Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
The name conjures up images of pure bliss – ginger tea with piping hot pakoras, the pitter-patter of raindrops, and lush greenery.
No wonder monsoon is the favourite season of most people.
But like all good things, this much-loved season has its share of flaws – it puts a speed bump in your fitness goals and increases your chances of falling ill.
When you have diabetes, this gets even worse. You become more susceptible to viral and other infections. Foot care, medicine storage and doctor or laboratory visits can be nothing short of a nightmare.
Monsoon also creates a laid-back mood and makes you crave for all things hot and fried. Vada pav, kachori, samosa, pakora, medu vada, bread rolls – the list of mouth-watering monsoon delicacies is endless!
Thus, during monsoon, it’s best to stick to home-cooked food because it’s freshly prepared with the right ingredients.
But only eating homemade food would take away the joy of monsoon. After all, who doesn’t love to grab a bite when you’re out and it is pouring?
So here are smart options you can indulge in:
1. Bhutta (Corn):
Baarish and bhutta are synonymous. As soon as the first rains arrive, roadside stalls selling corn-on-the-cob pop up in every corner of the city. For people with diabetes, it’s best to restrict the intake to ½ a medium bhutta as it’s a high GI food.
2. Chana chaat:
The black chana chaat is full of the goodness of fibre and protein – the two nutrients that balance your sugar levels beautifully. A single serving of this delicious snack should take care of your evening hunger pangs. However, make sure that the onion and tomato are chopped in front of you, else you may catch a food infection. After all, raw food is the easiest place for bacteria to grow and multiply during the monsoons.
It’s risky to eat salads given the probability of infection, so vegetable soups are the best way to grab your vegetable – and antioxidant – quota. And nothing tastes as delicious as a bowl of warm soup when it’s pouring outside. At home, you can pressure cook any three veggies to prepare a nourishing broth.
PS – The sodium and preservative-loaded ready-to-eat soups don’t count as soup.
4. Idli/dosa/uttapam with sambar:
This wholesome meal can be savoured at any time of the day. Boasting a perfect dal-rice combo, these fermented foods pack in a solid nutritional punch along with a delicious flavour. Avoid eating the coconut chutney since you’re unaware of the water used to prepare it.
Portion size – Since these South Indian snacks are fermented foods, they have a high GI. Thus, restrict yourself to one big/ two medium idlis, ½ an uttapam or dosa along with a piping hot bowl of sambar.
5. Grilled sandwich and wraps/frankies:
These two foods are a smart and delicious way to up your veggie dose. Since you crave for steaming hot food during monsoon, grilled sandwiches and wraps are an excellent evening nibble. A slice of cheese or paneer adds both taste and protein. Skip the raw onions in wraps since you could easily catch a food infection.
Choose the whole wheat wraps and sandwiches since they’re high in fibre. Also, the portion size should be ½ a grilled sandwich or 1 medium-sized wrap.
6. Paneer/Chicken tikka:
This roasted appetizer fulfils your fibre and protein requirements. Low on oil, tikkas score full marks on taste and nutrition. However, steer away from the salad and mint chutney served along with the tikka.
Portion size – 3-4 medium pieces of paneer/chicken along with the grilled veggies.
7. Dal khichdi:
Not exactly the kind of food you would order when eating out, but during monsoons, khichdi becomes everyone’s favourite. Bursting with the goodness of protein and carbs, khichdi is delicious comfort food; it perfectly complements your lazy not-in-the-mood-to-cook mode. Add some veggies and ghee to make this one-dish meal a nutritionally balanced one. The recommended serving size is 1 medium bowl.
Now, these were the healthier alternatives.
But monsoon can’t be monsoon if you don’t chomp on something fried. It’s impossible to resist bhajiyas or samosa, despite the calorie content or risk of infection.
Knowing how tough it is to fight that urge, here’s how you can savour greasy finger food at the roadside stall:
- Eat a kachori or pakora only if the vendor is frying them in front of you. This practice ensures minimal bacterial contamination as well as fulfils your desire to munch on something hot. Or learn to make them healthy at home.
- Keep a check on your portion size – eat only one medium-sized samosa or four-five bhajiyas at a time. And follow this meal with a protein-rich snack – a glass of milk, roasted chana, or boiled sprouts. This practice will avoid the glucose level spike. Learn more about portion control.
- Grab these munchies not more than once or twice a week. Treat this snack as a reward for eating healthy throughout the week.
Also, the downpour or even the sluggish monsoon vibe can become an excuse to skip your morning/evening walk or workouts. Now, a stroll or gym session may not be the most feasible exercise option. However, you can choose between skipping, spot jogging, dance, yoga, or even home workout DVDs. Make sure you follow these safe exercising tips while exercising.
Staying safe during monsoon:
The high moisture content during rains weakens your immune system and lowers your metabolic rate. A low BMR triggers a weakened digestive system and gastrointestinal illnesses like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea tag along. What’s more, the stagnant water-filled streets become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. This situation puts you at risk for water-borne diseases.
To avoid falling into the trap of monsoon maladies:
- Stick to eating food that’s been cooked fresh or heated just before serving.
- Choose foods that have been grilled, steamed, baked or roasted only.
- Eat small, frequent meals – ideally eat every 2-3 hours.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well before cooking.
- Avoid chaats and roadside fruit and vegetable vendors.
Repeated wetting of shoes and wearing wet socks for a long time is another monsoon problem that puts you at risk of infection.
Follow these steps to take care of your feet:
- After coming home, wash your feet thoroughly with soap and a scrubber. Make sure you wipe the area between the toes with a dry towel. Moisturize the dry feet, but avoid applying lotion between your toes.
- Wear flip-flops, chappals or floaters instead of shoes. If you have to wear shoes, keep changing them regularly. Wearing the same pair of shoes for a long time increases bacterial growth.
- Always use an anti-fungal powder before wearing any footwear.
- Trim your toenails on a regular basis.
By following all these tips, you will sail smoothly through the monsoon.
So here’s to a happy and healthy monsoon! Cheers!