or fresh fibrous fruit such as figs and apricots instead.
Simple carbohydrates – such as white rice, white flour, white pasta, which means avoiding cakes, biscuits, pizza and pasta. These turn into sugar and offer a quick release of energy and less nutritional value than wholegrain carbohydrates such as oats and wholemeal flour.
Caffeine – that means tea, coffee, cola and carbonated energy drinks. Caffeine makes you lose water faster and will leave you feeling dehydrated and lacking energy.
Make smart choices at Iftar and Suhoor
You can make meal times satisfying and tasty if you keep your plate colorful and varied. Opt for complex carbs such as barley, oats, lentils, semolina, millet or wholemeal flour. Add plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and lean cuts of meat. Suhoor is the meal to pack in your protein as this helps you stave off hunger throughout the day. Good sources of protein include yogurt, eggs and nuts.
Eat normal sized meals
Keep your portion sizes normal – no food dunes should be in sight – and pace the timing of them so that you’re not continually eating from Iftar to Suhoor and you will be on the right track. This is a period of refrainment and understanding what it’s like not to live with excess, so try not to be tempted to go back for seconds and thirds.
As you’re not able to smoke during the day, Ramadan feels like the perfect opportunity to give up that bad habit. As someone who’s recently packed it in, I know it’s not easy, yet anything’s achievable if you put your mind to it. You can use nicotine gum at night if the cravings feel too overwhelming. You could also avoid the food and drinks you normally associate with smoking and change your routine: go for a walk instead of having that coffee and cigarette or call a friend to help you get over the initial craving.
We hope you enjoy making this Ramadan one that focuses on your health and wellbeing – good luck and keep sharing your tips and ideas with us.
Photos courtsey of Ramadan.co.uk and nutrition.org.uk
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