Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you to manage your blood sugar.
To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat is all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your doctor recommends.
What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
You can eat your favourite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often.
Interestingly, our traditional Indian diets, with slight modification, are close to what is now considered as ideal diabetic diets!
You do not have to make any major changes in your usual dietary habits, with the exception of avoiding simple sugars and adjusting the fat intake.
Ask your doctor or dietician to help you create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.
Basic Diet Advice: AVOID simple carbohydrates like sugar, sweets, jaggery, honey, etc., as they tend to cause a sharp rise in the blood glucose levels.
Total Calories: Total calories allowed to an individual will depend on the present weight and activity level.
Usually, the prescribed diet should contain 30 calories/kg for optimal body weight. The total calorie requirement should also take into account the activity levels of the patient, as well as special circumstances like pregnancy and lactation, etc.
The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups as per your meal plan
The Food Groups Are
Non starchy: you can add more non starchy vegetables like leafy veggies, broccoli, Carrots and Tomatoes etc.
Starchy: Reduce the consumption of starchy veggies like potatoes, corn, and green peas
Regularly take oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes as per your meal plan
At least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley etc.
Take sufficient proteins from
- Lean Meat
- Chicken without the Skin
- Nuts and Peanuts
- Dried Beans and Certain Peas
Take only non-fat or low-fat Milk, Yogurt, cheese
Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel
What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?
Following Foods you can limit
- Fried foods and other foods which are high in saturated fat and trans fat
- Foods high in salt, also called sodium
- Sweets, baked foods, candy, and ice-cream
- Beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks
- Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.
- Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.
- If you drink alcohol, drink moderately not more than one drink a day if you're a woman or two drinks a day if you're a man.
- Alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low. It's best to eat some food when you drink alcohol.
When should I eat if I have diabetes?
- Depending on your diabetes medicines or type of insulin, you may need to eat the same amount of food at the same time every day.
- It's ideal to take smaller portions of food 5-6 times a day instead of 2-3 times
How much can I eat if I have diabetes?
Eating the right amount of food will also help you manage your blood glucose level and your weight. Your doctor can help you figure out how much food and how many calories you should eat each day.
Meal Plan Methods
Plate method is the most common way to help you plan, how much to eat if you have diabetes.
- The plate method helps you control your portion sizes. You don't need to count calories. The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat. This method works best for lunch and dinner.
- Use a 9-inch plate. Put non-starchy vegetables on half of the plate; a meat or other protein on one-fourth of the plate; and a grain like Rice, Roti or other starch on the last one-fourth. You also may eat a small bowl of fruit or a piece of fruit, and drink a small glass of milk along with this meal plan
- The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat.
- Your daily eating plan also may include small snacks between meals.
- You can use everyday objects or your hand to judge the size of a portion.
- 1 serving of meat or poultry is the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
- 1 3-ounce serving of fish is a check book
- ½ cup of cooked rice is a rounded handful or a tennis ball