If you are diabetic, you might often get stuck with limited food options. But here’s the thing: nothing is off limits as long as you can manage your portions. Diabetes Mellitus patients have trouble maintaining normal levels of blood sugar. This can be fatal if not well taken care of. A diabetic diet is simply a diet that will help you keep your high blood sugar under control. Your food choices contribute majorly to keeping your diabetes in check. So stick to the best options.
What is a Diabetic Diet?
A diabetic diet typically focuses on controlling one’s intake of carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose in the body and can cause high levels of sugar. This diet focuses on providing one with all the necessary nutrients such as protein, fat, limited carbs, and fibers without causing a spike in the glucose present in the body.
Diabetic Diet Food List
Here is a list of foods best for a diabetic diet.
- Non-Starchy Vegetables – This low in carbohydrates, high-in-fiber, nutrient-packed food option is the best for diabetes patients. leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots, asparagus, bell peppers, and mushrooms are some examples you can try.
- Low Glycemic Index Fruits – Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries; citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits; apples, pears, and kiwis are excellent choices for fruits. They are slowly absorbed by the body. As a result, these fruits do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
- Whole grains – Whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and barley are some options that fall under this category. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel. This includes the bran, germ, and endosperm, which provide fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and many more important nutrients. Research has shown that the consumption of whole grains can improve blood sugar control in diabetic patients.
- Lean Protein Sources – Protein is more satiating and nutrient-dense compared to fat and carbohydrates. Incorporating lean protein sources, e.g. – chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, etc. is a great way to balance one’s meals in a diabetic diet.
- Low Fat Dairy Products – Dairy products are definitely not the best options for someone with diabetes. However, low-fat, low-sugar dairy products, such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat buttermilk, and reduced-fat cheese can be included in a diabetic diet in limited amounts. Certain low-fat dairy products can still contain saturated fat and added sugar so be sure to check the labels before trying them.
Foods To Avoid In Diabetes
Certain foods are a big no-no for diabetes patients. Here is a detailed list.
- Sugary Drinks – Even though it might be quite obvious, there are plenty of people who can’t resist the temptation of sugary drinks. These are high in sugar and fat with negligible nutritional value. As a result, they can cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. Instead coconut water, unsweetened tea or coffee, flavored seltzer water, and low-sweet fruit juice are some alternatives you can go for.
- Processed Snacks – Processed snacks are the last thing you should have if you have diabetes and if you don’t then avoid them to not get diabetes in the future. Added sugars, refined carbohydrates, transfats, high levels of sodium, and artificial colors are some common ingredients in processed snacks like chips, crackers, and snack cakes. In case you are craving some snacks, look for ones made from whole, nutrient-dense ingredients such as fruits, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.
- High-Fat Animal Products – Red meat or high-fat animal products are rich in saturated fat and consuming them can result in rising bad cholesterol levels. As the name suggests they are high in fat and thus can contribute to severe weight gain over time. High-fat animal products have also been shown to contribute to inflammation in the body and exacerbate type two diabetes.
- Refined Carbohydrates – Refined carbs are carbohydrates stripped of the bran and the germ leaving only the endosperm. This process removes most of the important nutrients and results in a product that is quickly broken down into glucose. This simply means just like all other forbidden foods in a diabetic diet, this one also causes a spike in blood sugar levels.
Diabetic Diet Plans
Here are some diabetic diet meal plans. Feel free to experiment and customize the plan that best suits you. And of course, don’t just stick to one single plan. Pick out a few to plan for alternate days so that it doesn’t get monotonous quickly.
|i) A small bowl of berries
ii) 1 slice of whole grain bread toast with peanut butter
iii) A cup of unsweetened tea
|i) 1 small handful of almonds
ii) Raw vegetables with hummus
|i) 2 cups of mixed greens
ii) ¼ sliced avocado
iii) 1 portion of grilled chicken
|i) Air-popped popcorn
|i) 4 ounces of broiled salmon
ii) 1 small whole-grain dinner roll
iii) ½ cup cooked quinoa
|i) A small apple
ii) 1 cup of skim milk
|i) Low-carb protein bars
ii) Roasted Chickpeas
|i) Boiled shrimp with a spinach salad and low-fat dressing
ii) Lentil soup
|i) Hard-boiled eggs
|i) Eggplant curry
ii) Mixed vegetable dal
|i) Greek yogurt with mixed nuts
ii) One whole-grain toast
|i) Baby carrots with guacamole
ii) Cottage cheese with fresh fruits
|i) Stir-fried vegetables
iii) Brown rice
|i) Rice cake
ii) Baked sweet potato chips
|i) Spinach and cottage cheese curry
ii) Mixed vegetable curry
iii) 2 rotis
Diabetic Diet Recipes
A diabetic diet can feel like a lot of work to maintain at times. However, there are some easy-to-do recipes you can try at home even as a beginner at cooking.
Baked chicken breast with mixed vegetables
- 1 boneless chicken breast.
- ½ cup of mixed vegetables.
- ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
- A pinch of salt and pepper.
- ¼ tablespoon of dried thyme.
- Preheat the oven to 3750 F.
- Wash and dry the chicken breast.
- Season both sides with salt, pepper, and dry thyme
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken breast. Cook until lightly browned.
- Wash and chop the vegetables.
- Toss the chopped vegetables in a baking dish and season them with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Place the cooked chicken on top of the vegetables and bake it in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes and your dish is ready to be served.
Pan seared Salmon with lemon and garlic
- 1 salmon fillet.
- ½ clove of minced garlic.
- Sliced lemon.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- ¼ tablespoon olive oil.
- Season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt & pepper.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated add the minced garlic clove and stir cook it for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the seasoned fillets and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. And it’s ready to be served with fresh lemon slices. It barely takes a few minutes to prepare this rich in omega-3 fatty acids dish.
Must read this article 7 foods that spike insulin levels .