Navratri is a time for festivities as well as fasting. Many communities across India abstain from consuming alcohol, onion, garlic or non-vegetarian food during this time, and some restrict their diet even more severely during these nine days dedicated to Goddess Durga.

Although most people fast for spiritual purification at this time, there’s a scientific explanation to it as well. Navratri coincides with the changing seasons, a time when the body’s immunity is low and people are more likely to fall ill. Avoiding rich foods and detoxing with ingredients that are light, easy-to-digest and full of nutrients such as protein and fiber is the best way to prepare your body for the transition.

While these ingredients may be excellent for health, the preparation style of typical Navratri fast fare isn’t as kind to your waistline. Kuttu Ki Puri, Sabudana Vada, potato chips, Makhane Ki Kheer and other delicacies are deep-fried or loaded with sugar, so avoid them. I’d recommend sticking to protein-rich fruits, nuts and low-fat dairy. What’s amazing is that nature has done most of the work for us. The seasonal fruits during Navratri are the healthiest options that you have to choose from.

Here are 10 food items to eat if you’re fasting for Navratri:

Apple

Apples are rich in dietary fiber, flavonoids and antioxidants. It’s one fruit that you can eat at any time of the day for an energy boost.

rich in dietary fiber

Pumpkin

You can make soups, sabzi and even sweets with pumpkin, which is both filling and an excellent source of fiber, iron, Vitamins A, C and E, and other nutrients.

Vitamins A, C and E

Kuttu Ki Roti

Kuttu, or buckwheat, is an excellent source of amino acids, antioxidants and fiber. It’s also gluten-free, and therefore easy to digest. Most people opt for Kuttu Ki Puri which is deep-fried and high on calories. Instead, use this flour to make rotis.

Paneer

Paneer is rich in protein and a good source of calcium. Try having Paneer Tikka for dinner instead of gorging on fried puris.

rich in protein

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a better alternative to potato, as it is low in starch, and rich in fiber and vitamins. It can be used to prepare tikkis or even chaat.

Baked Sabudana Vada

While sabudana, or sago, has few health benefits – it’s a low calorie, high carb ingredient – the accompanying ingredients in the vada make it a nutritious fasting meal. Instead of deep-frying the vada, bake it in the oven, basting both sides with a brush of oil to make sure it becomes crisp.

Dry Fruits

Dry fruits have all the essential nutrients that you need for good health. A mix of cashewnuts, pistols, dates, almonds and raisins are a better snack choice compared to the pre-packaged upwas chivdas.

Raita

Raita is made of yoghurt, considered a “complete food” as it is full of nutrients, protein and calcium. Vegetable or Makhana Raita are both healthy options.

Pear

Just like apple, pear is rich in fiber, full of nutrients and a yummy fruit. You can have it at any time of the day.

full of nutrients

Papaya

It’s rich in fiber, Vitamins B and C, potassium and minerals. It’s also a fruit that leaves you feeling full for longer.

While you can gorge on the above-mentioned food items, also try out these healthy recipes this Navratri season:

Fruits and Makhana Kheer

You can skip sugar or Sugar Free because fruits work as the sweetener in this nutritious kheer recipe – made with makhana (fox nuts or lotus seeds).

nutritious kheer

Ingredients
  • 500 ml low-fat milk
  • ½ cup makhana
  • 1 cup fruits, chopped (apple, pear, pomegranate, banana)
  • ¼ teaspoon of cardamom (elaichi) powder
Method
  • Dry roast and grind the makhanas to a powder.
  • Boil the milk for 5 minutes. Add the makhana powder, and stir and boil for another 5 minutes.
  • Let the mix cool down. Add cardamom powder and fruits.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Pumpkin and Apple Soup

This is a tasty, filling and nutritious dinner substitute during the fasting season.

substitute during the fasting season

Ingredients
  • 1 cup red pumpkin (kaddu), chopped
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • A pinch of rock salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
Method
  • Pressure-cook the pumpkin, apple and cinnamon stick in a cup of water.  Cool and blend the mix.
  • Transfer to a pan on the stove, and add the seasonings.
  • Switch off the gas, add a cup of milk and stir.
  • Serve hot.

Looking for healthy & nutritious recipe ideas to keep the kilos off this Navratri season? Let our coaches help!

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Written by Alpa Momaya

Alpa Momaya

You are what you eat, believes Alpa Momaya. So with the right diet, anyone can achieve optimal mental, physical and spiritual health.

Alpa has first-hand knowledge of this – she battled various issues with her own health and weight, but by incorporating good eating habits and regular exercise, she has reclaimed her fitness levels today. She offers the advice she took to HealthifyMe users — make the right lifestyle choices daily, sticking to a nutritious diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep. Don’t think of it as having to solve a problem, instead see it as a way to achieve long and happy life.

After a PG diploma in dietetics from Mumbai University, Alpa did a diploma in holistic nutrition in Canada and is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner today. Along with having worked in various weight-loss clinics and as a consultant for a natural pharmacy, she’s helped her family control ailments like diabetes and hypertension, and hopes to help her HealthifyMe clients do the same. “I can proudly say my daughter happily eats any vegetable or fruit without ever making a face,” Alpa claims, and she is determined that those who consult her will go back similarly impressed.

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