Smart Choices, Healthy Ramadan: Guide to Avoiding Extra Calories

How do you avoid extra calories and choice healthier options during Ramadan in the UAE? Coach Katya provides some great tips and advice.
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Smart Choices, Healthy Ramadan: Coach Katya's Guide to Avoiding Extra Calories

Article Contributor: Katya

Hello, Abu Dhabi coach Katya here, filled with enthusiasm for the shared goal of traversing the delightful offerings of Ramadan while conscientiously avoiding the pitfalls of added calories that our festive spreads can often present. 

Let us engage collectively in the practice of mindful eating and prioritize holistic wellness. 

Together, we shall discover and implement intelligent choices and innovative strategies to make this sacred month a time of both spiritual nourishment and physical satisfaction.

Table Of Contents

Mindful Iftar Choices:

Initiating your fast-breaking ritual should not signify relinquishing your dedication to a healthy lifestyle. You can indulge in the evening’s meal thoughtfully by selecting foods abundant in nutrients that will quell your hunger without the burden of excess calories. 

Strive for a balanced composition on your plate, featuring lean proteins, fiber-loaded whole grains, and an array of vegetables presenting all the colors of the rainbow.

Smart Iftar Plate:

An intelligent approach to breaking your fast can help maintain your energy levels and provide the right nutrients for your body.

  • Grilled Chicken or Fish: Opting for either grilled chicken or fish as a lean protein source will supply your muscles with essential amino acids, which are crucial for repair and recovery after a day of fasting. Not only do these proteins sustain you for longer periods, but they also aid in maintaining muscle mass.

  • Quinoa or Brown Rice: Selecting complex carbohydrates like quinoa or brown rice is an excellent way to ensure a slow and steady release of energy throughout the evening. Unlike simple sugars that lead to quick spikes in blood sugar, these grains keep you feeling full and energized without drastic peaks and troughs in your energy levels.

  • Vegetable Medley: Incorporating a variety of vegetables in your meal not only brings a splash of color to your plate but also contributes a mix of dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Eating a diversity of vegetables ensures you get an array of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which support overall health and can refresh the body after a long day of fasting. The natural crunch and texture variation adds another layer of satisfaction to your eating experience.

    By carefully choosing the components of your iftar plate, you create a balanced meal that nourishes your body, replenishes your energy stores, and facilitates a healthier fasting experience.

Hydration Over Sugary Drinks:

Making the decision to stay well-hydrated by consistently choosing water over beverages that are high in sugar content is crucial, especially during times such as Iftar when thirst and a preference for something sweet can make sugary drinks seem particularly appealing. 

However, it is important to remember that these sweetened beverages come with a high calorie load and often do not satisfy your body’s hydration needs effectively. By opting for plain water, you ensure that your hydration levels remain optimal without consuming unnecessary sugars and calories. 

This not only benefits your physical well-being but also aligns seamlessly with any dietary restrictions or health goals you might have set for yourself, like managing weight or improving overall dietary habits.


Hydration Tips:


  • Infused Water: To make the prospect of drinking water more enticing, consider enhancing its flavor by infusing it with natural ingredients. Adding refreshing slices of cucumber, fragrant mint leaves, or a vibrant assortment of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, or orange can transform a plain glass of water into a delightful beverage. This can be a simple yet effective way to increase your water intake while enjoying a hint of flavor.

  • Herbal Teas: When looking for a warm alternative to sugary drinks, herbal teas are an excellent choice. Opt for caffeine-free varieties to avoid dehydration. Beverages such as soothing chamomile or tangy hibiscus offer a comforting experience, and their diverse range of subtle flavors can serve as a satisfying substitute for both sweetened drinks and plain water. Plus, they can have additional health benefits, making them a smart addition to your hydration routine.

  • Plain Water: Ultimately, embracing the simplest form of hydration—plain water—is the most effective means of maintaining optimal hydration levels. It’s readily available, cost-effective, and free from additives and sweeteners. While it might seem mundane compared to flavored beverages, the importance of plain water cannot be overstated. It is essential for nearly every bodily function and can improve skin health, aid in digestion, and support kidney function, among other benefits. If increasing your plain water consumption seems daunting, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle to carry with you throughout the day, which serves as a constant reminder to keep hydrated.

Snack Smart During Non-Fasting Hours:

When hunger pangs strike between Iftar and Suhoor, it’s crucial to be selective with your snacks. Reach for items rich in nutrients that will offer you satiety minus the additional calorie load. Opt for foods that are not only filling but also contribute positively to your overall well-being, ensuring you stay energized and nourished during the fasting period.

Healthy Snack Ideas:

  • Fresh Fruit with Nut Butter: A delightful pairing marrying the natural sweetness of fruit with the creaminess of protein-rich nut butter. This snack offers a perfect balance of fiber and healthy fats, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer.

  • Greek Yogurt with Berries: Indulge in a snack that is teeming with probiotics and packed with the antioxidative power of berries. Creamy, tangy Greek yogurt combined with the burst of flavor from fresh berries creates a refreshing treat that is as nutritious as it is delicious.

  • Vegetable Sticks with Hummus: Revel in the crunchy texture of fresh vegetables dipped in smooth, flavorful hummus. Not only is this combination a festival of textures and flavors, but it’s also an excellent way to get a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats. It’s an ideal option for those looking for something low in calories but high in nutritional value.

Incorporating these wholesome snacks into your diet during non-fasting hours can make a significant impact on your energy levels and health. Remember, the key is to choose snacks that provide substantial nutritional benefits while still satisfying your cravings in a balanced manner.

