There is no specific diet that will cure you of diabetes. But the foods you eat will make a difference in managing diabetes, how you feel and how much energy you have.
What is a good diabetic diet to follow?
Here's our recommendations on *healthy diets for diabetes*:
Main Food Groups - Eating from the five main food groups is crucial to have all the nutrients your body needs. Let's go through the benefits of each of these food groups in detail.
1.) Fruits & Vegetables
A huge myth doing the rounds today is that diabetic persons should avoid having fruits. This is completely bogus! Have limited amounts of fruits as they contain sugar, and you are good. Fruits are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They can help you down your boring bowl of oatmeal in minutes, make it look more palatable and satisfy your sweet tooth all in one go.
Vegetables on the other hand provide you with all the essential to stay protected from heart diseases, strokes, high blood pressure and so much more! When you are diabetic get all the protection you need from a rainbow of different vegetables. Try bowls of salad or go the Indian way and make a curry out of cabbage, cauliflower, bhindi and other vegetables.
2.) Starchy Foods
Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, chapattis, naan are all foods high in starch. They contain high amounts of carbohydrate, which is broken down into glucose and used to fuel your energy levels. The problem is that some of these foods have a high glycemic index (GI), meaning they raise your blood sugar levels too quickly to manage.
Instead, opt for foods that are low in GI and are better for people with diabetes. These foods include sweet potato, wholegrain bread, whole-wheat pasta and basmati, brown or wild rice. They are full of fiber and keep you full for longer. If you're trying to reduce your carb intake, cut down on high GI foods. Boil or roast sweet potatoes to enjoy with a sprinkle of black salt or put it in your shakes and smoothies.
3.) Protein Foods
High protein foods such as meat and fish keep your muscles healthy. Avoid red, processed meats as much as possible. Fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardine have high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Have a portion of fish at least once in a week, consumption of meat every single day is not necessary either. Try scrambled eggs, masala fish, or grilled chicken in salads.
4.) Dairy Foods
Dairy Foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt are high in calcium and protein. They are great for your bones, teeth and muscles. When eating dairy products choose lower fat alternatives as these can be quite high in saturated fats. Have a bowl of yogurt, add some berries as a substitute for sugar after meals. Or have a glass of milk before bed, or enjoy some matar paneer on a regular day to get your daily intake of calcium and protein.
5.) Oils & Spreads
We all need some amount of fats in our daily diet to keep our bodies functioning. Avoid high saturated fat as it can lead to heart diseases and stroke. Olive oil, vegetable oil, spreads made from these oils, nut butters made up of almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts are better alternatives for diabetic folks.
How many calories need for diabetic diet?
A balanced meal for diabetics should include a little bit from all these food groups. The calories you need to consume, however, will depend on your age, gender, body weight, etc. You should discuss your meals with your doctor in the next visit and get specific food recommendations for yourself.
Foods that are high in fat, salt & sugar
Run as far away from these as humanly possible. A balanced diet for sugar patient does not need to have any of these. The less you have of these, the better.
You are allowed to indulge your cravings every now and then. So, it also becomes important to know the effect these have on your body. Fatty, sweet and salty foods are high in calories and increase your blood sugar levels rapidly. They are high in cholesterol, so they are not good for your heart either.
Another category you should steer clear of is food labelled ‘low in sugar’, ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diabetic friendly.’ There is no solid evidence that these foods are any better as compared to your regular vanilla cupcakes or ice creams.
How to balance blood sugar with diet?
Make your meals at home. This way you always know what is going in your food, have more control, plus save a lot of money too!
Always check food labels. Food companies will have you confused with their gibberish nonsense, don’t fall for it. Always check what these code words in your ingredient labels are. Additionally, check for nutrition per servings.
Make sauces, jams and spreads at home. Did you know that these contain a ton of preservatives? How else are they going to survive out in the wild?
Try foods and drinks unsweetened. If you absolutely must, replace white sugar with stevia.
We hope these tips will help you live a better, healthier lifestyle. Start making these changes to your diets and tell us how it has worked for you in the comments section below!