Navratri 2023: 8 High-Energy Power Foods For Garba Nights
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Sharadiya Navratri celebrations are always a major attraction across India, whether you are in North India and engaging in night-long Bhajan and Jagratas or engaging in the festivities of Durga Puja in West Bengal, Assam, Odisha or parts of Bihar. But if you are in Gujarat or Maharashtra—the former more than the latter in fact—then Navratri celebrations are all about night-long Raas Garba and Dandiya dances. This year, Navratri 2023 will be celebrated from October 15 to October 23, and Gujaratis in India and the world are getting ready to engage in worship of Maa Ambegauri every night. 

However, an important thing to note here is that most people keep a fast or vrat during Navratri, which often includes not eating anything all day or eating only one sattvik meal a day. Any kind of dance, and especially Garba, requires a lot of energy—which means that doing Garba all night after fasting all day can be quite a challenge. So, how can those following the Navratri 2023 fast enjoy Garba nights while also maintaining their health? 

We talked to Nisha Singh, Clinical Nutritionist, Integrative Sports Dietitian, Founder of NutriWellness by Nisha Singh, about this and the first thing she pointed out was about making the right choices. “If you are doing the kind of fast where you are not eating anything, then kindly reconsider it, because playing Garba on empty stomach is a huge energy drain from your system,” she says. “I would highly recommend that you have at least one meal in the day if you are intent on playing Garba all night.” 

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So, what are her key recommendations for those going out for energetic Garba nights while fasting during Navratri 2023? “I will always start with water,” she says. “Drink enough water throughout the day. During the Garba event at night, carry adequate water and keep yourself hydrated.” Apart from that, Singh recommends a number of vrat-friendly high-energy power foods that those fasting during Navratri while engaging in Garba all night should eat. Here is a list of such high-energy power foods that are allowed for consumption during Navratri 2023. 

Dry Fruits 

The simplest way to get a lot of energy while sticking to a sattvik vrat is to indulge in whole dry fruits. From apricots and figs to dates and prunes, you can indulge in any dry fruits you want. Add nuts and seeds to this mix and you will indeed have plenty of power to sustain yourself through a night of enthusiastic Garba dancing. However, make sure the dry fruits are not sugar-coated or fried. 

Roasted Makhana 

Foxnuts or makhanas are incredibly powerful foods. Sattvik as well as loaded with micronutrients, eating a bowl full of roasted makhanas can provide you with a lot of energy. So, just dry roast some makhanas and sprinkle some sendha namak on top. Take this along with yourself to your Garba night if you feel you might need a quick snack for energy. 

Nuts & Seeds Laddoos 

Made with plenty of nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, flax seeds and more, nuts and seeds laddoos are now easily available as a vrat-friendly power food across India. Eat a few of these laddoos before your Garba night and you will indeed feel full of energy and festive joy. 

Toasted Peanuts 

One of the most understated vrat-friendly ingredients and yet full of essential plant proteins, vitamins, minerals and yes, calories, peanuts are often ignored as a quick snack unless they are mixed with other foods. But for your Garba nights during Navratri 2023, there could be no high-energy power snack as easy to make and carry as toasted peanuts. Just dry roast peanuts and pack them in a box—no salt or any addition needed—and you’ll be good to go. 

Millet Chips 

While most grains and cereals are not allowed during the Navratri 2023 fast, most millets like amaranth, jowar, ragi, samak and bajra are indeed allowed. Unsalted chips made with the flours of millets are easily available for those fasting. Try these snacks if you are interested in loading up on high-energy power foods for your Garba nights. 

Gud Chikki 

Perfect for autumn as well as Navratri 2023 fasting, gud chikki is usually made with a combination of molten jaggery and plenty of nuts and seeds like peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts and sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. Bite into a slab of chikki before you start your Garba nights and you will have plenty of energy to dance through the night. 

Rajgira Chivda 

Chivda is a Gujarati favourite snack, but during Navratri 2023, eating flattened rice or puffed rice isn’t allowed. So, you can easily make some vrat-friendly chivda with rajgira or amaranth seeds to get that perfect blend of crunchy flavours and ample nutrition. Add peanuts and dry fruits to make this chivda more powerful. 

Bajra Muthiya 

Another Gujarati classic dish, muthiya is a simple steamed snack that is often cooked in a tempering of curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. While wheat flour consumption is not allowed during Navratri 2023, you can easily make some muthiya with bajra or pearl millet flour and temper the dish as usual. A very protein-rich and high-energy snack that is also filling, bajra muthiya will be your perfect companion on Garba nights.