Eating for diabetes does not imply that you have to go totally sugar free.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing that crosses your mind is all the sweet foods you will have to miss. On the contrary, eating for diabetes does not imply that you have to go totally sugar free. You may enjoy a small portion of your favourite cake once in a while. It is all about balancing your diet.
How to balance your diet in diabetes?
Basically you have to plan your meals in a way that suits your daily routine and eating habits. There are 2 ways of doing it:
The Plate Method: Here you divide your plate into 1 big and 2 small imaginary sections:
-Put the biggest section for non starchy foods like green veggies and salads that include spinach, beans, cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, cauliflower, mushroom, carrot, radish etc.
-In one small section put all the protein rich foods. It can include low fat cottage cheese, sprouts, tofu, fish, eggs, sea food etc.
-In the other small section you can put starchy foods and grains. Whole grain breads, cereals, rice, pulses, pasta, oatmeal, potato, sweet potato, lima beans, corn, popcorn etc.
-You may add one serving of fruit and a drink with minimal calories like water, lemon water/ tea / coffee without sugar.
The Carb Counting Method: It is also called as the carbohydrate counting method. It implies that you keep a tab on how much carbohydrate you are consuming in every meal. This technique helps manage your blood glucose levels.
-How much carbs you should eat depends on how active you are during the day and what medicines you take for diabetes.
-The amount of carbohydrate intake varies from person to person. Consult your doctor for best advice.
-Normally 45-60 grams of carbs in a meal are suggested. You may go for less or more as per your health status.
What foods can you eat in diabetes?
Diabetes does not mean that you have to survive on bland food for life. You may eat any healthy and tasty food. Here is a list of foods you can go for without raising your blood sugar levels:
- Eat foods high in fibre content as they release carbohydrates slowly. They give you lots of energy boost and keep you full for a long time. Also they prevent sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Brown rice, bran flakes, leafy greens, whole grain bread, rolled oats are great choices in this category.
- Choose non- starchy foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, fresh fruits like apple, pear, papaya, orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, berries, peach, guava etc. They are low in gylcemic index and prevent blood sugar levels from shooting up drastically.
- Eliminate refined food items from your diet. Products made with white flour like pasta, bakery items, canned foods and preserved foods should be avoided.
- Add protein to your meals. Cottage cheese, tofu, fish like sardine and tuna, beans etc. are great sources of protein.
- If you have a sweet tooth, go for smaller portions of your favourite dessert. Add sugar to the eatables yourself while cooking. Reduce the quantity of sugar used. For eg. Instead of 1 tsp put 1/3 tsp of sugar in your coffee. Add cinnamon, vanilla essence etc.
- Use olive oil for cooking. Instead of frying you can bake, grill or broil the food.
- Eat 5-6 meals in a day. Keep a food diary to keep count of total calorie intake. Experiment with oil free and yummy recipes with lots of fibre.
Plan your meals well. Enjoy your life and stay healthy.