Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
We all love a little treat now and then, and when we cheat, it somehow makes that treat taste even better! But for people with diabetes, cheating on their diet can wreak havoc on their blood sugar levels and cause other complications that are no fun at all. So, does this mean no junk food ever? That is absolutely wrong.
Here’s how to keep enjoying your favourite unhealthy foods without letting it affect your blood sugar levels.
Junk food that isn’t that bad for people with diabetes? If this sounds like science fiction, we don’t blame you for thinking so. Yet we maintain that not all junk food is evil. There are indeed some treats that are not as harmful as they are made out to be. Here are some items you can safely consume on your cheat days without having an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels.
Before we tell you what those are though, please understand that we don’t advocate consuming junk food that is sold on the streets or in restaurants.
This kind of junk food is not only bad for diabetics but also for people who don’t have diabetes. This is because junk is empty calories devoid of any nutrients, high in fat, low in fibre and contains harmful chemicals and preservatives along with being served in unhygienic and unsanitary conditions.
However, the good news is that all junk food can be made healthy. You simply need to make it at home using whole, plant-based ingredients like whole grains and pulses, unpeeled vegetables, nut butters, seeds, etc. Please note that oil in junk food is the primary problem as it can increase triglycerides, cause inflammation and even heighten insulin resistance.
Madhura Vayal, has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Kentucky, US and is a whole-foods, plant-based nutritionist certified from e-Cornell New York. She provides some quick hacks for you to transform otherwise deadly junk food into a healthy and tasty treat you can safely enjoy at home.
- Chaat: It can be made by incorporating sprouts, unpeeled steamed potatoes, onion, tomatoes, unpeeled cucumbers, and chutneys. Bake the sev instead of frying it and add roasted peanuts for extra crunch.
- Paani Puri: Replace the fried puris with baked ones and stuff them with sprouts, mashed and unpeeled steamed potato and lots of freshly chopped raw onion. This will be delicious with a spicy, tangy paani.
- Ragda pattice: Make sure to bake the pattice as well as the toppings such as the sev. Since the ragda is basically protein rich boiled chickpeas with spices, it is safe to consume as is.
- Samosas & Batata Vadas: Stuff them with whole, unpeeled potatoes and bake instead of frying. Keeping the peels on the potatoes prevents them from increasing blood sugar levels as they possess a lot of good fibre.
- Frankies & Wraps: Simply replace the refined and process maida wrappings with wholegrain rotis. Stuff them with unpeeled raw veggies, homemade sauces and dairy-free cheese to make it totally diabetic-friendly.
ATTENTION: After reading through this list, you may feel a bit disappointed that all the snacks mentioned, need to be made at home. This may not be practical for many of our readers so we went ahead and picked Madhura’s brain for some more suggestions. This time though, we asked her to give us at least 5 items that could be enjoyed on the streets or in restaurants.
Madhura was kind enough to accommodate our request and shared this very cool list of 5 junk food items you can eat outside as well:
- Vegetable sandwich: As long as you ask for brown bread and skip the butter.
- Bhel: This delicious street snack made of puffed rice and loads of tomatoes, onions, green chillies, coriander, green mango and chutneys is super healthy as long as you avoid the sev and the fried puris.
- Steamed momos: If stuffed with a variety of vegetables, this snack can tickle your taste buds and even be a relatively healthy option for you when you’re eating out. Don’t overdo it though, as the dough for the covering is made from maida.
- Fruit popsicles: A lot of ice cream companies are trying to stop adding to the high sugar intake most kids and even adults are subjected to. It’s now getting easier to find fruit popsicles made of just fruit juice and no added sugar or preservatives. Feast on these all summer long.
- Corn on the cob: No monsoon season is complete without munching on that one street food everyone can afford thanks to it being so low cost. And despite having diabetes, you too can afford to enjoy it to your heart’s content. Of course, this is if you stick to rubbing it down with chilli powder and lemon while giving the butter and excess salt, a miss.