Indian cuisine is a harmonious combination of endless dishes, one tastier than the other. Most of our meals include rotis, sabzi, rice, and daal. And let’s not forget the most loved course of all - dessert!
But when it comes to diabetes, do our traditional meals aggravate the situation further?
Let’s unravel our meals to see the best and worst possible foods for diabetes!
Before we begin, here are some fundamentals of a diabetic diet:
- Consuming excessive amounts of dietary carbohydrates can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are most abundant and are found in a wide variety of foods such as cereals, wheat flour, vegetables, whole fruits and juices, lentils- refined grains, dairy products, etc. Since carbohydrates cause blood sugars to rise more than any other macronutrient, it deserves careful consideration in a diabetic friendly diet.
- Wheat flour, refined flour and their products are significant sources of carbohydrates. You can opt for low-carb, seed-based flours for your daily use. Buy it here.
- Sugar, as is well known, must be avoided in diabetic diets. It includes beverages sweetened with sugar, honey, syrup, fruits with high sugar content, and fruit juices.
- Food combinations that include a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein in your meals are recommended for diabetes management. Food items like paneer, tofu, green vegetables, gourds, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage are great additions.
- Fruits with lower sugar content and glycemic index are a plus. Try including apples, guavas, pears, papaya, olives and berries in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables aside, the Indian diet has so many more components. Each ingredient has the potential to affect your blood sugar levels differently. So, according to us, here are the 5 best dishes and 5 Indian dishes to avoid on a diabetic diet.
Best Indian Dishes
This savoury dish made with whole oats, onions, ginger, chillies, and lots of vegetables is the epitome of what a diabetes meal should be. This meal contains plenty of soluble fibres and a surplus of minerals, thus making it the perfect breakfast option. Click here for the recipe.
Raw moong salad
Sprouts are one of the best items to include in a diet when you're diabetic. They are light and healthy, have a low GI, and are full of fibre. A quick Moong salad with veggies and some seasoning makes not only a healthy but also a tasty diabetic-friendly meal. Check out this masala moong salad recipe.
As Popeye has taught us, spinach is a superfood that makes you stronger. And we 100% agree with that.
Palak has outstanding health benefits for diabetes. It is non-starchy, high in fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals, and has a low glycemic index. These properties of palak make it the perfect ingredient for a diabetic diet.
Paneer is high in protein, which makes it the perfect match for spinach. Together, palak and paneer form a delicious, high fibre and low GI meal.
Click here for the recipe.
Chicken can be a welcome addition to diets for diabetics because of its high protein content. Since chicken has little fat content, it is preferred over red meats as it does not increase cholesterol. Making a simple chicken curry with low-carb rotis makes a tasty and filling meal suitable for diabetic diets. Click here for the recipe.
- Tandoori Fish
Fish is rich in healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids. It improves blood health by reducing cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy. With its substantial protein content, fish is an excellent addition to your diet. Here is a healthy and tasty Tandoori fish recipe you can try out.
Indian Dishes To Avoid
Yes, our most beloved tea-time snack is not diabetic-friendly. Samosas are made with refined wheat flour. This puts it in the high GI foods category. The stuffing of samosa is predominantly potatoes. Potatoes, being a highly starchy vegetable, also contribute to making samosa a high-carb snack.
And finally, samosas are deep-fried in oil. It significantly increases your blood cholesterol levels and calorie intake. Overall, the cons outweigh the pros. However, by tweaking the traditional recipe and giving it a healthy spin, you can transform samosas into a healthy snack. Click here for the recipe.
- Sabudana Khichdi
Another favourite item that’s not diabetic-friendly! Sabudana has low fibre content and is considered a high-carb food. With a glycemic index of 67, sabudana causes critical blood sugar fluctuations and is not a diabetic-friendly ingredient.
This traditional south-Indian delicacy is made with rice and so has a high starch, carb, and calorie content. Idlis has a glycemic index of 80, which is too high to be included in a diabetic diet. Hence idli too is not a diabetic-friendly meal.
- Sooji/ Rava
Although it is one of the most frequently used ingredients in Indian cuisine, sooji is not a diabetic-friendly addition. Semolina has a glycemic index of 66, which puts it in a grey area for a diabetic diet. Sooji can be enjoyed in combination with vegetables, but it must be consumed sparingly based on your tolerance levels.
The main ingredient of Tikki - potatoes, puts it in a high-carb food category. Since tikkis are deep-fried, they have a high-calorie content and contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels. Although, new healthy recipes have been developed to make tikkis more diabetic-friendly by the addition of gourds and cauliflower. Click here for the recipe.
Indian cuisine is a mixture of different cultures and traditions. Most items are or can be made diabetes-friendly with minor modifications to the recipes. If you pay attention to what you eat and consume everything in moderation, your diet can be healthy and fun!