India has a wide array of cultures and festivals that include both fasting and feasting. Navratri is one of the most common fasts being observed among Hindus. Navratri falls twice a year during a period of seasonal change in which, in this phase, the human body is vulnerable and prone to fall ill. Thus, on this 9-day long festival, people avoid non-vegetarian sources, onions, garlic, grains, alcohol and smoking. But the type and duration of fasting varies from person to person. Also Read – All About Keratosis Pilaris Yami Gautam Suffers From An Incurable Skin Condition
There are many benefits of fasting such as it boosts immunity, brings down LDL cholesterol levels, improves gut bacteria, improves vigor and vitality as well as improves hormones. But there are some ways to observe the fast. Offer a variety of hydrating fruits and vegetables before fasting. It helps in the slow release of calories and keeps them hydrated and satiated throughout the day. Also read – Find out why becoming a vegetarian can be a good option watch video
A reminder that taking an overdose can cause weight gain. And also, since salt stimulates thirst, avoid salty foods. Opt for more air-fried and baked foods instead of deep-fried. Make sure the food is not too oily or greasy, as you may feel tired the next day. Also Read – Mahalaya 2021: Date, History, Significance and Everything You Need to Know
During Navratri, make sure the diet is full of all the nutrients. It basically works on complex carbohydrates consisting of various grains on the plate along with vegetarian sources of protein and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. This diet helps in building immunity along with detoxifying the system of toxins. Keep the meal regimen simple, 30% carbs + 30% good proteins + 30% high fiber vegetables.
Can pregnant women keep fast during Navratri?
Expectant mothers are not allowed to fast for a long time as it can affect the development of the baby. Pregnant women will be allowed to fast with a doctor’s consent, but ensure that they include small nutrient-rich meals throughout the day. Expectant mothers should work more on the quality of the nutrients rather than the quantity. Consumption of healthy foods at regular intervals is essential as the nutrients are going to the growing baby. The state of hydration is also very important during the fasting period.
During this period expectant mothers have to balance the macronutrients and micronutrients well.
Remember to start the day with a good source of fiber and protein such as fruits, milk and nuts. And for breakfast choose fruit yogurt with nuts and seeds or a milkshake or smoothie. Always remember to hydrate in the middle of the day by consuming coconut water, lassi or buttermilk. Lunch should be balanced with either of Bajra as an alternative to roti or rice with enough gourd vegetables and a fiber dense vegetable with curd/paneer/tofu for protein. Eat vegetable soup for the evening with home or a fruit or vegetable salad to reduce unhealthy and carbohydrate-based cravings. Dinner can be khichdi or rotis with proper balance and can end with dry fruits milkshake or milk. Essentials of adequate carbohydrates with the right amount of protein and a good amount of fruits and vegetables for antioxidants will work better for proper development of the baby.
Expectant mothers – follow the following tips
- Choose whole grains that provide energy and fiber. Examples are buckwheat, sago, millet, ragi, amaranth, samak, etc.
- Choose vegetarian sources with each meal, such as cheese, yogurt, milk, tofu, legumes and sprouts. It helps in growth and improves the condition of muscles.
- Consume lots of fruits and vegetables to pump up your antioxidant range like apples, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, gourd vegetables, etc.
- Hydrate with water and other fluids like soup and oatmeal to boost metabolism.
- Avoid sugar and sweets and replace it with nuts and fruits to get natural sugars as well as build immunity.
- Avoid deep-fried, packaged food and caffeine which usually slows down the metabolism.
- Avoid full cream milk/condensed milk as it can overload the system which can also lead to lethargy.
- In this season, include foods rich in vitamin A in the diet like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oranges, cantaloupe etc.
Be sure to eat small but frequent meals to keep up your stamina and keep you working throughout the day.
Diabetic Person- Tips To Follow
- A person suffering from diabetes should have meals at regular intervals to maintain the optimum level of blood sugar.
- They should be educated about meal timing, intelligent selection, dietary modification, healthy recipes and nutritional requirements.
- Monitoring blood sugar levels and not indulge in sweets and junk food.
- People with Type I DM are not allowed to fast. In the case of type II, they can fast with the advice of physicians and dietitians, provided they have adequate medications and if sugars are under good control.
- There may be a risk of dehydration and hypoglycemia. Therefore, break the fast if it is advisable to prevent further complications in case of hypoglycemia.
- Optimal physical activity performed after the main meal.
sample diet plan
- Breakfast- Sabudana Khichdi / Buckwheat Puri / Banana or Chikoo shakes with nuts and seeds / Multigrain Kozhukkattai / Adai / Bajra Pongal / Yogurt + Fruit Smoothie with Nuts and Seeds
- Mid-day: Coconut water/ Buttermilk/ Fox Nut Kheer/ Fruits and nuts
- Lunch: Samak Rice with Roasted Vegetables + Curd / Kuttu Chapati + Pumpkin + Paneer Sabji / Bajra Rice + Gourd Vegetable + Sundal / Amarnath Roti + Vegetable + Curd
- After lunch: Cumin water/Green tea
- Evening Snack: Makaan / Sabudana Vada / Buckwheat Momos / Wheat Flour Appam / Dry Fruit Ladoo / Sundal / Soup / Cucumber Tomato Salad / Fruit Curd
- Dinner: Fruit smoothie with milk + fruits / curd / jowar rice upma
- Bedtime: Milk / dry fruit milkshake
Fasting does wonders for your body and gives you a well-balanced diet. So, wishing you all the best and best wishes during this festive season.
(Input by Greta Sheeran Robinson, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chennai)