Fasting is all about self-control; yet, most of us end up overeating during the Navratras. Navratri or the nine nights of worship are celebrated like a festival all across the country (and various parts of the world). The fasts may have the religious origins, but they have a scientific reason too. Coincidently, Navratras occur twice a year, when the season is at a brink to change. People are advised to fast during these days because the body’s immunity becomes low and people should be eating light and easily digestible foods. Sadly, what actually happens is the other way round; we end up eating loads of calories.
Here’s what you’re actually consuming in one typical meal of Navratra–
- 2 kuttu ka atta ki puris– 250 calories
- ½ Katori Samak ki kheer– 175 calories
- 2 pieces paneer kofta– 300 calories
- 1 serve aloo sabzi– 190 calories
- 100 gm sabudana namkeens– 250 calories
You’re approximately consuming 1165 calories. Perhaps, now you know why a majority of people fasting during Navratras end up putting on a lot of weight, yet they prefer to compromise on their health and eat oily foods during these days.
On the other hand, there are people (especially those who can’t live without animal protein) who find it really difficult to stay away from chicken, fish, meat, eggs and seafood during these days. The task becomes all-the-more tedious for those who depend largely on non-veg protein sources to fulfill their daily protein needs (esp. the body builders). Here are a few alternatives that can help you keep brimful of essential nutrients during the fasts while keeping away from extra calories-
Choose Healthier Protein Options
It’s always better to choose and then eat. List out a few healthy options that you can consume during the Navratras, and try cooking them in different forms. For instance, consuming a glass of banana shake or banana lassi in the morning is a great idea or replacing paneer pakora with roasted paneer and pudhina chutney is a healthier option. Likewise, having a bowlful of boiled potato chaat with tomato and cucumber
can help you consume lesser calories while cucumber and tomatoes can give you a boost of vital nutrients including vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. For a better protein intake, you can replace evening fried snacks with roasted peanuts, Makhane, walnuts, and almonds and consume a glass of almond milk at night with a fresh bowl of fruits and salad for dinner.
Know Your Carbs
Most of the foods that you can consume during Navratras are a great source of carbohydrates too. Majorly, they include potatoes, Sabudana, sweet potato, Kuttu and Samak Chawal. You can pair one of these cereals with sauté vegetable or fruit raita to have healthier meals (esp. in the dinner). You can also use grated cottage cheese or paneer as a dressing on the salad, so you get a blend of essential nutrients and proteins. If you
like to make it a bit complex yet tasty, you can also try making Kuttu or Samak Idli and have it with a hung yoghurt dip made with water chestnut and finely chopped spinach/coriander and green chilies. For enhanced taste, you can sprinkle the dip with freshly crushed black pepper and edible salt (Sendha Namak that you can consume during fasts).
Some more tips
- Eat small meals in short intervals
- Prefer to keep a fruit and a box of salad while you’re moving towards office (besides keeping your lunch with you).
- Prefer to have roasted Namkeens and dry fruits with your evening tea.
- Replace Kuttu ka pakora with Kuttu ki roti.
- Have Samak ki Idli in dinner.
- Limit your potato intake and prefer having boiled potato in place of fried.
- Have a glass of Chaach (salted/spiced buttermilk) or coconut water once a day. It will help you to keep hydrated and energetic throughout the day.