Come Navratri and most of north India and north Indians across the world go on a fasting mode. The nine days of the Goddess sees devotees shunning their regular diet and going on fast-approved food. Though fast-approved food are rich in fats, they may not always be nutritious.
Fasting and keeping off our regular diet can also weaken our immune system which is under attack during this change of season. Thus, while fasting is good for ridding the body of harmful substances, staying healthy should also be one of our goals while we take our bi-annual spiritual journey.
Here are some picks to keep you healthy and glowing even as you fast to thank goddess Durga because, apart from its spiritual significance, the ritual of fasting is also backed by science as a healthy detoxification method.
Chiwda: Chiwda is a healthy gluten-free snack that helps in preventing iron deficiency. Chiwda mixture is a light option for those in-between and teatime snack cravings. When mixed with roasted nuts, it becomes even more nutritious and thus the perfect snack to munch on while fasting. A healthy breakfast option made with chiwda is poha, which offers all the goodness of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E.
Sabudana: Sabudana is a staple fasting food. It is a rich source of protein and is important for building bones and muscles. People observing fasts usually have lesser protein-rich options, which makes sabudana a fantastic option to keep you energetic. Sabudana tikki, kheer, and papad are tasty recipes to try.
Makhana: Makhana or fox nut is usually consumed roasted. It is a rich source of carbohydrates. Its low-fat content makes it the perfect snack to boost one’s energy during days-long fasts. These nuts are also rich in several minerals, such as magnesium and potassium that are necessary to sustain the human body. These can be consumed either roasted over a tawa or made into the Navratri special, makhane ki kheer.
Dry fruit laddoo: Those with a sweet tooth can gorge on dried fruit laddoo without any guilt during fasts. As the name suggests, being loaded with dry fruits makes these yummy sweets both delicious and healthy. They are loaded with essential nutrients such as, potassium, vitamins E & B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium, i.e. everything required to maintain your energy level throughout the day. You can either have the laddoo between meals or as the sweet course after meals.
Dried fruits: Dried fruits like kiwi fruit, prunes, apricots, figs, black currants, raisins, blueberries, and dates are essential power snacks to have. One needs to take extra care to maintain blood pressure levels during fasts and these munchies do the job best. Dried fruits are also packed with fiber and antioxidants, which help keep you feeling full for long duration. Stay active and energetic while fasting chomping on these munchies.
Green tea: Rich in antioxidants, green tea is an excellent beverage that reduces free radicals in the body. It is also known to boost immunity. It not only refreshes you but improves physical performance as well. For variety, try flavored green tea like, honey-lemon and tulsi.
Cold-pressed juices: Cold-pressed juices are tasteful and time-saving. They are full of fiber and vitamins and make perfect energy boosters to keep you going all day, especially when fasting. You can try kiwi and seabuckthorn alternatives. While the kiwi is an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C and polyphenols, seabuckthorn is rich in omega fatty acids and other essential nutrients.