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Navratri, apart from Diwali is one of the main festivals celebrated all over India worshipping Mata Durga. Every year Hindus all over the world fast for nine days. The fasting period is recognized as Navratri Vrat by North Indians. The misconception by people is that substituting (carbohydrate) with much servings of fried potatoes, sabudana, papads, crispies, sweets etc will help in losing weight by saying vrat ka khana is just a myth. And apart from eating all wrong stuff, another common myth is not eating at all for losing weight. People usually are in the greed of putting down few kilos in 9 days; they starve from morning till evening and then actually go for a big meal in the evening which is just a ‘no’. It causes harm to metabolism and in return you get only fat, bloating and constipation in few. Navratri food espically sabudana is starchy, needs a lot of oil to be cooked which leads to constipation as our body is not used to starch. We need to change the way we cook espically while fasting. For Example, have a potato in a mashed form like alu chat rather than in fried form. If one wants to have French fries then you can use Air Fryer. It’s better to stay away from such foods (starchy, fried) as our immune system has a tendency to weaken during seasonal transitions.
Sharing few snack ideas which are nutritional and easy on digestive system so that you can enjoy festive fasting without compromising on your health and eating habits:
1. Cold pressed juices: Cold-pressed juices are full of fibre and vitamins. All day they will keep you all going espically while fasting as they are the perfect energy boosters. Fruit juices like kiwi, mosambi, pomegranate or a mixture of these three are great sources for energy. These are excellent sources of fibre, antioxidants, vitamin c and polyphenols and other essential nutrients. You can also make juice at home by adding tender coconut water and drink.
2. Makhana: Makhana can be consumed in roasted form and rich source of carbohydrates. It’s low fat content which makes a perfect snack to boost energy. Makhana can be consumed in roasted form or can have makhane ki kher using skimmed milk. Makhana are rich in magnesium and postassium.
3. Dry fruit ladoos : People who has a sweet tooth can have a dry fruit ladoo while fasting. Dry fruit ladoo is always healthy as they are filled with nutrients like proteins, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and these nutrients are required to maintain your energy level throughout the day. Also you can have dry fruits like kiwi, raspberries, blueberries (all unsweetened), prunes, apricot, dates are essential power packs. People with blood pressure needs to be taken extra care while fatsing, if they feel headache or sluggishness then they can have lime + rock salt water in between.
4. Farali biscuits: These biscuits are primarily made with peanuts, milk and jaggery powder. You can have them plane or with tea, coffee or milk.
The following are essential diet tips which can be followed to remain healthy while on fasting period:
1. Eat after every 2-3 hours while fasting. Because if you starve for a long time, your blood glucose levels may drop down that would take away your energy. So instead, try to have small 4-5 meals to maintain yourself.
2. Have more yogurt, buttermilk, smoothies, fruits which will fill you and maintain the required fluid level in the body.
3. Replace sugary sago kheer with makahna kheer or mixed fruit curd.
4. Instead of making kuttu pakoda and puri, make kuttu ki roti.
5. Drink milk twice a day, instead of whole milk replace with skimmed milk.
6. Hydrate yourself, not just water, you can go for fluids such as coconut water, lime water, and vegetable juices in order to keep your body hydrated and filled. Otherwise, you will be hungry as well as weak due to fasts.
7. Eat pumpkin, dudhi veggies in different forms and can make soups to fill you up.
8. Include all types of seasonal fruits in your diet unless you have Diabetes or any other medical condition.
9. Keep moving -We know fasting can make you tired and you might want to just rest and not move much. Try to walk for every five minutes every one hour or 10 sets of Suryanamaskar or basic exercises for 15 minutes to keep you fit.
10. Make sure that you stay hydrated and energized before you start dandiya. Have a combination of proteins and carbohydrates to stay energized. You can include milkshakes with dryfruits or a dryfruit laddu or chikki with fresh coconut water.
11. Do not starve for a long time. Focus more on health especially while fasting as during fasting one’s immunity gets on the lower side and many suffer from dehydration toon and become deficient of vitamins and minerals. So focus on health, drink 2-3 litres of water and have two fruits and dry fruits in a day.
1. Calorie rich sago kheer / sheera replace with mixed fruits with yogurt or milkshake
2. Fried foods made of potato like chips, puri, pakoda replace with tikki, unmashed sweet potato with low fat cheese
3. Coconut/peanut sugar chikkis replace with dry fruits chikkis (very little cashew, almonds, pista, roasted peanuts with jaggery or organic honey) or rajgira chikki
4. Banana chips replace with roasted makhana.
5. Excess tea/coffee replace with masala milk, milkshakes, buttermilk, vegetable juices without straining.
On waking up:– 2 glasses of warm water with pinch of ginger powder
After half hour:- tea / coffee / milk
Breakfast:- a bowl of rajgeera or makhana kheer / 1 glass of fruit milkshake
Mid-morning:– 1 cup green tea with one seasonal fruits with 1 fig and 1 date
Lunch:- 1 amaranth stuffed paratha / a bowl of dahi alu chat / 1 kuttu atta roti with veggies
Mid-evening:- tender coconut water with 5 almonds + 2 walnuts
Dinner:- 3-4 paneer or vegetable cutlets / handful of boiled peanuts with vegetable soup / same as lunch
Bed time:– 1 cup milk with pinch of turmeric powder
Note: This is a common diet plan for the one who fasts in Navratri. Diet may vary from person to person. If you have any health conditions then please consult your health instructor before following any plan.