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Living with diabetes is not always difficult. Diabetes may only become a chronic condition if it is not managed, and it can then lead to other dangerous ailments.
Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder where one’s blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Some of the symptoms of the disorder include increased thirst, urination, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss. But, the disorder and its symptoms can be brought under control by following a well-planned diabetic diet chart.
There are two types of diabetes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The former is more common among children, and in this case, the pancreas does not produce any insulin. The latter is considered the milder type in which the pancreas produces some insulin but it is normally not enough.
While it is a dangerous disease, understanding how to control diabetes is crucial. Therefore, following the right diet and taking good care of your body plays a key role in controlling the disorder.
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Diabetic Diet Plan – Food List
Certain foods help lower blood sugar levels, allowing them to play an important role in diabetes management. It is also extremely beneficial to consume foods that prevent diabetes complications like heart and kidney diseases.
These 10 diabetic diet foods can play a major role in bringing the disorder under control.
1. Leafy Greens
Green, leafy vegetables are low in calories, while also being extremely nutritious. Being low in digestible carbs means that they play a major role in controlling blood sugar levels too.
The nutrition facts for 100 grams of leafy greens (The statistics included below represent a comprehensive nutritional profile from all leafy greens.) are-
Calories: 23 kcal
Protein: 2.9 gm
Carbs: 3.6 gm
Sugar: 0.4 gm
Fibre: 2.2 gm
Fat: 0.4 gm
For example, Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in several vitamins and minerals like vitamin C. A study showed that increasing vitamin C intake reduces the fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. Even high blood pressure levels.
Along with its strong antioxidant properties, cinnamon is also known for its ability to control diabetes. According to several controlled studies, cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity as well.
However, you must consider limiting your intake of cassia cinnamon to less than a single teaspoon a day. Because of the presence of coumarin in this type of cinnamon it can cause health problems if taken in higher doses. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon does not contain much coumarin.
The nutrition facts for 100 grams of cinnamon are-
Calories: 247 kcal
Protein: 4 gm
Carbs: 81 gm
Fibre: 1.2 gm
Potassium: 431 mg
Sodium: 10 mg
3. Fatty Fish
A diabetic person can include salmon, sardines, and mackerel in their diet. These fatty fish are great sources of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) , which are omega-3 fatty acids with major heart health benefits.
Improving the intake of these fats could particularly benefit diabetics who are at a higher risk of heart disease.
DHA and EPA help reduce inflammation markers. It also improves the way the arteries function after having meals and protects the inner lining of blood vessels.
Research has shown that elderly people who eat fatty fish more than 5 times a week, for around 8 weeks have had significant reductions in triglyceride levels and inflammatory markers. They also contain high-quality protein that helps you feel full for longer while increasing your metabolic rate.
The nutrition facts for 100 grams of fatty fish (The statistics included below represent a comprehensive nutritional profile from all fatty fishes) are-
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber, yet contain less digestible carbs. In respect to that, the viscous fiber found in these seeds lowers blood sugar levels. It does that by slowing down the rate at which food is moving through the gut and getting absorbed.
Read more: Chia Seeds – Health Benefits and Potential Side Effects
Additionally, the fiber present in chia seeds also helps one feel full, and in the process, prevents overeating and unnecessary weight gain. Chia seeds are also great to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
The nutrition facts for 100 grams of chia seeds are-
5. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great dairy option for diabetics, because of its ability to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is partly due to the presence of probiotics in them.
Studies have also found that yogurt and other dairy products can result in weight loss and better body composition among people with type 2 diabetes. As, Greek yogurt contains fewer carbs than conventional yogurt, it can be a great alternative to meats.
Read more: Greek Yoghurt – Benefits, Nutrition Value & Healthy Recipes
Also, its high protein content promotes weight loss by helping one avoid unwanted binging and balancing the carb intake. So, add Greek yogurt to your diabetic diet for improved health benefits.
The nutrition facts for one container (156 g or 5.5 oz) of greek yoghurt are-
Fat: 0.265 g
Sodium: 56.2 mg
Carbohydrates: 5.68 g
Sugars: 5.1 g
Protein: 16.1 g
Calcium: 111 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1mg
Vitamin B12: 1.2mcg
Flaxseeds also known as Alsi in India contain insoluble fiber made up of lignans. It reduces heart disease risk and improves blood sugar control.
