Diabetes can sneak up on you if left unchecked. And how to keep diabetes in check if not for diet management! A diabetic diet has two simple rules:
- Avoid sugary foods!
- Avoid simple carbs!
So knowing these rules, how do you plan a whole day’s meal plan? It is common knowledge that consuming carbs raise blood sugar levels quickly. Scientific evidence supports that low-carb diets help, not only in diabetes management but also in diabetes remission.
Changing your diet to a low-carb diabetic friendly diet can be a tricky task. To help you navigate these new waters, here is a low-carb diet guide that you can follow:
Go for seed-based flours
Seed-based low-carb flours are an excellent source of fibre that helps reduce blood sugar fluctuations and keeps diabetes in check. In 2021, Banshi S et al evaluated a low-carbohydrate diet using seed-based flour as a replacement for high carbohydrate flour with the inclusion of low carbohydrate food choices for a 12-week period. The study demonstrated a mean HbAic drop at 2.33% with an average weight loss of 9kg along with other metabolic benefits in study participants.
Try to include low-carb flours such as quinoa flour, nuts and oilseeds-based flour, almond flour, coconut flour, etc.
It is important to note that everyone’s tolerance for carbs is different. It is best to consume carbs within personal limits.
Vegetables are loaded with fibres and nutrients. That means including lots of vegetables in your diet is important for diabetics to keep your blood healthy. What vegetables can you eat?
- Include leafy greens such as palak and methi. Methi is highly recommended for diabetic diets. Fun fact: Ayurveda sometimes uses methi seeds to help control diabetes!
- All greens are good! When it comes to diabetes, including green beans, peas, capsicum, gourds, and bhindi, to name a few, in your diet helps control blood sugar fluctuations. The high fibre content slows digestion and evens out blood glucose fluctuations.
Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and corn! They raise your blood glucose levels because of their high carb content.
- Meats prove to be, time and again, a worthy addition to a diabetic diet. The high protein content helps maintain blood glucose levels. Consume meats rich in healthy fats such as chicken, fish, lean meats, and eggs.
- Dairy is an excellent source of whole proteins. Consuming butter, ghee, full cream yoghurt, and soft cheeses like paneer and tofu is recommended on a low-carb diet.
- Pulses are also a fantastic source of protein. However, pulses are a mix of carbs and proteins and hence must be consumed minimally, depending on your carb tolerance.
Try including seed-based flours in your diet for a low-carb, high-protein combination!
Do not forget the fruits!
Fruits! Nature’s natural desserts because every meal deserves a grand finish. Consuming fruits before meals or after exercise is an outstanding practice to ensure little to no rise in blood glucose levels.
Although, for this practice to work, you must include high-fibre fruits such as apples, guavas, pears, plums, avocados, berries such as strawberries, and blueberries, among others.
It is essential to consume only fruits based on your carb tolerance and how it impacts your blood sugar levels.
Avoid high-carb fruits such as bananas, mangoes, melons, cherries, custard apples, and fruit juices.
Remember to monitor your blood sugars to learn about the impact of dietary changes.
Now, you know where to begin with a low-carbohydrate diet. Here is a sample low-carb diet plan for your reference:
*Please note that all low-carb food items are made with low-carb seed-based atta. Buy it here.
After you wake up:
- 1 glass of lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon of soaked methi seeds
- 1 cup of coffee/green tea/buttermilk
- Low-carb dosas with chutney and vegetable sambar (no potatoes or yams)
- OR 1 small cup of vegetable quinoa upma/ Or cauliflower poha
- OR 30g steel-cut oats with soya or coconut milk/ chia pudding
- OR Low-carb vegetable moong dal chilla
- OR low carb bread vegetable sandwich
- OR Scrambled eggs with vegetables
- 1 whole fruit (apple/ pear/ 2-3 moon slices of papaya/ guava)
- OR Handful roasted chana
- Mixed vegetable salad
- chapatis made with low carb atta
- ½ cup fish or chicken curry with methi
- Okra sabzi
- 1 cup sambar with lots of vegetables (no starchy veggies)
- Green tea with zero-calorie sweetener
- OR Black coffee with zero-calorie sweetener
- OR Filter coffee with zero-calorie sweetener
- 1 cup sprouts salad
- OR Handful of berries
- Avocado cucumber salad
- chapatis made with low carb atta
- Soya subzi
- Sauteed cauliflower /cabbage
- ½ cup yoghurt with 1 tsp ground flax seeds
*Note: Snacks are not usually necessary for low carb. Skip snacks if you are not hungry.
And let’s call it a wrap! Congratulations on completing your first day on a low-carb diet!
While no one size fits all, a personalised eating plan considering your overall carbohydrate quality and quantity, prevalent eating patterns, food intolerances and blood sugar response to foods can help improve glycemic control. Consult a low-carb practitioner and a dietician for meal planning.
Mix and match more diabetic-friendly ingredients to make interesting, tasty, and healthy meal combinations!