Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Who doesn’t love a plate of delicious food? While this is a simple affair for most, meal planning for those who have diabetes can often involve a lot of thinking and calorie counting!
Our Indian diet mainly consists of carbohydrates, which can sometimes be a little difficult to handle when you have to follow a diabetes-specific meal plan. But that does not mean you cannot have healthy and delicious food that will also be perfect to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Why is the Glycemic Index (GI) so important to consider for diabetic foods?
If you have diabetes, foods that are low in their glycemic index (GI) are your best bet. GI indicates how the particular food will affect your blood sugar levels. Foods with high GI can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, while foods with low GI will keep your blood sugar levels more stable.
As part of a diabetes-friendly diet, it is ideal to keep the daily calorie intake between 1500 and 1800 calories.
5 delicious Indian foods and recipes that will tickle your taste buds this week
1. Raw papaya sambharo
Papaya is rich in fibre, vitamins A, B, C and E, protein and even water, along with folate, magnesium, copper, potassium and lycopene (a powerful antioxidant)! It’s a super starfruit! If you ever needed any reason to include papaya in your diet, you need not look further.
Check out this easy to make and delicious raw papaya dish that you can have as a stand-alone salad or as a side dish.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Rinku’s Rasoi
2. Chickpea or white matar ghugni
Chickpeas, also known as chholey, are high in their fibre and protein content, as well as various vitamins and minerals. They have a very low glycaemic index .
Try this delicious recipe that you can have as a breakfast dish, or have in your lunch or dinner with brown rice or roti.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Nisha Madhulika
3. Cabbage stir fry or cabbage thoran
Cabbage improves renal function, reduces blood glucose levels and has antioxidant as well as antihyperglycemic properties that make it a good diabetic friendly food .
Try out this interesting version of cabbage now.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Banana Leaf
4. Spinach and chholey sabzi
Spinach is very high in fibre and has a low GI . Chholey or chickpea is rich in its fibre and protein content and also has a low GI .
Here is a very easy tutorial on the recipe.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Manjula’s Kitchen
5. Bhindi and yoghurt sabzi
Bhindi, also known as lady’s finger or okra, is high in dietary fibre which helps to improve your insulin sensitivity and has a low GI too.
Here’s a delicious Rajasthani take on this vegetable.
Video courtesy: YouTube/ Rajshri Food
What about portion size?
As far as the portion size is concerned, if you are having them as it is, great, but if you are having them along with rice or roti, it is best to add more vegetables in your plate than the starchy carbs. Read some more tips on portion control for people with diabetes.
With so many food options to choose from, let’s dispel the myth that diabetes makes your meal times boring.
Don’t forget to check out these healthy, delicious and diabetes-friendly breakfast and lunch recipes.
Do you have a special favourite dish that is also perfect to keep your blood sugar levels in check? Share with our readers now!
- Gray A. Nutritional Recommendations for Individuals with Diabetes. [Updated 2015 May 31]. In: De Groot LJ, Chrousos G, Dungan K, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.;2000-.
- Ware, Megan. “Papaya: Health Benefits, Uses, Risks.” Medical News Today (MNT). MediLexicon International Ltd, 30 June 2015. Web 8 Aug 2015
- Augustin LSA, Chiavaroli L, Campbell J, et al. Post-prandial glucose and insulin responses of hummus alone or combined with a carbohydrate food: a dose–response study. Nutrition Journal. 2016;15:13. doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0129-1.
- Michael Ravensthorpe: Natural News. Cabbage: natural medicine for cancer, diabetes and more: Friday, May 16, 2014
- Bunzel M, Seiler A, Steinhart H. Characterization of dietary fiber lignins from fruits and vegetables using the DFRC method. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 30;53(24):9553-9. PubMed PMID: 16302776.
- Written by Kathryn Watson: Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on January 26, 2016: Healthline: Benefits of Okra for diabetes
[…] She admits, “Celebrations can be difficult for people with diabetes, especially in a country where there is so much emphasis on food being an expression of love and affection. This isn’t made easier by the fact that sweets, pastries and rich dishes loaded with fat and spices are the focal points of any festivities. My personal mantra is to educate those around you about your dietary preferences beforehand so they can arrange few things of your choice and don’t feel offended if you refrain from eating or drinking other things. Or they can ask for guidance to specially prepare something for you that won’t adversely affect your diet.” […]
[…] Experts have pointed at how well the Indian meal plate works as a balanced plate meal. Luke Coutinho, Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine – Holistic Nutrition agrees, and explains, “A meal that is balanced comprises of vegetables (raw + cooked), lentils/ pulses/ legumes, whole grains and a source of probiotic (fermented vegetables, buttermilk or organic milk yoghurt). The ample fibre provided by such a meal is enough to subdue the effects of carbohydrates and make it a slow digesting one. Our simple and traditional Indian meal is a perfect example of such a balanced plate.” Read more about Indian recipes that are perfect for regulating diabetes […]
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