A study showed that people with type 2 diabetes that consumed flaxseed lignans for 12 weeks experienced a major improvement in hemoglobin A1c.
Read more: Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil for Diabetes
Similarly, another study suggested that a higher intake of flaxseed can lower the risk of strokes. Their high viscous fiber content helps improve various things for example gut health, insulin sensitivity, and the feeling of fullness in the body.
The nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (10g) of flax seeds are-
As we know, all nuts contain fiber, and are low in digestible fiber, although that varies in levels. Research on various types of nuts has shown that their consumption can reduce inflammation, and lower HbA1c. It can also lower blood sugar, and LDL levels in the body. Thus, great for including in a diabetic diet plan
Recently, a study showed that people with diabetes who included 30 g of walnuts in their daily diet for a whole year lost weight. Even saw improvements in their body composition, and significantly lowered their insulin levels.
People with type 2 diabetes often have high insulin levels, and hence this is linked with obesity. Researchers also believe that extremely high insulin levels increase one’s risk of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and also get cancerous.
The nutrition facts for 100 grams of nuts (The statistics included below represent a comprehensive nutritional profile from all nuts) are-
Total Fat: 54 g
Saturated fat: 9 g
Sodium: 273 mg
Potassium: 632 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 21 g
Dietary fiber: 7 g
Sugar: 4.2 g
Protein: 20 g
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Although it’s made from apples, the sugar content in the fruit is fermented into acetic acid, with the resulting product containing very few carbs.
Further to this apple cider vinegar tends to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It also has the ability to reduce blood sugar levels by 20% when consumed with meals having carbs.
Read more: The Curious Case of Apple Cider Vinegar for Blood Pressure
Additionally, a study showed that people with poorly controlled diabetes saw a 6% reduction in fasting blood sugar levels when given two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before sleeping.
The nutrition facts for one tablespoon (15ml) of apple cider vinegar contains:
Garlic is known to have some impressive health benefits. Some studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation, blood sugar, and LDL levels in people that have type 2 diabetes.
It is effective in reducing blood pressure levels in the body. In addition to that, garlic is also low in calories and likewise a single clove contains only 4 calories.
The nutrition facts for Raw Garlic (1 clove) are-
Protein – 0.57g
Fat – 0.04g
Carbohydrate – 2.98g
Energy – 13.41kcal
Sugar – 0.09g
Fiber – 0.19g
Calcium – 16.29mg
Iron – 0.15mg
Magnesium – 2.25mg
Phosphorus – 13.77mg
Potassium – 36.09mg
Sodium – 1.53 mg
Strawberries are specifically rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give them their red color. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce insulin and cholesterol levels right after a meal. They also reduce the risk of increased blood sugar levels and heart diseases in type 2 diabetes patients.
For instance, a single cup of strawberries contains 49 calories and only 11 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. This serving also ensures that one gets more than 100% of their required daily intake of vitamin C, thus providing additional anti-inflammatory benefits for heart health.
The nutrition facts for one cup of halved strawberries (152g) are-
Vitamin C: 89.4mg
1200 Calorie Diabetic Diet Plan Chart
A proper diabetic meal plan goes a long way in helping control high blood sugar levels. So, we have put together a 1200 calorie Indian diabetic diet plan to help you understand how you can plan your meals in order to bring diabetes under control.
Methi seeds – 2 tsp (soaked) Water – 1 glass
Millet Vegetable Cheela/Dosa – 2 Green chutney – 1 tsp
Buttermilk – 1 glass Apple – 1
Mixed Vegetable Salad – 1 cup Multigrain chapati – 2 OR Chapati – 1 & Brown rice – ½ katori Methi Dal – 1 katori Bhindi sabji – 1 katori
Lemon green tea without sugar/honey – 1 cup Roasted Chana – 0.25 cup
Sprouts salad – 1 katori
Mixed vegetable Daliya – 1 cup Mint curd chutney – 2 tsp OR Chapati – 1 Palak sabji – 2 katori
Milk without Sugar – 1/2 cup
While this works as a general Indian diet chart for diabetic patients, it is important to consult a nutritionist like one of our Healthify Experts before following a diet plan for yourself.
