Are you fasting or feasting this Navratri? Why not both

  • Namita S Kalla, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 15, 2015 17:26 IST
Eating small meals and not starving yourself is the only mantra to easy fasting. (Shutterstock)

Navratri, the nine-day festival, is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and fasting has become an intrinsic part of it now. However, it is observed that while fasting one feels drained out as the day passes.

Eating small meals and not starving yourself is the only mantra to easy fasting. Here are some effective foods and drinks that will save you from binging on tempting delights that are high on calories.

Make fasting a pleasure this Navratri because we have dieticians and nutritionists- Ritika Samaddar, Priyanka Jaiswal and Akshita Aggarwal help us shell out some eating tips for healthy fasting.


Nuts are among the most effective foods consumed during fasting. “During the fasting period one does not get sufficient proteins as one has to refrain from consuming food rich in proteins like dal and meat. Thus nuts are the best substitutes to get sufficient protein. Nuts like Walnut, Almond, and Peanut are suggested.” says nutritionist Ritika Samaddar from New Delhi. She further adds, “Having 5-10 nuts does not solve the purpose. One should have a minimum of 20-25 nuts in a day to get the required proteins.”



Intake of seasonal fruits is essential for a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’re fasting. Samaddar suggests fruits with skin. “It is adviced to eat fruits that can be consumed along with their skin. A lot of fibre is lost when we peel the skin of a fruit. Fruits such as apple, strawberry, sweet potato, grapes, etc not only lend energy and required fibre, but also give a glowing skin.”


Boiled Veggies

People tend to eat a lot of fried vegetables in form of pakoras while fasting. Nutritionists and dieticians believe that this not only leads to an increase in weight but also destroys the vitamins and proteins present in the vegetable. Dietician Priyancka Jaiswal from Kolkatta, says, “Potatoes are very helpful during the fasting period provided one eats boiled potatoes. Ditto with other vegetables such as bottle gourd, spinach, and sweet potato. Boil the vegetables and add rock salt (sendha namak) for taste. Raw vegetables such as cucumber, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, pumpkin, are also suggested.”



Fresh fruit or vegetable juices should be preferred over canned juices. Spinach and carrot juice, cucumber juice, tomato juice, bottle gourd juice (boiled bottle gourd and butter milk), lime juice, coconut juice, orange juice, and different fresh fruit juices are all recommended. “These are important for cellular functioning. Besides heartburn and acidity can be kept at bay with regular intake of these juices.” said Jaiswal.


Milk Products

Aggarwal says that one should start a day with a glass of milk. “When people take up fasting they should start their day with a glass of milk and abstain from having tea in the morning. As tea causes acidity. The other milk products that can be had are curds, cottage cheese, milk shakes, cold coffee, and buttermilk. I suggest a variety of raita and kheer. Ghiya (bottle gourd) ki kheer, carrot kheer, sitafal kheer, apple kheer, saboodana kheer, cucumber raita, ghiya raita, banana raita, to name a few.”



Soups and appetisers is a must says Jaiswal. “ Navratri calls for a lot of activity. Many are seen dancing through the nine day festival. For those who take up a lot of energy consuming activity during Navratri, I recommend soups.” Soup should be taken after a vigorous activity as the hunger pangs are higher. Vegetable soup satiates the craving for food and also lends fullness without bloating the stomach.


Sweet Binge

Both Akshita Aggarwal and Priyancka Jaiswal recommend the intake of sweets. “In order to boost the energy it is important to cater to sweet cravings when fasting. One can have 3-4 teaspoons of sugar in a day. It is adviced to have sweets before undergoing any vigorous activity like dancing. “ said Jaiswal. “ Aloo ka Halwa, Sandesh, Rassgulla, fruit chat, help to gain energy. The quantity should not be high though.”


Other foods

Buckwheat and Chestnut flour ( Kuttu and Singhare ka atta) along with Sagoo (Sabudana), and Samak are mostly used during fasting. Dietician Akshita Aggarwal from New Delhi, says, “Most people consume these in the form of pakoras and fried puris, which is very unhealthy. The better substitutes are Kuttu ka aata and Singhare ka atta ki roti and chilla (pan cake) with paneer. Saboodana khichdi should be opted over saboodana vada.”



Needless to say it is very important to keep yourself hydrated. So have at least 8-10 glasses of water each day. “The most neglected advise is, to keep oneself hydrated. People know that water is important for their body yet they ignore the fact and this leads to a numerous health problems. Fasting without having sufficient water can give adverse effects” says Samaddar.


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