Navratri is a major festival of India, which involves celebrations and observation of fast for 9 nights that culminate in Vijayadashami, popularly known as Dussehra. This festival usually falls in the months of September and October. Though it is celebrated for different cultural reasons and is celebrated differently in different parts of India, the assimilation of all cultural views is the same – the victory of good over evil. On each day of the Navratri, the supreme goddess is worshipped in a different form. People of northern and eastern India observe fast for the 9 days of Navratri.
There are several foods which can be consumed during this period of fasting as well as several foods which should not be consumed. Let us take a look at the basic guidelines of Navratri fasting
FOOD INGREDIENTS ALLOWED DURING NAVRATRI FAST
Grains and flours
- Kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour) – used to make poori, halwa, parathas, khichdi.
- Rajgira ka atta (amaranth flour) – used to make poori, halwa, parathas, kadhi, ladoos, and kheer.
- Singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour) – used to make poori, parathas, halwa, and pakoras.
- Sama ke chawal ka atta (barnyard millet flour) – used to make poori, idli, and dosa.
- Vrat ka chawal (barnyard millet) – used to make khichdi, dalia, idli, dosa, upma, pulao, and steamed rice.
Vegetables and preparations
- Potatoes – aloo tikki, chat, curry, dahi aloo, etc.
- Pumpkin – halwa, curry, pakoras, etc.
- Arbi or colocasia – curry, cutlets, tikki, etc.
- Suran or yam – curry and chips.
- Sweet potato – halwa, tikki, and chaat.
- Raw banana – fries, curry, and chips.
- Raw papaya – you can use semi-ripe papaya too. You can make curry, halwa, or salad out of this vegetable.
- Some people use tomatoes, spinach, carrots, cucumber, and bottle gourd, while others prefer not to use these vegetables.
Herbs and Spices
- Dry pomegranate seeds.
- Green cardamom.
- Cumin seeds and cumin powder.
- Black pepper powder and seeds.
- Rock salt.
- Carom seeds.
- Green chilli.
- Mint and coriander leaves, black salt, and dry mango powder are used by some people only.
Other food items allowed
- Dry fruits.
- All fruits.
- Milk products like curd, paneer, ghee, cream, butter, malai, khoya, etc.
- Honey, sugar, and jaggery.
FOOD INGREDIENTS ‘NOT’ ALLOWED DURING NAVRATRI FAST
If you are quite strict about your fasting ritual, here is a list of foods that should be strictly avoided.
- Rice and rice flour.
- Wheat and wheat flour.
- Maida (all purpose flour).
- Sooji or semolina.
- Besan (chickpea flour).
- Corn and its products like cornstarch and corn flour.
- Oats, flax seeds, chia seeds.
- Coriander powder, garam masala, mustard and fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and turmeric.
- Common salt (used rock salt instead).
- Non-vegetarian food including eggs.
A word of caution for diabetics
Most of the ‘allowed’ ingredients are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index and hence they are safe for consumption by diabetics. The different types of flours used during the fasting period are rich in nutrients and have loads of B vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber. Stick to making chapatis or rotis from the different flours; avoid frying them as pooris or pakoras. Avoid having lot of potatoes, instead replace rotis with potatoes and eat potatoes with curd. This should keep a check on the carbs and prevent high blood sugars.
Eating light meals with good nutritious value stabilizes and boosts our immune system. It helps to cleanse our systems as well as stave off many diseases. We hope that you have a great Navratri this year!!