Fasting during the time of spring and autumn has been a part of holistic religious practices since ancient times. Navratri is celebrated twice a year in most parts of India. Sacrificing food during Navratri days is considered as an act of controlling oneself for materialistic needs to attain higher spiritual quests and to receive God’s blessing.
Scientifically it has been proved that during this change of season, our immune system gets weaker and the body becomes more vulnerable to toxins. Therefore a good diet is important to boost our immunity.
Our body can be detoxified with natural and high nutritive valued foods such as fruits, gluten-free and protein-rich grains, dairy products and dry fruits.
The structure of the Navratri vrat/fast braces the idea of a healthy lifestyle. If followed properly, it can be a good program to detox our body. So this Navratri, go for a balanced and nutritious Navratri diet. While fasting, it is important to keep an eye on the nutrients and fluid intake to feel energetic and active throughout the day.
We have made a list of healthy foods for you that will not only go with your fasting rituals but also help to keep you and your family healthy and hearty to enjoy the festival to the fullest.
1. Kuttu Atta (Buckwheat Flour)
Kuttu atta/buckwheat flour is high in fibre that helps in the detoxification of the body.
This flour is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
The fatty acids found in buckwheat keep blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol in check.
As per the Tradition, puris are made from Kuttu flour. You can give a healthy twist and make rotis of the same. One can add boiled and mashed sweet potato for binding the dough.
2. Sabudana (Sago/Tapioca Pearls)
Sabudana is considered an excellent source of carbohydrates which helps to boost the much-needed energy during vrats/fasts.
It helps to keep the body cool and is easy to digest.
Sabudana is low in fat and protein. You can use it with other ingredients, such as milk and nuts, for making kheer, payasam, gruel or vegetables and peanuts for making Sabudana khichdi.
It controls the fat and can be a healthy option!
3. Samak Chawal/Vari tandul/Samo rice/Bhagaror Kodri (Barnyard Millet)
It can be an absolute replacer of rice as it tastes almost alike to broken brown rice when cooked, it is called sanwa rice.
It is high in fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals such as iron and magnesium. It also boosts energy levels.
It is also said to be rich in substances called phytochemicals which help in lowering cholesterol.
It tastes better with dahi(curd) and peanut kadhi. It can be a complete meal with carrots or cucumber on the side.
4. Rajgira ( Amaranth)
Amaranth grain is rich in protein, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
It can be used either in puffed form or as flour during fast.
To satisfy sweet cravings Rajgira chikki is a very good option.
You can make roti with rajgira flour or puffed amaranth porridge with nuts as a filling breakfast.
5. Singhara Atta ( Water Chestnut Flour)
This flour is prepared from dried, ground water chestnuts.
Singhara Atta is a good source of minerals and vitamins.
It contains a high amount of vitamin B, potassium and a number of antioxidants.
The best way to eat singhara atta is by making rotis and dhoklas.
6. Makhana (Fox Nuts)
Makhana is a very common and popular food during fasting.
As it is loaded with antioxidants, it acts as an anti-ageing food by preventing white hair, wrinkles and premature ageing.
It is high in fibre and avoids constipation which helps the body to flush out the waste and prevents the accumulation of toxins.
It also controls high blood pressure, diabetes, palpitation and insomnia.
According to research, it is helpful in relieving arthritis-numbness and joint pains.
You can make makhana kheer with low-fat milk and dry fruits or have roasted makhanas as a snack. You can also make raita.
7. Legumes and Pulses ( used in South India)
There are many pulses such as green gram, bengal gram, red gram dal, green gram dal etc. are used to make sundals with coconut during Navratri.
It is known to everyone that pulses are an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
8. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits are tiny nuggets loaded with numerous benefits.
Almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts and raisins are eaten during fasts and also used to garnish sweets.
You can eat a handful of nuts as a snack or in breakfast to sustain your energy throughout the day.
You can also make a smoothie with nuts, fruit, curd and milk. It will keep you satiated for sure.
9. Fruits and Vegetables
A bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables abides your fasting regime.
Vegetables like bottle gourd, potato, pumpkin, colocasia, yam, sweet potato, cucumber, raw plantain, tomato, carrot, raw papaya and spinach are vegetables that are commonly consumed during Navratri.
Boiled root veggies can be a good source of energy needed during fasts. Use veggies like bottle gourd, pumpkin and cucumber to make ratios that cools the body.
To stay hydrated, fresh and to get vitamins A and C you should choose seasonal fruits.
10. Dairy Products
Dairy products are always considered to be holy for any auspicious occasion. Low-fat dairy products can be consumed at any time of the day to give the needed protein for enough energy.
Milk protein requires a long time to digest, hence keeps the sugar level stable.
To keep hunger pangs at bay have plain milk or buttermilk, sugar-free fruit shakes or make some paneer tikka.
11. Herbs and Spices
Rock salt or sendha namak is the only salt one can have during fasts in Navratri. It is good for your blood pressure and helps absorb minerals better than other common salts.
Jeera plays a key role in the detoxification and cooling effect on the body.
Jeera water or mint water also works wonders throughout the day.
Including a portion of coriander or mint chutney gives the needed antioxidants.
A sample Vrat Diet
Breakfast options (choose any one)
Fruits with skimmed milk
Amaranth porridge with nuts
Fruits shake with five to six soaked almonds
Fruit and nut smoothie
Mid-morning options (choose any one)
Lemon water with fruits
Coconut water with fruits
Green tea with water
Chia seed water
Lunch options (choose any one)
Grilled sabudana and potato vadas with mint chutney
Kuttu roti with pumpkin or lauki sabji and salad with raita
Baked sabudana and sweet potato tikkis and curd
Samak rice with dahi peanut kadhi, carrots/cucumber
Singhada rajgira cheela with lauki flaxseed raita and coriander chutney
Drink a cup of hot green tea with lemon
Green tea/tea with mixed nuts/roasted makhana/1 rajgira laddoo
Dinner (choose any one)
Milk with fruits
A bowl of curd and salad
Pumpkin and bottle gourd soup with paneer cubes