7 Weight Loss Tips for Diabetic Patients
Diet Plan Chart for Diabetic Patients – Recipes
It is important to maintain a low carb and sugar intake for individuals with diabetes. The following recipes are diabetes-friendly while also being a treat to the taste buds. Try some of these diabetic diet recipes today.
1. Subzi Dal Diet Plan
Have this nutritious dal along with Rotis as the combination of dals with vegetables makes it extremely rich in energy, protein, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Furthermore, green peas add to the fiber content of the recipe.
Also, coriander and capsicum are important sources of vitamins A and C. So, this dish serves 4 and is the perfect addition to any diabetic diet.
Yellow moong dal (split yellow gram) – 1/3 cup
Toovar (arhar) dal – 1/3 cup
Mustard seeds (rai) – 1/2 tsp
masoor dal (split red lentils) – 1/3 cup
Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 6 to 8
asafoetida (hing) – 1/4 tsp
Green chilli – 1 (chopped)
onion – 1 (chopped)
Ginger-green chili paste – 2 tsp
Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
Large tomato – 1 (finely chopped)
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder (haldi) – 1/2 tsp
Mixed vegetables (capsicum, carrots, peas) 1 cup (finely chopped)
Oil – 2 tsp
salt to taste
Chopped coriander for garnish – 2 tbsp
Cook the dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker until it becomes soft and keep it aside.
Then, heat oil in a pan, add curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chili, ginger & garlic paste, and sauté them well.
Later, add the vegetables and cook the mixture for 2 minutes.
Finally, add the dal, chilly powder, and simmer this mixture until the vegetables are cooked.
Garnish the dish with coriander and serve hot.
2. Carrot Methi Subzi Diet Plan
An uncommon but healthy combination – carrots are abundant in vitamin A whereas methi has lots of calcium and iron. Moreover, this dish can go very well with steaming hot phulkas and curds and serves 4 people.
Carrots – 2 cups (cut into cubes)
Fenugreek (methi) leaves – 2 cups (chopped)
Cumin seeds (jeera) – ½ tsp
Onions – ¾ cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies – 3 (finely chopped)
Large clove of garlic – 1 (finely chopped)
Ginger – ½ inch (finely chopped)
Turmeric powder (haldi) – ¼ tsp
Coriander (dhania) powder – 2 tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Firstly, heat the oil in a nonstick pan and add the cumin seeds.
Once they crackle, then add the onions, green chilies, garlic & ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the fenugreek leaves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Next, add the carrots, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt, 1 cup of water, and mix them well.
Finally, cover and cook the mixture over a slow flame until all the moisture has evaporated and the carrots are tender.
Serve the dish hot.
3. Sugar Free Makhana Kheer Diet Plan
Indeed rich in protein and calcium, Makhana or fox-nut combines beautifully with low-fat milk to make a delicious kheer. Being sugar-free, it is also diabetes-friendly.
Low-fat milk – 1 litre
Makhana (puffed lotus seeds/fox nuts) – 1/4 cup
Dates – 3-4 (finely chopped)
Chopped pistachios – 1 tsp
Chopped almonds – 2 tsp
Green cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
First prepare a pan and dry roast the fox nuts till they become crisp.
Then you need to cool it and blend coarsely in a grinder or with a rolling pin.
Next, boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan.
Once the milk boils, add the dates and coarsely crushed lotus seeds. Mix them well and cook on a medium flame for 2-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Also, add the nuts and spices. Mix and serve it warm or cold.
4. Grilled Tofu Lettuce/Spinach Sandwich Diet Plan
A deliciously spicy and sour sandwich cooked with mustard-marinated tofu and garnished with lettuce and spinach makes a fantastic evening healthy snack with a cup of herbal tea.
