Have you, as a diabetic, ever felt crestfallen about the ‘limited’ (and perhaps boring!) food choices available to you? “You can’t eat sweets…..” “And you can’t eat XYZ fruits”…. “No rice”…. “And no wheat”….Don’t this… Don’t that… Life can indeed be frustrating!
But here’s the good news: Managing your diabetes doesn't have to mean an end to eating yummy food, or helping yourself to your favorite (dessert) treats! With Artinci to help you, it’s entirely possible for diabetics to still enjoy foods that taste good, and at the same time, stay healthy too.
Today, I'm here to give you the lowdown on the food choices available to you as a diabetic, and also debunk some common myths. No matter what dietary restrictions you might be having, there’s still a multitude of options available. And you can continue to make every food-related decision as thoughtfully and healthily as possible. Here’s a quick overview of how a diabetic diet works and how Artinci can make it easier for you.
The Truth About Diabetic Diets:
Having diabetes can be overwhelming—especially when it comes to figuring out what you should eat and what you shouldn’t. You might have heard people tell you that you can never eat a dessert again, but I'm here to bust that myth—because it just isn't true! The key is always in the moderation and choosing the right kind of dessert!
When it comes to eating well and healthy, there are a few key things that you need to keep in mind:
- First off, carbohydrates play a major role in managing blood sugar levels - so, look for ‘low-GI’ options like whole grains and fruits, whenever possible.
- If you reach for packaged foods, please read the back of the pack for the Ingredients and Nutrition Info, to make sure you are making the right, smart choice.
- Finally, monitoring your portion sizes is super important; measure food, or stick with the recommended portion sizes of your favourite foods, to keep your diabetes under control.
The bottom line is that while there are certain restrictions on what foods you can eat, you don't need to give up desserts completely—as long as you identify what goes into these desserts. Monitor them carefully, and enjoy them in moderation.
Diabetic Meal Plans – What the Experts Say:
There are a few key points that you need to keep in mind, while developing a meal plan. For starters, variety is key - it’s important that you don’t get stuck in a rut, with the same dishes, day after day. For instance, people imagine that to eat healthy is to chomp on massive bowls of salad, every day, but salads alone won’t provide all the essential nutrients required for overall health.
Instead, experts suggest focusing on a balanced diet that includes:
- A variety of nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits
- High-fiber foods such as whole grains (wheat, millets, oats), dals
- Lean proteins such as chicken or seafood; or vegetarian or vegan alternatives (paneer, tofu)
- Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds (almond, sunflower, pumpkin seeds), ghee (limited to 1-2 teaspoons a day)
- Carefully chosen desserts for that occasional treat, those which will not spike your blood sugar. (Don’t just assume that all sugar-free desserts are automatically diabetic-friendly. They are not!)
When you get a good mix of all of these, you will automatically be eating fewer carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates you consume depends on your individual needs and it should be carefully monitored. Working with a nutritionist or dietitian can help you determine how much carbohydrates is appropriate for your lifestyle.
What Foods You Can Enjoy on a Diabetic Diet:
It's no surprise that there are some foods you should avoid on a diabetic diet, like sugary drinks and desserts, maida roti/puri etc., highly processed meats and some fried foods. However, it might surprise you to learn that there are still plenty of delicious and healthy options you can enjoy on a diabetic diet!
For example, lean meats like chicken (without skin), fish, eggs, nuts, dried beans (like rajma) and certain peas are all good sources of protein and ideal for any diabetic diet. High protein foods moderate your blood sugar levels, while providing sustained energy.
Healthy carbohydrates and proteins such as dals, wholegrains (home-made Paneer Parathas), high-fiber fruits (apples or pears); nut-based snacks; high-fiber vegetables (broccoli or spinach) etc. will also offer a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, alongside long-lasting energy. Also, adding ‘good’ fats like coconut oil or olive oil to meals can help keep blood sugar levels in check. The key is to find the right balance.
