Navratri is a nine-day long festival held in the honour of Goddess Durga’s nine incarnations. Considered among the most auspicious days according to Hinduism, the festival is celebrated with a lot of fervour and devotion. Majority of Hindus follow a sattvic lifestyle during these nine days - avoiding even onion and garlic. Many people also observe a falahar or fruit-based fast over the period. Following the observed custom, here are the essential food tips for this festive season:
Tapioca Sago or better known as Sabudana is an essential falahari item in Navratri. A healthy non-cereal food source, Sabudana has all the healthy carbs that the body requires during the fasting time. It also has cooling properties which help in countering acidity owing to long hours of fasting. The sabudana pearls need to be soaked in water prior to using them in dishes. It can be made into kheer along with dry fruits. Sago can be combined with potato which provides a satiating meal. They can be consumed in the form of khichdi and vadas.
Also called Amarnath or Ramdana, rajgira substitutes the wheat flour in falahar. It can be used in almost anything ranging from puris, vadas to halwa. The body tends to get nutrient deficit during fasting. Rajgira is rich in several vital nutrients, containing calcium, protein, amino acids and iron in significant amounts. It is also the only grain with Vitamin C and contains twice the amount of calcium present in milk. Rajgira curtails hunger and provides energy to the body. Being gluten-free, it helps in reducing cholesterol levels
Also called Fox nuts, makhana is the go-to option for snacks. Roasted in desi ghee with a pinch of salt, these light and tasty snacks provide instant relief when those hunger pangs strike. These delights are a rich source of protein, magnesium and phosphorus. It eliminates spleen from the body and keeps cholesterol levels in check. Makhana also has anti-ageing properties.
One of the often overlooked areas in fasting is hydration. The body needs water and you should be suitably hydrated owing to restrictions in food. Try and consume fruits high in energy and water. Avoid caffeinated drinks and instead opt for juices, coconut water, lemon water, buttermilk etc. You can also drink dry fruit milkshakes, have fruit with cream etc.
Distribute your meals over the day. Have six small portions instead of three big meals, supplementing with juices and water in between. This would keep you full for longer and would not take a major toll on the body. It would also provide the much-needed energy to the body throughout the day.
Avoid refined sugar and opt for jaggery, that also has several health benefits. You can also consume kuttu and samak. For those sweet cravings, eat fruits with sweetened cream. Have yoghurt or dahi, as it is rich in probiotics. You can also add peanuts and coconut to your dishes. Snack on dry fruits. Fasting can be really beneficial for the body if done in the right way. Along with being great fasting foods, these foods can also be included in the daily diet.
There’s a reason why these foods are consumed during the fasting period. Having great health benefits, these foods will make the body feel much energetic and healthier. Follow these tips during fasting and in general. Here’s wishing you a Shubh Navratri!