Firm tofu sliced into squares of bread slice size – 200 gram
Sesame seed – 1/4 cup
Dijon mustard – 1 tablespoon
Olive oil – 2 tsp
Whole-wheat bread toasted – 4 slices
Tomato – 1 (thinly sliced)
Small sized onion – 1 (thinly sliced into rings)
Lettuce leaves or spinach leaves – 6 – 8
Tabasco sauce (optional) – 1 teaspoon
Salt and black pepper to taste
To begin making the Grilled Tofu Spinach Sandwich, in a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt. Toss the tofu in the mustard and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to marinate or place it in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Then, preheat the grill pan on medium heat and grease it with a tablespoon of oil. Arrange the tofu in the hot grill pan. Accordingly, grill on medium-high until the tofu gets a crispy outer covering and turns golden brown on both sides.
Toast each of the bread slices in a toaster until it becomes brown and crisp. You can also use an iron skillet to toast them.
Next, evenly place the tomato slices, onion rings, and spinach or lettuce leaves on the bread slices.
Place the grilled tofu on the bread slices and drizzle some tabasco sauce and dijon mustard on the sandwich.
Cover with the remaining bread slices and serve warm.
2 Food Myths Diabetics believe!
Diabetic eating doesn’t have to be devoid of all things sweet and nice.
Despite the high prevalence, misunderstandings about diabetes are abounded. If you’re diabetic, you are sure to have heard of a long list of things to avoid. But diabetic eating can allow for many things sweet and nice. Here we debunk 5 common diabetic myths and hope to make it easier to live with diabetes.
Carbs are bad!
This is by far the most common myth. Carbohydrates have a bad reputation and is believed to be bad for diabetics. While carbs do impact your blood sugar levels, a diabetic doesn’t have to refrain from eating carbohydrates. All you have to do is choose the right kind of carbs and limit the quantity.
Choose whole grains like brown rice, wheat, and millets like foxtail, Baja and rage. These are rich in water-soluble vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and can help regular your blood sugar levels.
Do not eat fruits…
Just because fruits are sweet, doesn’t mean a diabetic can’t have them every day. Fruits are a good source of antioxidant-rich vitamins, minerals, and contain high levels of fibre. Just remember to choose whole fruits over fruit juices. Also, try and avoid eating fruits right after a meal as it can spike your blood sugar.
Diabetes is a condition that arises when the blood glucose level is elevated. Consuming the incorrect foods will raise the blood sugar level in the body, aggravating the condition.
A diabetic can maintain their blood glucose level by eating modest and frequent meals. A nutritious diet improves one’s health and lowers one’s risk of developing other cofounding ailments.
A person with diabetes should actively engage in self-management, education, and treatment planning, in addition to a customised food plan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is a good daily menu for a diabetic?
A. The 1200-calorie Diabetic Diet Chart is a general guide maintain a balanced diet and satisfy your hunger.
Q. What foods can diabetics eat freely?
A. There are plenty of foods that can be eaten by someone who is diabetic. Foods like Bajra, Jowar, Raagi, green leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy, seasonal fruits and vegetables, a variety of nuts, along with beverages such as green tea, herbal teas, buttermilk, and coconut water.
Q. What can diabetics eat for breakfast?
A. Diabetics can enjoy 1 medium-sized bowl of oats for breakfast or 1 medium bowl of red rice vegetable poha OR 2 medium-sized idlis with a big bowl of sambar or an 2 egg white omelette with 1 slice of grainy toast.
Q. What are the 5 worst foods for diabetics?
A. The 4 EVIL Whites- are white sugar, refined flour, white rice, white salt, and full fat milk.
Q. What can diabetics eat for dinner?
A. Some dinner ideas include- Low-fat paneer or Tofu with grilled vegetables OR 1 medium-sized bowl of chicken soup with 1 fillet of fish and salad OR 1 small bowl of vegetable khichdi with some cucumber raitha OR millet khichdi with homemade curds OR 2 whole wheat chapathis with 1 bowl of mixed seasonal vegetables and curds on the side are some of the dinner ideas that can be a tasty and healthy addition to a diabetic meal.
Q. Are bananas good for diabetes?
A. Bananas are high in fibre and have low GI. So, diabetics can eat bananas in moderation. They can restrict themselves to having them twice or thrice a week.
