Essentials In Your Diabetic Diet

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert..

Diabetes is characterized by excess glucose in blood and in urine due to inadequate production, secretion and utilization of insulin. Genetic factors, faulty eating habits, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and age of the person can increase the risk of diabetes. Maintenance of blood glucose and lipid levels within normal limits with regular exercise and healthy lifestyle can help in preventing both short-term and long- term complications of diabetes.

Diabetic diet need not be a complete deviation from the normal diet. The nutritional requirements of a diabetic are same as in the non-diabetic. Normal Indian diets are generally high in carbohydrates and low in fat, with carbohydrates providing 60-65 % and fat providing 15-25 % of total calories. The rest is derived from proteins. Thus, even a normal diet is ideal for a diabetic. However, the nutrient intake has to be tailor made to the individual based on age, gender, weight, height, physical activity, and physiological needs of the patient.

Diabetic diet food list includes foods that help maintain blood sugar levels, help to release sustained energy levels, decrease cravings and maintain healthy fat percentage.

-Fibrous vegetables such as palak , methi , bhindi, turai, duddhi, parwar, tinda, karela, baigan, fansi, gavar, papdi, drum stick, cucumber, tomato, carrot raw, raddish, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, broccoli, lettuce, and celery.

-Roots and tubers such as potato, yam, sweet potato, beetroot, tapioca and colocasia are not recommended as they are rich sources of calories.

-Fibrous fruits such as apple, pear, orange, sweet lime, guava, berries, avocado and papaya. The other medium and high sugar fruits such as bananas, mangoes, grapes, chickoo must be consumed sparingly.

-Also remember, wholesome fruits are always nutritionally superior to fruit juices because the former contain good amounts of fiber. Fruit juices may also contain higher amounts of added sugar which are not good for diabetics.

-Whole grains like jowar, bajra, nachni, barley, oats, dalia (broken wheat), buckwheat, whole wheat and barley. 

-Whole pulses such as rajma, chole, chavli, chana, moong, matki, vatana, vaal; and dals such as moong dal, toor dal, masoor dal, urad dal, chana dal and besan and sprouted pulses should be included in the diet.

-Lean protein such as skim milk and skim milk products (paneer), egg whites, chicken and fish and eggs should also be an integral part of the diet.

-Include good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, rice bran oil, raw nuts and seeds.

-Switch to having coffee and tea without sugar.

-Experiment with fenugreek seeds, cinnamon and flaxseeds to maintain blood sugar levels.

-You can also try stevia in place of artificial sweeteners.

How to indulge?

Being a diabetic individual doesn’t mean that you cannot indulge at all. Take a look at these tips for those days when you want to let go off your diet and indulge a little bit.

  • While eating out at events, the most important thing is to have confidence and being diligent in choosing the right foods. Self-restraint is a virtue.
  • Select foods that are plainly cooked without too much oil (fried) and choose steamed, grilled or tandoor food items.
  • Avoid heavy sauces that are rich in sugar and fat.
  • Avoid refined foods, choose whole grain options mentioned above.
  • Avoid rich gravies, for example; in chicken curry, eat the chicken pieces and leave the curry,
  • Pick a green veggie over a starchy veggie like potatoes,
  • Ensure good amount of salads without heavy dressings.
  • Choose a fruit salad over a dessert. If you need to share the dessert, stick to 3 bite-rule.

Being mindful about your diet is an important part of being able to regulate your diet. Make small changes in your food habits over a period of time to transition to a diabetic friendly diet easily.


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