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. 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 of diabetes since the pancreas produces at least some insulin but it is normally not enough.
While it is a dangerous disease, understanding how to control diabetes is crucial. 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 Food List
Certain foods help lower blood sugar levels, and this helps them play a major role in controlling diabetes. It is also extremely beneficial to consume foods that play a role in preventing 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. Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are rich in several vitamins and minerals like vitamin C. One study showed that increasing vitamin C intake reduced the fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or 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.
Care must be taken to limit your intake of cassia cinnamon to less than a single teaspoon a day. The presence of coumarin in this type of cinnamon has been linked to health problems at higher doses. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon does not contain much coumarin.
3. Fatty Fish
Salmon, sardines and mackerel are great sources of DHA and EPA, which are omega-3 fatty acids with major heart health benefits. Improving the intake of these fats could particularly benefit diabetics with a higher risk of heart disease.
DHA and EPA help reduce inflammation markers, improve the way the arteries function after meals, and protect the cells lining the blood vessels. Studies have shown that older men and women that eat fatty fish more than 5 times a week for 8 weeks had significant reductions in triglyceride levels and inflammatory markers. They also contain high quality protein that helps you feel full for longer, and increases your metabolic rate.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber, yet contain less digestible carbs. The viscous fiber found in these seeds lowers blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food is moving through the gut and getting absorbed.
Additionally, the fiber present in chia seeds also helps one feel full, and in the process, prevents overeating and unnecessary weight gain. Chia seeds have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
5. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great dairy option for diabetics, given 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. Greek Yogurt contains less carbs than conventional yogurt while also being richer in protein. The high protein content promotes weight loss by helping one feel full for longer and thus, reducing calorie intake.
Flaxseeds contain insoluble fiber made up of lignans, which reduces heart disease risk and improve 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.
Another study suggested that a higher intake of flaxseed can lower the risk of strokes. Their high viscous fiber content helps improve gut health, insulin sensitivity, and the feeling of fullness in the body.
All nuts contain fiber, and are low in digestible fiber, although they may have them in varying levels. Research on various types of nuts has shown that their consumption can reduce inflammation, and lower HbA1c, blood sugar and LDL levels in the body.
One study showed that people with diabetes who included 30 g of walnuts in their daily diet for a whole year lost weight, saw improvements in their body composition, and significantly lowered their insulin levels.
People with type 2 diabetes often have high insulin levels, and this is linked with obesity. Researchers also believe that extremely high insulin levels increases one’s risk of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.
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 less carbs.
Apple cider vinegar tends to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It can also reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 20% when consumed with meals that contain carbs. One study showed that people with poorly controlled diabetes saw a 6% reduction in fasting blood sugar levels when they had two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before sleeping.
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 can also be very effective in reducing blood pressure levels in the body. In addition to that, garlic is also low in calories. A single clove of it contains only 4 calories with just 1 gram of carbs.
Strawberries are rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give them their red colour. 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.
A single cup of strawberries contain 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.
1200 Calorie Diabetic Diet Chart
A proper diabetic meal plan goes a long way in helping control high blood sugar levels. 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.
|6:30 AM||2 tsp methi seeds, soaked|
1 glass of water
|8:30 AM||2 Millet Vegetable Cheela/Dosa1 tsp green chutney|
|11:00 AM||1 glass of buttermilk1 apple|
|1:30 PM||1 cup Mixed Vegetable Salad2 multigrain chapati OR 1 chapati ½ katori brown rice|
1 katori Methi Dal
1 katori Bhindi sabji
|4:30 PM||1 cup Lemon green tea without sugar/honey|
0.25 cup Roasted Chana
|7:30 PM||1 katori sprouts salad|
|8:30 PM||1 cup Mixed vegetable Daliya|
2 tsp Mint curd chutney
2 katori Palak sabji
|10:00 PM||1/2 cup milk without Sugar|
While this works as a general Indian diet chart for diabetic patients, it is important to consult a nutritionist before creating, and following a diet plan for yourself.
Diabetic Diet 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
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. Green peas adds on to the fiber content of the recipe. Also, coriander and capsicum are an important source of vitamins A and C. This dish serves 4, and is the perfect addition to any diabetic diet.
- 1/3 cup yellow moong dal (split yellow gram)
- 1/3 cup toovar (arhar) dal
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
- 1/3 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 6 to 8 curry leaves
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (capsicum, carrots, peas), finely chopped
- 2 tsp oil
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish
1. Cook the dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker till it becomes soft. Now, keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli, ginger garlic paste and sauté them well.
3. Add the vegetables and cook the mixture for 2 minutes.
4. Add the dal, chilly powder and simmer this mixture until the vegetables are cooked.
5. Then, garnish the dish with coriander.
2. Carrot Methi Subzi
An uncommon but healthy combination – carrots are abundant in vitamin A whereas methi has lots of calcium and iron. This dish can go very well with steaming hot phulkas and curds, and serves 4 people.
- 2 cups carrots, cut into cubes
- 2 cups chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- ¾ cup finely chopped onions
- 3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 12 mm. (½ inch) piece ginger, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- 2 tsp coriander (dhania) powder
- 2 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and add the cumin seeds.
2. When they crackle, add the onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Add the fenugreek leaves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the carrots, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and 1 cup of water and mix them well.
5. Cover and cook the mixture over a slow flame till all the moisture has evaporated and the carrots are tender.
6. Serve the dish hot.
3. Sugar-Free Makhana Kheer
Rich in protein and calcium, Makhana or fox-nut combines beautifully with low-fat milk to make a creamy and delicious kheer. Being sugar-free, it is also diabetes-friendly.
- 1 litre low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup makhana (puffed lotus seeds/fox nuts)
- 3-4 dates, chopped finely
- 1 tsp chopped pistachios
- 2 tsp chopped almonds
- 1 tsp green cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1. Dry roast the fox nuts till they become crisp.
2. Cool it and blend coarsely in a grinder or with a rolling pin.
3. Boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan .
4. 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.
5. Add the nuts and spices. Mix, and serve it warm or cold.
4. Grilled Tofu Lettuce/Spinach Sandwich
- 200 gram firm tofu sliced into squares of bread slice size
- 1/4 cup of sesame seed
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 slices of whole-wheat bread toasted
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 small sized onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 6 – 8 lettuce leaves or spinach leaves
- 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1. 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.
2. Preheat the grill pan on medium heat and grease it with a tablespoon of oil. Arrange the tofu
in the hot grill pan. Grill on medium high until the tofu gets a crispy outer covering and turns golden brown on both sides.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Cover with the remaining bread slices and serve warm.
While diabetes can be extremely problematic to one’s health, it can also be brought under control through natural methods. The health risks that come with the disorder can also be avoided by simply following a proper diabetic diet, and eating right.