Q. Which fruit is sugar-free?
A. Fruits have natural sugar which can be eaten in moderation by a diabetic person. There are some fruits that are low in GI, like berries, citrus fruit (orange, mandarin, mausambi), papaya, avocado, grapefruit, etc.
Q. What is the best lunch for a diabetic to eat?
A. Green salad with millet khichdi, lean meat like chicken and fish, and even stir-fried paneer with vegetables are known to be the best diabetic lunch.
Q. What should a diabetic drink?
A. Diabetics should constantly track their meals in order to stay healthy. Drinks can be consumed in the morning or evening. Herbal Tea, green smoothies (e.g wheatgrass’ spirulina based) and chaas are all great drinks for people with diabetes.
Q. Is coffee good for diabetics?
A. Caffeine can have an adverse effect on diabetic people. Also, caffeine is a mild diuretic, decaffeinated coffee is the best and safest option for them.
Q. Is rice good for diabetics?
A. Rice is a staple for Asiatic Countries. So, it has a cultural influence that can be hard to let go of for people. However, it is a food that is rich in carbohydrates and has a high GI. So, it isn’t ideal for diabetics. Instead of having white rice, one can opt for red rice or even better millets (e.g foxtail millets, barnyard millets) as an alternative to white rice.
Q. Are potatoes OK for diabetics?
A. In this one you can say Potatoes are rich in Vitamins and Minerals along with High starch, So checking the size of the potatoes is important, baby potatoes can be consumed once in a while in roast or grilled form in combination with other non-starchy vegetables.
Q. What are three eating tips for diabetics?
A. The three major eating tips for diabetics would be, 1. Replace refined carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates (like in red rice or millet 2. Include fibre (e.g in fresh vegetable salads and seasonal fruits with skin) to stay full 3. Avoid added sugar.
Q. What foods reduce diabetes fast?
A. Protein-rich foods, such as egg whites, lean chicken, fatty fish, low-fat paneer or Tofu, home made curds, and a variety of nuts (only half to 1 fistful a day) along with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Q. Will drinking water lower blood sugar?
A. Water is an all-round nutrient and when consumed in recommended quantities, has a positive impact on electrolyte balance while regulating blood pressure and sugar.
Q. What is the highest blood sugar level that is safe?
A. Blood Sugar Levels depend on if you have had a meal or not. So, the highest blood sugar before a meal is 130 and after a meal is 180.
Q. What is type 2 diabetes sugar level?
A. Type 2 Diabetes Level is dependent on an Individual’s body type, food intake, exercise regime, water intake, and stress levels. So, it differs from person to person.
Q. Is fruit a free food for diabetics?
A. Though fruits have natural sugar, they do not contain free sugar that can affect a diabetic person’s blood sugar levels. Also, choose to eat seasonal fruits, but in moderation.
Q. Can diabetics eat pizza?
A. A Diabetic can enjoy a homemade pizza that is made from a whole wheat pizza base with a good number of pizza toppings, and just a very light sprinkiling of cheese.
Q. Is cheese OK for diabetics?
A. Since cheese is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, it can be a good choice for diabetics. However, make sure you have it in moderation which would not add some extra inches to your waist.
Q. Can a diabetic eat peanut butter?
A. Peanuts can lower blood sugar. So, peanut butter (unsweetened) is healthy and can be eaten by diabetics. You can add it to your whole wheat bread or enjoy some with your yoghurt smoothie for some extra protein.
Q. What can diabetics eat for snacks?
A. There is a wide variety of snacking options for diabetics. They can have a hard-boiled egg, air-popped popcorn, a handful of nuts, sprout salad, 1 slice of whole wheat toast with a thin layer of peanut butter (unsweetened) spread.
Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes (2010)
Is consuming yoghurt associated with weight management outcomes? Results from a systematic review (2016)
Effect of flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) supplementation on glycemic control and insulin resistance in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. (2022)
A Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare the Effect of Peanuts and Almonds on the Cardio-Metabolic and Inflammatory Parameters in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. (2018)
The effect of apple vinegar consumption on glycemic indices, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and homocysteine in patients with type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia: A randomized controlled clinical trial. (2019)
Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. (2020) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402177/
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