Create Your Own Diabetic Diet Plan
What we eat highly affects our blood sugar levels. Diabetic diet planning is not as hard as we think. We just have to be aware of the nutritional intake values and make some adjustments in our portions. This content will help you balance the nutrients in your diet to keep blood sugar levels under control and help prevent diabetic complications.
Choose Carbohydrates Wisely In A Diabetic Diet Plan
In the Indian diet, 60% of the calories usually come from carbohydrates. When carbohydrate-rich foods are consumed, they will cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. Hence regulating the carbohydrate intake is the foremost step to keep blood sugar at target. There are 3 types of carbohydrates: starches, sugars, and fibers.
Sugar is found naturally in milk, fruits, honey, and it's also added to processed foods like candies. Starch is found in wheat, oats, whole grains, potatoes, corn, peas, lentils, etc. Sugars and starches raise your blood sugar. Fiber is found in plant-based foods such as brown rice, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and they are not digested or absorbed and help control blood sugar levels.
Prefer complex carbohydrates that increase the blood sugar slowly. They are present in whole grains and vegetables. Include pulses like Bengal gram, green gram, soya bean, etc, which contain complex carbohydrates. Fruits raise blood sugar intermediately, and they can be consumed in moderate amounts, but fruit juices and very sweet fruits must be avoided. Know more about how to take fruits in diabetes.
Stay away from processed carbohydrates such as rawa, maida, and sugary foods such as jelly, jam, etc, as they can cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels. Reduce the consumption of white rice and potato as they can also raise blood sugar quickly.
On average, people with diabetes should get half their calories from carbohydrates. Counting carbohydrates is a meal planning technique, and it helps track how much carbs you eat and puts a limit on each meal to help you achieve target blood sugar levels. This makes managing blood glucose easier and prevents diabetic complications.
Work with a registered dietitian. He/she can teach you how much carbs you can eat and how to calculate the carb intake. They can create a diabetic meal plan based on your activity level and the medicines you eat.
Fats In Diabetic Diet Plan
Though carbohydrates grab significant attention in diabetes management, it's important to balance other nutrients such as fats, vitamins, proteins, etc., in diabetes diet planning. The American diabetes association recommends adding more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats to the diet. These fats help lower bad cholesterol called LDL and keep your heart healthy, and keep you away from diabetic complications.
Examples of these healthy fats are:
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Peanut oil and peanut butter
- Almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Fish (Salmon, sardines, tuna, herring)
- Chia seeds, flax seeds
Though they are healthy fats, they are high in calories. Consume them in limited quantities.
Avoid processed foods such as cookies, chips, and fast-food items as they may contain trans-fat, which significantly increases blood cholesterol. Limit full-fat cheese, ice cream, whole milk, butter, poultry skin, palm oil, and coconut oil as they contain saturated fats.
Protein is a major nutrient that builds muscles, skin, bones and regulates body processes. It approximately accounts for one-sixth of our total body weight. Proteins lengthen the digestion time and help the blood sugar levels stay stable. In choosing a protein food for a diabetic meal plan, we should consider how much fat or carbohydrate they contain.
Limit the intake of red meat (lamb, pork, beef, and veal) as they are often higher in saturated fats, which is harmful to health.
Prefer plant-based protein foods. They offer quality protein along with fiber and healthy fats. Include beans, lentils, soy, peas, and nuts in your diet. Include fish, seafood and egg whites 2 times a week. Prefer skinless chicken or turkey as they have less cholesterol.
Diabetes Plate Method: Easy Way To Create Healthy Meals
This method gives a healthy balance of required nutrients, and it is very simple. Grab a medium-sized plate that is about 20 to 25 cm across.
- Fill the half plate with dishes or side-dishes made with non-starchy vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, brussels sprouts, beans, peas, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.)
- Fill one-quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods such as brown rice, potato, pumpkin, pasta, oats, fruits, etc
- Fill another quarter of your plate with protein foods such as chicken, egg, fish, beans, nuts, etc.
- Finally, choose water or low-calorie drinks such as unsweetened tea or coffee to add to your meal plate.
When eating a combination food such as pizza, sandwiches, etc., this method looks not so easy. But you can still use it in preparing and portioning the combination food. Just think where would the different types of food present in a dish fit on a plate and use the right proportions.
Here Is A Sample Menu For Diabetes:
- Breakfast: Vegetable stuffed roti or chapati/ vegetable oats or upma/ one egg with one-two whole-wheat toast with grilled vegetables and a cup of unsweetened coffee or tea or low-fat milk
- Mid-morning snack: A cup of green tea and handful of roasted chana/ a whole low glycaemic fruit (apple, orange, guava)
- Lunch: 1-2 chapatis with barley, vegetables, one bowl of dal or chicken and curd/ One bowl of salad (tomato/cucumber), half a bowl of brown rice, one bowl of vegetables and one bowl of dal or fish
- Evening snack: Roasted bajra, chana, or jowar/ whole fruit/ one cup of curd
- Dinner: One big bowl of vegetable oats with soup/ one bowl of salad with multigrain roti and one bowl of dal or curd
Some Basic Tips To Follow:
- Avoid skipping meals. Try to have them at the same time every day. Skipping meals may lead to blood sugar lows.
- Limit adding salts while eating and salty foods such as papads and pickles. Diabetic people are more likely to get high blood pressure from salt intake.
- When eating snacks, don’t eat straight from the box or bag. Transfer it into the plate or cup so you would be aware of portion size.
- Use non-stick pans and spoon off the excess oil in fried foods.
The Bottom Line In Diabetic Diet Planning:
If you find it hard to plan meals, ask your physician to recommend a dietitian. A dietitian will help figure out a diabetic meal plan that works for you. If you need to lose weight or have any other health conditions, your dietitian will recommend a meal plan that fits your special needs. Develop a routine with healthy eating habits and stay away from diabetes and its complications.