Chaitra Navratri 2024: Try These Fasting-Friendly Foods
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Chaitra Navratri 2024 is the time of year when many Hindus observe a period of fasting and spiritual reflection. Navratri, which translates to 'nine nights,' takes place over the first nine days of the Hindu New Year and is considered one of the most auspicious festivals in Hinduism. During Chaitra Navratri, devotees fast from grains, legumes, meat, and alcohol to purify the body and focus the mind. The fast is geared towards spiritual cleansing rather than consuming specific foods.  

What To Eat During The Navratri Fast?  

Chia Seeds  

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During the Navratri fast, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds are all nutritious options to include in your diet. These tiny seeds pack a powerful punch of protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep energy levels high when fasting. Try sprinkling them on top of sabudana khichdi or mixing them into kuttu atta rotis. You can also add them to your coconut water or milk to enjoy the drinks. Their pleasant crunchy texture and mild, nutty flavour complement fasting-friendly dishes.   


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Tomatoes are technically considered fruits, meaning they can be consumed during Navratri fasting. While fasting, devotees can drink tomato juice or add whole tomatoes to vegetable dishes. A tomato salad makes a refreshing fasting snack or side. Tomatoes can also be diced into yoghurt to make a cooling raita. Since tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables, they are an approved food for Navratri fasts. Adding tomatoes to dishes or eating them raw provides fasting devotees with beneficial nutrients and variety in their restricted diets.  

Dry Fruits   

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Navratri fasting calls for eating certain foods that provide nourishment and energy without breaking the fast. Nuts like almonds and walnuts make for satisfying snacks that are packed with protein. You can also munch on dried fruits like apricots, figs and dates, which offer natural sweetness. Adding raisins or cranberries to your milk gives it a flavourful twist. Dates blended into milk create a delicious, filling shake. With plenty of nutritious options, you can chomp and sip your way through the fast while still feeling satisfied.   


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Potatoes are a great option for fasting during Navratri, as they are complex carbs that keep you feeling full and satisfied. Boiled or baked potatoes are healthy and can be eaten plain or with limited spices and oil. Opt for whole boiled potatoes over processed potato chips or fries, which go against the spirit of detoxification during the fast. The high fibre content of potatoes makes them ideal for nourishing your body while observing the Navratri vrat.   


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Carrots are a popular root vegetable; they have a sweet, earthy flavour and crunchy texture. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Carrots are commonly used in salads, soups, stews, roasted vegetables, and carrot cake. During the Hindu festival of Navratri, followers observe a strict fast that prohibits grains, legumes and certain vegetables. However, carrots are considered an acceptable food to eat during this fasting period.   

What to drink and what to avoid  

Herbal Tea  

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During Navratri fasting, it is important to stay hydrated. Herbal teas can be a great way to do this while following the fast. Drinking herbal teas made from flowers, roots, seeds, leaves and fruits not only keeps the body hydrated but also provides antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients. While green tea and black tea are made from tea leaves, drinking them during the fast is optional, as scriptures do not explicitly prohibit them.   


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During Navratri fasting, coffee is considered an acceptable beverage because it is made from seeds or beans, not grains. Drinking coffee is optional and depends on one's personal preferences or health needs. It is not mandatory to avoid coffee during the Navratri fast. Overall, for many people, coffee is an enjoyable and stimulating part of the day.  


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Milk is a nutritious drink that comes from cows, goats, and other mammals. During the Hindu festival of Navratri, many devotees observe a fast, abstaining from grains, lentils and certain vegetables. However, milk and other dairy products are permitted during this fast as they are considered satvic or pure foods, making them an ideal food to consume when fasting. Its creamy white colour and sweet taste make milk a comforting beverage that can be enjoyed plain or flavoured with saffron, cardamom or rose syrup during Navratri.   

Coconut water   

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Coconut water is an ideal drink for Navaratri fasting. As a natural source of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, coconut water helps maintain energy and hydration. Since coconut water comes directly from coconuts, it contains no added sugars or artificial ingredients, making it an approved food for fasting.   

Whey protein   

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Many people wonder if protein powder can be consumed during Navratri fasting. The answer is yes. Protein supplements like whey or plant protein are made from vegetable sources and do not conflict with fasting beliefs. Protein powder provides important nutrients without breaking the fast. Consuming vegetable-based protein supplements enables devotees to meet their nutritional needs while respecting the Navratri vrat. Including protein powder in the diet makes it easier to maintain energy and strength while fasting.  

Navratri Food Recipes  

Sabudana Khichdi Recipe   

Sabudana khichdi is a popular Indian dish made with sabudana (tapioca pearls), potatoes, peanuts, curry leaves and spices. It is often eaten during religious fasting days since sabudana is considered a permitted food for fasting. To make sabudana khichdi, first soak the sabudana overnight or for at least 4 hours to soften. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and chopped green chillies. And roast the peanuts briefly. Add diced potatoes and fry for 2–3 minutes. Then add the drained sabudana, salt, sugar, and lemon juice, and mix well, allowing everything to get nicely combined. The khichdi is ready when the potatoes are cooked through and the tapioca pearls have softened fully.   

Samak Chawal Khichdi  

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Samak Chawal Khichdi is a simple, delicious, and nutritious Indian dish made from rice and lentils. To make khichdi, start by rinsing 1 cup of basmati rice and 1/2 cup of moong dal lentils. Then, in a pressure cooker, sauté some cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, and other spices in ghee. Add the rinsed rice and dal along with 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and then let the steam release. When ready, khichdi is a soft, creamy porridge-like dish, almost like a risotto.   

Kuttu Ki Khichdi 

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Kuttu ki khichdi or buckwheat khichdi is a nutritious and tasty dish made during Navratri, a Hindu festival when many devotees fast and avoid grains. It is made from buckwheat, also known as kuttu, along with vegetables like potatoes, peas and carrots. To make kuttu ki khichdi, first roast the buckwheat flour lightly to enhance its nutty flavour. Boil and mash the potatoes and chop the other vegetables. Heat some oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add the chopped veggies and sauté for a few minutes. Then add water, salt, and turmeric, and roast the buckwheat flour for a minute or two. Add the mashed potatoes and simmer till the khichdi has a porridge-like consistency.   

Kuttu ki Poori 

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Kuttu ki Poori is a popular gluten-free flatbread made during the Navratri fast. It is made using kuttu ka atta, or buckwheat flour, along with sendha namak, ajwain and water. To make kuttu ki poori, mix the flour with the required spices, then add water to knead into a soft dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then roll them into small pieces and deep fry them in hot oil till puffed and golden brown.  

Rajgira Puri  

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Rajgira puri is a traditional Indian flatbread made with amaranth flour. Also known as ramdana or rajgira, amaranth is an ancient grain that has been cultivated in India for thousands of years. To make rajgira puri, the flour is kneaded into a soft dough using water or milk. The dough is then divided into small balls and rolled out into thin rounds. These are fried in hot oil until puffed and golden brown.