Diabetic Diet : Food List, Diet plan and Diabetic Diet Recipes

Certain foods help lower blood sugar levels, and this helps them play a major role in controlling diabetes. It is also extremely beneficial to consume foods that play a role in preventing diabetes complications like heart and kidney diseases. These 10 diabetic diet foods can play a major role in bringing the disorder under control.

1. Leafy Greens

green leafy vegetables

Diabetic Diet


Green, leafy vegetables are low in calories, while also being extremely nutritious. Being low in digestible carbs means that they play a major role in controlling blood sugar levels too. Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in several vitamins and minerals like vitamin C. One study showed that increasing vitamin C intake reduced the fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure levels.

2. Cinnamon

Along with its strong antioxidant properties, cinnamon is also known for its ability to control diabetes. According to several controlled studies, cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity as well.

Care must be taken to limit your intake of cassia cinnamon to less than a single teaspoon a day. The presence of coumarin in this type of cinnamon has been linked to health problems at higher doses. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon does not contain much coumarin.

3. Fatty Fish

Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of DHA and EPA, which are omega-3 fatty acids with major heart health benefits. Improving the intake of these fats could particularly benefit diabetics with a higher risk of heart disease.

DHA and EPA help reduce inflammation markers, improve the way the arteries function after meals and protect the cells lining the blood vessels. Studies have shown that older men and women that eat fatty fish more than 5 times a week for 8 weeks had significant reductions in triglyceride levels and inflammatory markers. They also contain high-quality protein that helps you feel full for longer and increases your metabolic rate.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber, yet contain less digestible carbs. The viscous fiber found in these seeds lowers blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food is moving through the gut and getting absorbed.

chia seeds

Diabetic Diet


Additionally, the fiber present in chia seeds also helps one feel full, and in the process, prevents overeating and unnecessary weight gain. Chia seeds have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a great dairy option for diabetics, given its ability to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is partly due to the presence of probiotics in them.

Studies have also found that yogurt and other dairy products can result in weight loss and better body composition among people with type 2 diabetes. Greek Yogurt contains fewer carbs than conventional yogurt, while also being richer in protein. The high protein content promotes weight loss by helping one feel full for longer and thus reducing calorie intake.

6. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain insoluble fiber made up of lignans, which reduces heart disease risk and improves blood sugar control. A study showed that people with type 2 diabetes that consumed flaxseed lignans for 12 weeks experienced a major improvement in hemoglobin A1c.

Another study suggested that a higher intake of flaxseed can lower the risk of strokes. Their high viscous fiber content helps improve gut health, insulin sensitivity, and the feeling of fullness in the body.

7. Nuts

All nuts contain fiber, and are low in digestible fiber, although they may have them in varying levels. Research on various types of nuts has shown that their consumption can reduce inflammation, and lower HbA1c, blood sugar, and LDL levels in the body.

One study showed that people with diabetes who included 30 g of walnuts in their daily diet for a whole year lost weight, saw improvements in their body composition, and significantly lowered their insulin levels.

People with type 2 diabetes often have high insulin levels, and this is linked with obesity. Researchers also believe that extremely high insulin levels increase one’s risk of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Although it’s made from apples, the sugar content in the fruit is fermented into acetic acid, with the resulting product containing very few carbs.

Apple cider vinegar tends to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It can also reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 20% when consumed with meals that contain carbs. One study showed that people with poorly controlled diabetes saw a 6% reduction in fasting blood sugar levels when they had two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before sleeping.

9. Garlic

Garlic is known to have some impressive health benefits. Some studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation, blood sugar, and LDL levels in people that have type 2 diabetes. It can also be very effective in reducing blood pressure levels in the body. In addition to that, garlic is also low in calories. A single clove contains only 4 calories with just 1 gram of carbs.

10. Strawberries

Strawberries are rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give them their red color. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce insulin and cholesterol levels right after a meal. They also reduce the risk of increased blood sugar levels and heart diseases in type 2 diabetes patients.

strawberries

Diabetic Diet


A single cup of strawberries contains 49 calories and only 11 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. This serving also ensures that one gets more than 100% of their required daily intake of vitamin C, thus providing additional anti-inflammatory benefits for heart health.

1200 Calorie Diabetic Diet Chart

A proper diabetic meal plan goes a long way in helping control high blood sugar levels. We have put together a 1200 calorie Indian diabetic diet plan to help you understand how you can plan your meals in order to bring diabetes under control.

TimeMeal
6:30 AMMethi seeds – 2 tsp (soaked)

Water – 1 glass

8:30 AM

Millet Vegetable Cheela/Dosa – 2

Green chutney – 1 tsp

11:00 AM

Buttermilk – 1 glass

Apple – 1

1:30 PM

Mixed Vegetable Salad – 1 cup

Multigrain chapati – 2

OR

Chapati – 1  & Brown rice – ½ katori

Methi Dal – 1 katori

Bhindi sabji – 1 katori

4:30 PMLemon green tea without sugar/honey – 1 cup

Roasted Chana – 0.25 cup 

7:30 PMSprouts salad – 1 katori
8:30 PMMixed vegetable Daliya – 1 cup

Mint curd chutney – 2 tsp 

OR

Chapati – 1

Palak sabji – 2 katori

10:00 PMMilk without Sugar – 1/2 cup

While this works as a general Indian diet chart for diabetic patients, it is important to consult a nutritionist before creating and following a diet plan for yourself.

