Eat Healthy and Stay Fit This Festive Season

The Christmas season is here and Navratri is just around the corner. The festive season also means we’ll all have so much on our plates, literally! While enjoying a festival means spending more time with family, it also calls for celebrating with food. From delicious sweets to decadent dishes, celebrations are incomplete without a lavish selection. So what happens to your diet or planned meals during a festival? Well fret not, experts suggest a healthy and smart way to keep this Navratri fit.

Make the right choice

dr Rimmi Verma, Orthopaedist, Sujok Therapist and Nutritionist, Axis Multispeciality Hospital, Mumbai says: “Navratri calls for celebration and that doesn’t mean you should avoid your healthy eating routine. Be careful and don’t overeat. That doesn’t mean you skip your meals. Have your right meal to maintain proper nutrition. When it comes to sweets or sugar, we often withdraw. You can eat sweets during the festival as your diet is not affected by what you eat at festivals but by what you eat year round.”
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Rihana Qureshi, nutritionist and wellness expert and founder of Get fit with Rihana (GFR), says, “Fresh (non-starchy) vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, and seasonal fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, papaya, and apples should be staple foods. If possible, avoid fruit juices, as that is too much (natural) sugar in one portion. That being said, you should consume dairy products like paneer, cottage cheese, or buttermilk at least once a day to meet your protein needs as they contain the most amino acids. Instead of traditional rice and wheat, you can cook your roti in Rajgira flour and cook your khichadi or dhokla with barnyard millet. You can also consume all kinds of dried fruit.”

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When you’re fasting, it’s important to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense. Priya Palan, a dietitian at Zen Multispeciality Hospital, says, “Add a variety of fresh fruits as they’re packed with fiber and antioxidants. Add nuts and dairy to maintain protein intake in the diet. It is also important to stay well hydrated to maintain electrolyte balance.”

Ingredients that should make it onto the menu this season

dr Neha Chawla, Nutrition and Fitness Coach, PFC (ProjectFitCo) – Transformational Fitness Organization, shares: “The fact that Navratri 2021 was spent at home due to Covid makes Navratri 2022 all the more special. Navratri fever will take hold of us in a few days, and we will all wear our finest clothes.”

Here are some tips for managing the diet during Navratri:


Chawla suggests choosing slow-digesting carbohydrates that are high in fiber, like whole grains, legumes, etc. They keep us fuller for longer. She adds: “Include potatoes and sweet potatoes in your diet as they help you feel full. They are high in fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins B6 and C. White potatoes are high in vitamin C and potassium, while sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and B5.


Because there are many variations and limitations in fasting rules, people tend to neglect protein content. Chawla shares, “Paneer, cottage cheese/Greek yogurt should be included in all main meals. Some people prefer to add soy chunks, tofu, and whey protein to meet their protein needs if their consumption is not prohibited in their culture. Choose tasteless whey for this period. To meet your daily protein needs, include multiple protein sources.”

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Palan lists the following as essential:


Palan adds, “The “chota dhamaka” of the diet adds good micronutrients to the diet even when eaten in small portions. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber and minerals.”


It’s a good food to add to a healthy, balanced diet. Palan shares, “It’s an excellent source of nutrients, e.g. B. iron, calcium, fiber, protein and magnesium, and gives the diet a good satiety value.

sweet potato

The root vegetable is a good source of fiber, potassium and B vitamin and helps prevent constipation. It also helps promote regular bowel movements,

Myths about fasting

The biggest misconception about fasting is that it means eating less. Qureshi adds, “This is absolutely wrong. Fasting is just controlling the type and interval of food to allow your body to repair, heal, and detoxify. Another myth is that fasting puts your body into starvation mode. Fasting, when done properly, actually helps your body get a much-needed break from the continual digestion of food and helps it use its fat stores effectively.”

Essential recipes:

Protien Bhagar Pulav

• 2 cups Bhagar soaked overnight.
• 100g Malai Paneer.
• 1 tablespoon clarified butter
• Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
• Onion
• Tomatoes
• carrots
• Cauliflower
• Peas
• Green chillies
• Garam Masala Powder
• Salt (to taste)

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  • Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a pan. Add cumin, onion, tomatoes and other vegetables. Cook on high flame for a minute. Add paneer, garam masala powder and salt.
  • Cook on high flame for one minute. Add soaked bhagar and 2 cups water and cook on low flame (until cooked). Serve hot with chilled cottage cheese.
    – By Rihana Qureshi, nutritionist and wellness expert and founder of Get fit with Rihana

    Buckwheat Dhokla

• 120 g kuttu ka atta / buckwheat flour
• 60 g sour quark
• 1/4 tsp ginger paste
• Salt to taste
• 1 tbsp fresh coriander (grated)
• 1 teaspoon green chili (chopped)


  • Clean and wash the buckwheat only once in enough water.
  • Then drain the excess water with a colander.
  • Mix buckwheat, sour quark and half a cup of water in a bowl.
  • Cover and let soak for at least 4 to 5 hours.
  • Now add the green chili, ginger paste and salt to the batter and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased thali and spread evenly by turning the thali clockwise.
  • Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro on top as well. Steam in the steamer for 10-12 minutes. Or until the dhoklas are cooked. Cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve immediately with green chutney.
    – From Dr. Neha Chawla, Nutrition and Fitness Coach, PFC (ProjectFitCo) – Transformational Fitness Organization

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