Here are some meal suggestions - for Breakfast, lunch and dinner:
Breakfast: Oatmeal (avoid processed cereals), boiled eggs, egg bhurji, vegetable omelette, pancakes, dhokla, idli, dosa varieties, chila, sandwich (with wholegrain bread)
Lunch and dinner: Alternate between rice and millets, or rice and rotis made with whole wheat or millet flour. Your plate should have one portion of rice/millets/roti, with 4 portions of dal + fibre rich vegetables.
Maintain regular meal times. Do not skip any meal. Break up the total calories that is right for you, into the different meals of a day. Have an early dinner – at least 3-4 hours before bedtime. Avoid processed and refined foods/oils, at any cost.
How to Choose Healthy Snacks for Diabetics:
Snacking helps you to handle frequent hunger pangs during the day, but you need to be careful about choosing snacks that don't raise your blood sugar. While selecting snacks, take note of the three elements: fat, protein and carbs. Each of these elements plays an important role in helping to regulate your blood sugar levels, throughout the day.
Below are some snack ideas for diabetics. All these contain high protein and low carbohydrates:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Veggie sticks (lightly cooked) with hummus
- Sprouts (cooked)
- Quinoa salad
- Sundal (Cooked legumes, stir-fried and seasoned)
- Tikki (not fried) made of dal/spinach/grated vegetables/paneer
- Roasted Bengal gram (chutney dal) /makhana / rice flakes / peanuts / wheat puff
- Popcorn (home-made)
- Soups (tomato, yellow pumpkin, corn, palak, bitter gourd, ash gourd, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, lentil soup, vegetable soup (Useful tip: Avoid using thickeners like cornflour in soups, as cornflour is a starch that is high on carb)
- Buttermilk (Besides the nutrients present, it keeps you satiated and full for a while)
Tips for choosing your snacks:
- Eat home-made snacks as much as possible
- If packaged, check the ingredients first
- Go for smaller portions (A snack is not a meal!)
- Don’t snack more than 2-3 times a day
- Carbonated beverages are strictly a No
These snack options can help to reduce your cravings and give you more energy throughout the day. Furthermore, they are all packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can benefit your health in many ways.
At Artinci we recognize that living healthily is not only about avoiding a spike in blood sugar levels after eating - it’s also about making sure you get all the nutrients you need, to make you feel your best. All our desserts like sweets, cookies, almond cakes, ice creams, cheesecakes are made with low GI ingredients that are also diabetic-safe, so diabetics can enjoy a guilt-free dessert every once in a while!
Calories and Macros: What Are the Recommended Amounts for Diabetes?
As a diabetic, it's critical to understand the role that calories and macronutrients play in your diet. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, Type-2 diabetics should not consume more than 10% of their daily calories from saturated fat, and should aim to get 55-60% of their total calories from carbohydrates, 12-15% from protein, and the remaining from unsaturated fats. A diet that is low in sugars and high in fiber can help you better maintain your blood sugar levels.
How does this work? While carbohydrates are broken down by the body into simple sugars like glucose (which causes a rise in blood sugar), foods that are high in fiber slow this process down and help keep your blood sugar levels even, throughout the day. Eating low-GI food that releases energy slowly, over a longer period, can also be beneficial.
At Artinci, we use only natural low GI ingredients with low GI natural sweeteners, instead of added sugars or artificial sweeteners, so, our desserts can be enjoyed safely by diabetics. This allows our desserts to also have a lower glycemic index rating, which means it does not cause any unhealthy blood sugar spikes!
Eating healthily and following a diabetes friendly lifestyle doesn't mean you have to miss out on the treats in life! Now, you can enjoy guilt-free moments with Artinci’s delicious diabetic range of food and snacks. Being diabetic shouldn’t mean having to surrender your relationship with food, you can enjoy a balanced, healthy diet, and still find pleasure in your food. So go on, give yourself a break; try Artinci’s guilt-free offerings, and see for yourself how healthy eating can be a truly enjoyable experience.