Navratri is here again and we must decide which foods to eat and which to avoid.
Have you noticed that both the Navratras come during season change - from winter to summer and again when the air just begins to get nippy - and our immunity is at a low.
That is why the Navratri eating rule of avoiding processed food, meats, going gluten free (no grains), salt free or low salt, and having lots of fruits and vegetables actually helps our bodies buff up the immunity and also give it a much needed period of rest and rejuvenation.
In addition some of the allowed foods during the navratra fast have a lot going for them. Let’s decipher them one by one.
The basic 2 rules to follow:
Keep yourself hydrated; it is very easy to get dehydrated during these narrates as the mercury has soared suddenly. Buttermilk is a good option too.
Eat small, regular meals as they will help maintain blood glucose levels and ensure you are fueled up to go through the day.
Here're the foods you can include in your diet for a healthy navratri.
Sabudana (tapioca pearls)
Sabudana is a good source of carbohydrates so delivers the much needed energy boost while fasting. Plus is an excellent summer food as it gives a cooling effect to the body and is easy to digest as well. It is a decent source of protein and also delivers some minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin K.
Sabudana khichri, sabudana cutlets or sabudana kheer.
Amaranth (rajgira) is a fantastic source of protein that you can include in your menu during fasting. You can whip up an amaranth porridge with milk or even stir it up as savoury daliya with lots of vegetables.
Roasted rajgira mixed with fruits, or amaranth ladoos.
Loaded with antioxidants and acts as an anti-ageing food by preventing white hair, wrinkles and premature ageing. Its high-fibre content avoids constipation, helps the body to flush out the waste and prevents the accumulation of toxins.
Roast in a little bit of ghee and munch on them.
It is a quintessential summer veggie that delivers lots of water (is 96% water), is inherently cooling, loaded with potassium that helps keep the blood pressure down and electrolyte balance maintained. It prevents fatigue and keeps the body cool and refreshed during summers.
Make a lauki raita.
One medium potato (150 gm) clocks in just 116 calories and is a terrific way to stock up on fibre (3 gm), which delivers satisfaction (with taste). They are high in vitamin C, potassium and Vitamin B6.
Make a chilled potato salad to help beat the heat.
Pumpkin delivers lots of potassium, an important electrolyte that keeps our muscles functioning at their best and vitamin C that is great for our immune system.
Khatta meetha kaddu, kaddu halwa.
Both vitamin A and anthocyanins also help boost liver function which in turn helps boost weight loss and keep harmful cholesterol in the body in check.
Shakarkandi halwa, tikki or chaat.
It is loaded with fibre help to keep hunger pangs at bay and cravings in check.
It also delivers good amount of proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
Kuttu ki roti or a crisp kuttu pakoda or dosa.
Come navratras as onions and garlic get sidelined, ginger takes centre stage, and that makes the nutritionist in me really happy. This is one ingredient I believe we all must have a lots of, but somehow don’t, which is why this ‘de rigueur’ eating (out of strictness) gladdens my heart no end. Its a wonderful detoxing and anti inflammatory agent.
To make ginger tea steep one or two 1/2-inch slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. Or you could also combine ginger, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.
Cook all your navratri dishes with lots of ginger.
Kanji (Some People Don’t Eat Carrots)
This fermented drink made from black carrots helps put the balance of good versus bad bacteria back in order by helping the good bugs increase in number in the intestines.
Have a glass everyday!
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of ‘Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico)‘. Her next book ‘Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa)‘ is out.)
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