The month of Ramadan is filled with meals with family and friends. It’s a time when catching up over a delicious meal, home cooked or an array of dishes at your favourite restaurant is something everyone looks forward to and enjoys immensely. We are spoilt with the selection of food on offer and after fasting all day, the temptation to over-indulge is high.
Eating in moderation not only helps keep your weight in check, but also prevents discomforting bloating and reduces lethargy. Follow these simple tips to ensure you don’t overeat and feel better for it.
1. Plan what to eat
You will probably know what meals will be spent eating out so once you have a weekly overview, it will be easier to plan what to eat. The point is to have some control and not eat everything at every meal. Instead, choose a certain dish to have at each buffet and don’t let your ‘eyes be bigger than your stomach’, so to speak!
2. Start with a big glass of water and dates
As you would normally do at home, break your fast with a big glass of water and two to three dates, and give yourself 10 minutes to digest this. Remind yourself that you are having this meal not just to eat, but to enjoy the company and have a pleasant evening. Overloading your plate is not your priority.
3. Pace yourself
Take your time to eat and chew your food. It takes about 20 minutes from when you first start eating for satiety signals to reach your brain. If you rush through your food in five minutes, these signals don’t have time to reach your brain, which means you will have another helping even though you’ve eaten enough. This can lead to overeating and feeling very full.
4. Stick to your plan
Start your meal lightly with some ulam (salad) and any other vegetables. For your second dish, have the dish that you decided to have that evening, e.g. beef rendang, briyani or nasi tomato. Remember to stick to the plan and don’t get tempted by the abundance of choices!
5. Give your body time to digest
After you’ve finished your main meal, take five to 10 minutes to digest. No matter how good you think that teh tarik is going to taste at the end of the meal, order a herbal tea instead. Now, ask yourself if dessert is really necessary. The best option is to have a few pieces of fruit; and if you must have dessert, be sure to take a small serving – three to four spoonfuls will satisfy that sweet craving.