Fasting in Navratris is an age-old tradition that is followed by Hindus religiously. You must have seen your elders observing this fast with full devotion. The eight or nine-day fasting is the most special feature of this festivity.
Navratra or Navratri signifies nine sacred nights dedicated to nine incarnations of Maa Durga. Fasting that means abstinence from normal food is followed with religious zeal to please all avatars of Devi Shakti. According to scientific research, it is known that the changing weather during this period of the year calls for the cleansing of bowel system. Thus, by way of fasting, one can prepare his/her body for the upcoming winter season. Fasting strengthens our immunity as well as the power to combat various seasonal diseases. Thus besides religious faith, this fasting is backed by solid science as well. Go on falaahar diet during these pious days. It is religiously saatvik and scientifically light on the stomach. Cereals, grains, few vegetables, non-veg, alcohol and processed salt are strictly prohibited to eat when you are keeping fasts. Even all the variety of spices is also not permitted to be consumed.
Fasting for a few days can have an adverse effect on health. So, it’s important to know what to eat to fulfil the requirements of the body in a healthy way. Don’t indulge in high-calorie or fried Navratri stuff. Here are a few foods which can serve as healthy, low-calorie and delicious Navratri meals. Get most out of them while fasting. They are the real nutritional powerhouse.
Start your day with a plate full of assorted fresh fruits like papaya, watermelon and apple. This colourful plate will not only be a treat to your eyes but taste buds too. Relish the natural sweetness of crunchy and juicy fruits to enjoy vigorous health. Their goodness will hydrate and energise your body to kick-start the fasting day. You can also binge on nuts if you don’t want to have fruits daily. Nuts may be higher in calories but they contain ‘good fat’ that most junk food doesn’t. Eat few walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins. They can actually alter the functional markers for hunger and satiety. Consume a glass of low fat or skimmed milk with them to make it a wholesome breakfast. Eating nuts is always associated with weight-loss, better diet-compliance and improved satiety if eaten in right quantity and at right time. They can make an incredibly versatile addition to your Navratra diet.
Smoothie made up of different berries can be your favourite treat before lunchtime. Strawberries are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C. Combine them with blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit and banana. Being very rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it boosts metabolism and aids weight-loss. Freeze all the fruits for three to four hours before converting them in puree form. It will also help in making the smoothie thicker, tastier and colder.
During lunchtime you can have samak rice vegetable khichdi. It is simple to cook and easy to digest. Add cumin seeds, black pepper powder along with rock salt to make it tastier. Don’t forget to load it with freshly grated bottle gourd and chopped tomatoes while cooking. It will enhance the nutrition content. Garnish with green coriander leaves to give a tempting look and taste. Eat it with fresh low-fat yoghurt. Low-fat yoghurt is low in calories and high in calcium. Upgrade it with adding little cinnamon powder, black pepper powder and rock salt. Black pepper powder and rock salt will increase the taste and cinnamon is a top contender in the Best Spice for weight-loss category. High-calcium foods have been shown to increase body fat breakdown and preserve metabolism during fasting. Ideally, you should eat three servings of low-fat dairy product a day to get the most benefit. You may use them during breakfast, lunch and dinner time. The second option during lunch time is singhara flour roti and bottle gourd curry vegetable. Singhara flour is high in fibre. Fibre takes longest to digest. It gives you a feeling of being full till long, thereby preventing you from binge on other high-fattening foods. It is directly correlated to optimising health. This flour is gluten-free. You can make sighara roti adding grated bottle gourd, little rock salt and black pepper powder. Make roti on a non-stick pan without adding ghee or oil. Eat it with green coriander chutney and bottle gourd gravy vegetable cooked with minimum olive oil. Add cumin seeds, green chillies, tomato puree and coriander leaves in the curry vegetable to make it delicious. You can also eat singhara pancakes in lunch. Just grate a piece of peeled pumpkin in it. Add rock salt, cumin powder, black pepper powder, green chillies and lots of coriander leaves to boost the goodness of the recipe and make it more delicious. You can eat it with green coriander chutney and fresh yoghurt.
Now comes the evening snacking time. Boiled or baked shakarkandi (sweet potato) chaat is perfect to have. It is very nutritious, delicious and filling. Rock salt, black pepper powder, cumin powder and lemon juice can be added to balance out the sweet flavour of this dish. This snack gives a nice change with its sweet and spicy taste. You can also make boiled potato and banana chaat if you don’t like sweet potatoes. Potato is one of the most satiating foods around. You can eat it in boiled, steamed or baked form without adding oil to make it a part of your healthy diet. It can help in weight-loss. However, fried potato chips, French fries and fried potato chaat don’t count.
Eating a serving of cottage cheese is a great way to boost protein intake during fasting. It can be taken in dinner as it is very satiating making you feel full with a relatively low number of calories. Being high in calcium, it has been shown to aid in the fat burning process. You may roast it in a non-stick pan without adding oil. Sprinkle little rock salt, black pepper powder and lemon juice. Eat with green coriander chutney and enjoy feasting during fasting.
You eat less during fasting. Thus, the nutritional quality of what you eat becomes very crucial for the body. Say no to navratra chips, fries, pakodas, fried pranthas, puris and sugar loaded items like halwa and kheer. Fasting food is meant to be light and easy to digest. Eat cooked meal only once a day preferably not at night. Rest of the time remain hydrated with plain water, coconut water, lemon water, fresh fruit juices, low-calorie sugar-free milk shakes, butter milk and green tea. Avoid drinking coffee, tea and carbonated beverages. Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Navratri 2018.