Live healthy: Nutrition tips to manage Navratri fast

Navratri - the nine nights of the celebration of Goddess Durga has begun from today, and the people will welcome the fest with much fervour. The festival witnesses beautiful colours and devotees observing fasts for nine days in honour of the Goddess


Many devotees follow the strict no-meat practice, and it enables one to tuck into vegetarian specialties during the fest. However, one should keep a tab on fasting as it is essential to avoid any health mishaps.  Niyati P Likhite, a Dietician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, suggests a few tips to conquer the fasting period and yet remain healthy.

Do not starve yourself: Even though you are fasting, do not stay empty stomach, eat enough to get through the day; eat small meals to maintain stamina level. Try to limit your food intake when it comes to fried food and opt instead for baked, grilled or roasted food. Fasting can detoxify your body from the junk and alcohol that is consumed, helping to maintain sugar levels in the body. Being hungry for a long time can lead to gastrointestinal issues, dehydration, and muscle weakness.

Avoid sugar: Stay away from refined sugar and substitute it with healthier alternatives. Limit your sugar intake to 2 tsp per day. If you have a habit to binge on sweets, curb these sugar cravings with various fruits or salads, they are light and easy to digest. Regular snacking can help you prevent from feeling low and maintain adequate sugar levels.

Always stay hydrated: Unless you are on a Nirjala Vrat, it is crucial to stay hydrated throughout. Besides water, a lot of other fluids can be consumed such as coconut water, buttermilk, green tea, lemon water, fresh fruit juices, sabja water among others.  Avoid consumption of alcohol as it can lead to dehydration, and it slows down metabolism.

Avoid fasting if you’re pregnant: If a normal and healthy delivery is indicated, fasting within limits will not have much effect on you or your baby. You can have rajgira, bhagar, sago thalipith, singhara (water chestnut) dosa, fruits, dry fruits, milk, and other milk products. However, if your pregnancy is indicative of complications, it is recommended to avoid fasting. It is best to consult your doctor before taking any step. Make sure you consume plenty of amounts of fluid during this time.

Plan your day: Do not overeat, especially, the packaged snack foods as they contain high amounts of calories, fats, and sodium. Chalk out your meal plans for the day to ensure your stomach is satisfied. Don’t dwell into snacks too much, munching on nuts and dry fruits is a healthier alternative. Your lunch could be slightly heavy, and dinner should be light, which is apt for proper digestion.

Avoid caffeinated drinks: Tea and coffee curb hunger pangs for a good time. However, do not consume these on an empty stomach; it can affect your digestive system tremendously. Drinking excessive amount of tea or coffee can make you feel bloated or dehydrated. Insomnia might also set in which is not healthy.