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Inspirational quote - my goal is to become a better version of myself

Control Portions with Mindful Eating:

Embracing the concept of mindful eating can profoundly transform your relationship with food. This is not merely a diet but a full-fledged lifestyle shift that empowers you to listen to your body and eat with intention. 

It’s an infinitely beneficial strategy to counter the common issue of overeating. Fully immerse yourself in the dining experience; from relishing each bite to being acutely aware of your body’s cues signaling hunger and fullness. 

This heightened awareness helps prevent the unintentional consumption of excess calories which often goes unnoticed.

Mindful eating is about creating a harmonious relationship with food, where you honor your body’s needs and respect its limits. By doing so, you can maintain a balanced diet and develop a deeper appreciation for food as a source of nourishment and pleasure.

Mindful Eating Habits:

  • Slow Down: Make a conscious effort to slow the pace at which you consume your meals by setting down your utensils at regular intervals. This deliberate pause allows you to chew thoroughly and better digest your food, while also giving your mind the time to register the signals of satiety from your body before you’re overly full.

  • Enjoy Every Bite: Engage all your senses to fully appreciate the meal in front of you. Notice the colors, savor the flavors, and delight in the textures. By doing so, you’ll derive more satisfaction from smaller quantities and will likely find that you need less food to feel content.

  • Listen to Your Body: Cultivate the habit of paying close attention to your body’s natural indicators of hunger and fullness. Eat when you feel hungry but start thinking about stopping when you notice the first signs of fullness. Recognize that these cues are your body’s way of communicating what it needs, and honoring them is key to healthy portion control.

Choose Nutrient-Rich Suhoor Options:

Embarking on your day with a well-thought-out and satiating Suhoor meal can profoundly affect your energy levels during the fast. It is crucial to select foods that not only deliver a steady stream of energy but also pack essential nutrients, effectively helping you resist the urge to snack throughout the fasting hours. This practice guards against hunger pangs and ensures that both your body and mind are nourished.


Thoughtfully Curated Nutrient-Rich Suhoor Choices:


  • Oatmeal with Nuts and Fruit: A classic choice, oatmeal with a mix of nuts and fresh or dried fruit brings together the benefits of fiber and protein for long-lasting satisfaction. The fiber in the oatmeal aids in slow digestion, ensuring a gradual release of energy, while the nuts offer healthy fats and additional protein, which help in feeling full longer.

  • Whole Grain Toast with Avocado: Revel in the creamy texture and rich taste of avocado spread over hearty whole grain toast. This combination is not just delightful to your taste buds but also supplies your body with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats are known for their role in maintaining sustained energy levels and aiding in nutrient absorption.

  • Egg and Vegetable Omelet: Treat yourself to a robust meal by whipping up an omelet loaded with eggs and a variety of colorful vegetables. Eggs are a fantastic source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth, while the vegetables provide a host of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are vital for overall health. Together, they form a nutritionally dense meal that can help you feel energized and satisfied throughout your fast.

Be Mindful of Dessert Choices During Ramadan:

During the Ramadan period in the UAE, it’s tempting to indulge in your favorite sweet treats quite frequently. It is completely acceptable to occasionally succumb to those cravings for the desserts you adore, but it is crucial to stay conscious of not only the portion sizes that you are consuming but also the frequency of these indulgences. Instead of reaching for large portions of traditional desserts,

Why not consider selecting healthier alternatives or deciding to share a smaller, more petite portion with someone else? By taking this mindful approach, you can still fulfill your taste for something sweet, all the while avoiding the trap of accumulating an excessive amount of calories which can be counterproductive to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this holy month.

Healthier Dessert Options to Consider:

  • Fruit Salad: This simple yet delectable option is replete with natural sweetness and is an excellent way to acquire a varied range of essential vitamins. Not only is it refreshing, but a fruit salad can also serve as a vibrant centerpiece on your Iftar table.

  • Yogurt Parfait: Why not take some creamy Greek yogurt and layer it with a bounty of fresh berries? Add a drizzle of pure honey for that extra touch of decadence, and voilà – you have created a luscious treat that’s both satisfying and nourishing.

  • Dark Chocolate: For the chocolate aficionados, dark chocolate is your ally. Relish the deep, rich flavors by allowing yourself a modest portion; it’s perfect for quelling those persistent sweet urges. Dark chocolate not only provides a satisfying end to a meal but also offers the benefit of antioxidants, making it a smarter choice when the dessert temptation strikes.

In Summary.....

Charting a path through Ramadan with judicious selections and conscious consumption is a rewarding endeavor that enhances enjoyment while fostering good health. By embracing nutrient-rich foods, prioritizing ample hydration, practicing portion control, and making thoughtful eating a habit, you can immerse in the essence of Ramadan without accumulating surplus calories. May your month be an amalgam of health, infinite happiness, and the bliss derived from nurturing your body and soul.

Strength training in Abu Dhabi for ladies with female PT Katya

Abu Dhabi Female Personal Trainer - Katya

If you are looking for a female Personal Trainer in Abu Dhabi, Katya can provide you with well-structured personalized fitness programs from beginners to advanced.

Kateryna is a highly skilled and dedicated Level 4 Personal Trainer from Ukraine and has been living in Abu Dhabi for the last 2 years. She is a self-motivated, hard working and passionate about her role as a fitness trainer. Kateryna has been working enthusiastically with clients to achieve their goals, elevate their well being and make better choices when it comes to their health.

Kateryna has helped her clients unlock their potential, lose weight, build muscles mass, develop foundations for better movement patterns for teenagers and enhance athletic performance. She is also a specialist in fitness for the elderly, people suffering from obesity and metabolic disorders as well as providing guidelines for nutrition that supports their goals.

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