Diabetic Diet Recipes

It is important to maintain a low carb and sugar intake for individuals with diabetes. The following recipes are diabetes-friendly while also being a treat to the taste buds. Try some of these diabetic diet recipes today.

1. Subzi Dal

Have this nutritious dal along with Rotis as the combination of dals with vegetables makes it extremely rich in energy, protein, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Green peas add to the fiber content of the recipe. Also, coriander and capsicum are important sources of vitamins A and C. This dish serves 4 and is the perfect addition to any diabetic diet.

Ingredients:

  • Yellow moong dal (split yellow gram) – 1/3 cup 
  • Toovar (arhar) dal – 1/3 cup 
  • Mustard seeds (rai) – 1/2 tsp 
  • masoor dal (split red lentils) – 1/3 cup 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1/2 tsp 
  • Curry leaves – 6 to 8 
  • asafoetida (hing) – 1/4 tsp 
  • Green chilli – 1 (chopped)
  • onion – 1 (chopped)
  • Ginger-green chili paste – 2 tsp 
  • Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp 
  • Large tomato – 1 (finely chopped)
  • Chili powder – 1/2 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder (haldi) – 1/2 tsp 
  • Mixed vegetables (capsicum, carrots, peas) 1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Oil – 2 tsp 
  • salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish – 2 tbsp 

Method:

1. Cook the dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker until it becomes soft and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chili, ginger & garlic paste, and sauté them well.
3. Add the vegetables and cook the mixture for 2 minutes.
4. Add the dal, chilly powder, and simmer this mixture until the vegetables are cooked.
5. Then, garnish the dish with coriander.

2. Carrot Methi Subzi

An uncommon but healthy combination – carrots are abundant in vitamin A whereas methi has lots of calcium and iron. This dish can go very well with steaming hot phulkas and curds and serves 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • Carrots – 2 cups (cut into cubes)
  • Fenugreek (methi) leaves – 2 cups (chopped) 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) – ½ tsp 
  • Onions – ¾ cup (finely chopped)
  • Green chillies – 3 (finely chopped)
  • Large clove of garlic –  1 (finely chopped)
  • Ginger – ½ inch (finely chopped)
  • Turmeric powder (haldi) – ¼ tsp 
  • Coriander (dhania) powder – 2 tsp 
  • Oil – 2 tsp 
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and add the cumin seeds.
2. once they crackle, add the onions, green chilies, garlic & ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Add the fenugreek leaves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the carrots, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt, 1 cup of water, and mix them well.
5. Cover and cook the mixture over a slow flame until all the moisture has evaporated and the carrots are tender.
6. Serve the dish hot.

3. Sugar-Free Makhana Kheer

Rich in protein and calcium, Makhana or fox-nut combines beautifully with low-fat milk to make a creamy and delicious kheer. Being sugar-free, it is also diabetes-friendly.

Ingredients:

  • Low-fat milk – 1 litre 
  • Makhana (puffed lotus seeds/fox nuts) – 1/4 cup 
  • Dates – 3-4 (finely chopped)
  • Chopped pistachios – 1 tsp 
  • Chopped almonds – 2 tsp 
  • Green cardamom powder – 1 tsp 
  • Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp 

Preparation:

1. Dry roast the fox nuts till they become crisp.
2. Cool it and blend coarsely in a grinder or with a rolling pin.
3. Boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan.
4. Once the milk boils, add the dates and coarsely crushed lotus seeds. Mix them well and cook on a medium flame for 2-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
5. Add the nuts and spices. Mix and serve it warm or cold.

4. Grilled Tofu Lettuce/Spinach Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu sliced into squares of bread slice size – 200 gram 
  • Sesame seed – 1/4 cup 
  • Dijon mustard – 1 tablespoon 
  • Olive oil – 2 tsp 
  • Whole-wheat bread toasted – 4 slices 
  • Tomato – 1 (thinly sliced)
  • Small sized onion – 1 (thinly sliced into rings)
  • Lettuce leaves or spinach leaves – 6 – 8 
  • Tabasco sauce (optional) – 1 teaspoon 
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. To begin making the Grilled Tofu Spinach Sandwich, in a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt. Toss the tofu in the mustard and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to marinate or place it in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  2. Preheat the grill pan on medium heat and grease it with a tablespoon of oil. Arrange the tofu in the hot grill pan. Grill on medium-high until the tofu gets a crispy outer covering and turns golden brown on both sides.
  3. Toast each of the bread slices in a toaster until it becomes brown and crisp. You can also use an iron skillet to toast them.
  4. Evenly place the tomato slices, onion rings, and spinach or lettuce leaves on the bread slices.
  5. Place the grilled tofu on the bread slices and drizzle some tabasco sauce and dijon mustard on the sandwich.
  6. Cover with the remaining bread slices and serve warm.

While diabetes can be extremely problematic to one’s health, it can also be brought under control through natural methods. The health risks that come with the disorder can also be avoided by simply following a proper diabetic diet, and eating right.

Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio Dr. Rohit Bhaskar, Physio is Founder of Bhaskar Health and Physiotherapy and is also a consulting physiotherapist. He completed his Graduation in Physiotherapy from Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences. His clinical interests are in Chest Physiotherapy, stroke rehab, parkinson’s and head injury rehab. Bhaskar Health is dedicated to readers, doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Bhaskar Health audience is the reason I feel so passionate about this project, so thanks for reading and sharing Bhaskar Health.

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