Refugees in Syria have no choice but to live on little more than rice, beans and a tiny tin of sardines a week.

But self-confessed foodie Archana Soman, a doctor at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice has.

She chose to give up her love of rich and indulgent dishes for a week though - and joined in the Ration Challenge, existing on the meagre diet of a refugee for a week to raise awareness and funds for families from war-torn Syria.

“It was no mean feat for me to take up the Ration Challenge,” said Archana, a consultant in Paediatric Palliative Medicine who cares for children at the North Anston hospice and Sheffield Children's Hospital.

“My luxury is rich, decadent food. I love cooking and spend without really thinking on the best ingredients and eating out,” she said. “I am really greedy, as families and staff who have shared a dinner table with me in the dining room at Bluebell Wood will testify.”

Archana joined Bluebell Wood last September. She was previously a paediatric consultant in Norwich where most of her eight years were spent looking after children with cancer and providing palliative care to children with life-limiting conditions.

“Seeing first-hand the positive difference that this care made to children and their families made me want to work at Bluebell Wood,” she said.

“Working at a children’s hospice is very rewarding. Every day I get to know some of the bravest children, young people and families. They all face such different challenges, but are united by their resilience and their ‘can do’ attitude.

“I am very aware of children and families around the world who face huge life problems with little or no support. That’s why I took up the Ration Challenge. The money from my sponsors provides food, medicine and education for Syrian refugees and supports Concern Worldwide UK in tackling hunger and extreme poverty in the world's poorest places.”

Archana had to live on 1,700 calories a day, eking out her weekly rations of 1.9kg of rice, a tin of red kidney beans, a small tin of sardines, flour and 80g of dried chickpeas.

“I could only spice it up with chili and a bit of salt - no other spices, no herbs, no fruit, or vegetables,” explained Archana, 47, a mother of two. “The day I got to eat the sardines was amazing.”

She banished herself from the family’s kitchen in Fulwood, took a rice and bean pack-up to work and kept a daily blog. On Day 5 she wrote: “Today has been the hardest. All that is left for the week is some rice and oil, a tin of red kidney beans plus an egg and tiny carrot - rewards I’ve earned because of my sponsors’ generous donations. I caved in and had a black coffee with my packed lunch.”

She admitted: “It was much harder than I imagined. Although I was very hungry it didn’t affect my work. But by the evening I was light-headed and heading for bed.”

Archana got through the week, raising almost £600 and losing nearly 2kg. She added: “The challenge made me realise what privileges we enjoy as opposed to a huge percentage of the world, and made me very determined not to waste food.”

There is still time to support Archana at: