In Navratri, many devotees choose to fast for all 9 days. There are many ways to fast and varying eating restrictions that the devotees impose on themselves. Some live on preparations of potato without salt, onion, garlic and turmeric; some take only milk and vegetables, some take one light meal in the day while some even remain nirjala, i.e. fast without water.

There is a positive impact of fasting on health but only if you are conscious of the nutritional value of food that is substituted for eating while fasting.

You should know the ways to fast that leave you light and healthier without depriving you of nutrition.

Tips on How To Get The Benefits of Fasting

Do not overeat – Most people feel that during Navratri, fasting is a way to cleanse and detoxify the body by eating light, but some people do tend to lose self control when eating the different foods they have chosen for the Navratri fast. They stuff themselves with fried potatoes, makhana kheer, sabudana khichdi, pakodas or simply overeat fruits and vegetables. The oily and heavy foods in particular defeat the very purpose of fasting.

One look at the calories in the food you consume during Navratri would make this clear –

  • Potato preparation in oil – 190 calories
  • 1 piece of Paneer Kofta – 150 calories
  • ½ katori Samak ki Kheer - 175 calories
  • 2 puris of kuttu ke atta (buckwheat flour) – 250 calories
  • Sabudana Preparations – 250 calories

All this add up to 1065 calories. For gaining real health benefits out of Navratri fasting, one needs to very conscious of the calories in the Navratra foods. Slight alterations in the traditional food for Navratra festival can help you eat healthy and at the same time, keep your palate happy.

What to Eat During Navratra

  • Stay away from fried foods. Choose yogurt, fruits and those foods that maintain the fluid level in the body to its optimum. This would mean saying not to puris, pakodas and fried aloo chat. They can be replaced with kuttu ki roti, and boiled aloo chat.
  • Do not take too much of potatoes even though boiled. Limiting it to twice a week during Navratra.
  • Replace full cream milk with skimmed milk and kheer with curd.
  • Limit your sugar intake.
  • Some drinks that work great as detoxifiers are lemonade (preferably without sugar), herbal tea (made from Tulsi leaves and other ingredients), coconut water or simply water.
  • Vegetables like pumpkin and lauki (bottle gourd) can be taken as soup or sabji.
  • Try out fruity concoctions in the form of smoothies, salads, sweets and raitas to maintain your nutrition.
  • If you are craving for salt, do not eat namkeens or pakodas. They can be suitably replaced with roasted makahanas or nuts.
  • Your craving can be satiated by a preparation of tomatoes, cucumber or lauki mixed with yogurt.
  • If you are fasting for nine days, make sure that you take small meals at regular intervals. This can prevent you from the feasting after fasting syndrome.

Follow these tips on food for Navratra festival and get blessed with health apart from receiving the divine blessings.

Do not deprive yourself too much – Fasting is energy sapping and if prolonged can lead to weakness, acidity, anemia, headaches and fatigue. So, guard against too much fasting. Keep your energy level up to enjoy the festivities of Navratri.

By observing these simple instructions on ways to fast, you can get the best out of this Navratri.