The sacred phases during the onset of spring and autumn are thought to be the ideal time to worship Goddess Durga. Goddess Durga is considered to be the holy energy that defeats evil. The period of 9 nights to worship the Goddess is called Navratri and fast is observed to gain the blessings of Goddess Durga.
However, fasting during Navratri doesn’t mean total abstinence of food, but to eat healthily and only a limited number of Sattvik food.
Abstaining from eating an adequate amount of regular food items not only have spiritual values but is very healthy for the body as well. During the seasonal changes, the immune system becomes weak, making one susceptible to various diseases. Fasting and eating the right sort of food helps to strengthen this weak system. So, fasting has great significance for both body and mind.
Here is a list of 10 healthy and tasty food items that you can have while fasting during Navratri:
1. Fruits & Vegetables
Fresh fruits and boiled vegetables with a pinch of natural rock salt are not only very much allowed during Navratri fast, but are also super healthy and nutritious that everyone knows.
However, vegetables like onions and garlic are not allowed during any fast. Popular vegetables that are consumed during Navratri include sweet potato, potato, bottle gourd, pumpkin, yam, cucumber, carrot, spinach, and raw papaya.
2. Milk and Dairy Products
Milk is considered to be a holy food in Hinduism and can be had during fasts to keep the body healthy and keep hunger at bay. As milk takes time to digest and is high in nutrients, it is a great option during fasts. You can have any other forms of milk or milk products like yogurt, butter, ghee, paneer, khoya, condensed milk, kheer, and sweets.
3. Sabudana (sago or tapioca)
Sabudana is one of the most popular things that are eaten while fasting or during pujas. Tapioca pearls are a great source of carbohydrates to help maintain energy levels during fasts. It is also very easy to digest and has a cooling effect on the body.
Tapioca can be made into tasty khichdi, porridge or kheer.
4. Sama Chawal (barnyard millet)
This is the number one replacement for rice lovers. It is very nutritious and contains high fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron and magnesium. It also helps in lowering cholesterol levels.
You can make Sama rice khichdi, pulao with vegetables or simply boil and have with other dishes.
5. Peanuts & Coconut
Peanuts and coconuts are a great way to keep yourself feeling full and energetic while keeping fasts. A handful of peanuts will keep you full for longer, while coconuts will keep you feeling fresh and invigorated.
You can also try the tasty peanut butter and grated coconut laddoos this Navratri.
6. Makhana (fox nuts)
Makhana is another very popular food item among fast observers. It is very rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and is considered a superfood.
Fox nuts have the number of health benefits and can make for a very tasty snack during fasts.
7. Dry fruits
Dry fruits even in very small amounts can offer a great boost of energy. Dry fruits like almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts, raisins, and dates are eaten during fasts.
Add dry fruits to desserts like kheer, halwas or any other sweets to make them more wholesome and delicious.
9. Herbs and spices
Table salt and a lot of spices are to be avoided during Navratri. However, sendha namak or natural rock salt is permitted to season food. Other spices that are allowed are cumin seeds, ginger, peppercorns, chili, green cardamom, cloves and nutmeg among few others.
Herbs like basil, mint, saffron, coriander leaves, curry leaves are all good to consume during Navratri.
10. Hydrating drinks
Coconut water is great to keep yourself feeling fresh and hydrated. Sugar, honey, jaggery, and lemon are all allowed. So, keep lemonade, spiced water, and fruit juices handy during fasts to keep yourself well hydrated.