While the holy month of Ramadan holds the highest and most celebrated religious significance for a lot of people out there, it is also the most exotic month for energizing foodways. Just how grisly these habits take on to us is the experience earned only towards the month end and after Eid when one desperately reaches out for Hajmola, Gaviscon and Mucaine, while others grab their jogging shoes and step on the treadmill.
These remedies might be effective, but without a well-charted diet plan, they remain incomplete in health value. A strict 3-week diet plan will, other than to complement physical workouts and medical remedies, work better and faster on your overall physical and metabolic rehabilitation.
Yes, we know diet plans are boring, especially after those teaser taste buds are so in love with sizzlers and crunchables, but remember, your intestines and that potbelly are already unpleasant and complaining – they need breathing air and fresh fluid to begin running again.
So, now is the time to pick up one or more of these diet plans and get that body and gut back in shape.
The ever-best diet, nutritionists say, is a low-carb diet. Mono- and disaccharides are okay. So for this, your morning will begin with a boiled egg, fiber meal and sugarless tea or milk. Bran bread is also very good. Even better are oats that do wonders for your body mass. Oats are one of the healthiest foods of the world, are light in digestion and help reduce cholesterol level. They can be taken in the form of porridge with sugarless milk. If it’s porridge, a medium-sized bowl with tea will be fine. If you’re going for bran bread instead, two to three loaves without a dairy spread will serve you well.
Your second meal will come around two hours after breakfast. A combo of any three of your favorite fruits diced and shuffled in a medium-sized bowl with a handful of dry fruits will fill you in well. Walnuts are nutritious and are the only dry fruit that isn’t fattening. Don’t worry if its summer, either. Dry fruits are a must throughout the year.
It’s now time for your third meal two hours later: boiled lentils or beans with a watery texture – no desi ghee tarka, no spices, and less salt. Your teatime can allow you to enjoy digestive biscuits that won’t add extra calories to your intake. They say, take your lunch like a pauper and dinner like a king.
Finally, dinner is a relief from the day-long boredom. It can comprise of lean meat and a dinner wheat roll or bread and a small portion of a dessert: count a few tablespoons!
Another combination of the daily diet could be a replacement of breakfast with fresh fruits, sugarless milk and a poached egg.
Your second meal could comprise a protein punch – a mixture of banana, milk and almond, and two digestive biscuits followed by a green lunch.
Dinner, again, can be an enjoyable variety with bread and lean meat and a small serving of a dessert. Make sure that you don’t skip a whole wheat bread. Wheat bread is an essential meal for growth and energy.
A bowl of Weetabix cereal, one poached egg, an apple and sugarless tea or milk is a perfect breakfast that gives you everything on a single platter.
Your midday meal should now have a bowl of fresh fruits and tofu, followed by a bowl of boiled beans, lentils. If you think your platters are too green and dry, try out steamed chicken or fish: no more than one serving though.
Once again, your dinner can be meaty and wheaty with a dessert to relish.
If Weetabix isn’t your cereal for thought, try one of the varieties of fruited cornflakes available in the market with unsweetened milk. Tea and one fresh fruit will complete your breakfast. As repeated earlier, your midday meal is incomplete without a handful of dry fruits. With dry fruits you can choose unsweetened yoghurt, or fruit salad. Vegetable, chicken or prawn soup for lunch should keep your day going. Digestive biscuits will now accompany tea. Dinner rolls, wheat bread or brown rice (one large spoonful) with lean meat can be a pick for an early dinner.
For a fulfilling and quick breakfast on the go, you can have a fruit salad, a bowl of sugarless, well-whipped yogurt and a detox juice. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice, 1.5 teaspoons honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a glass of lukewarm water. Cayenne pepper, believe it or not, helps to increase metabolism and lose weight.
Now, it is important to have a handful of dry fruits and either a poached egg or digestive biscuits at midday. Follow this with a protein-rich lunch ranging from steamed lean meat to beans, lentils and veggies or chicken soup with a glass of unsweetened milk (not skimmed). For dinner, boiled brown rice (rice water strained) with a less-salt and thin gravy will do you good.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It is highly important to consume a lot of water throughout the day to help with detoxification, weight loss and skin cleansing. Water works best when coupled with green tea: a smarter choice for detoxification, fat burn and skin rejuvenation. Five to seven cups during the day with a lemon squeeze will let you watch it!
Tips worth remembering
- The idea is to cut down on grease and simple carbs and enrich your meals with fiber, protein and omega-3 fats. So, don’t just restrict yourself to these menus. Go on to find your own interesting sources.
- You’ll notice that the menus are more or less shuffled and rearranged. Again, the idea is to consume proteins and fiber. You can re-plan your own menus with these and more diets; just ensure that a balanced diet divided into five or six meals is your target.
- Don’t overeat in a single meal. Let your digestive canal breathe well.
While you can go in a food-coma after having all those scrumptious dishes of biryani, qourma and kebabs, these diet plans after the Eid festivities would help you get back on track in no time.
About the author: Zufishan Ghani is a teacher at Bahria University and an English grad from the University of Karachi.