10 MUST-HAVE FOODS AND DRINKS IN A DIABETIC MEAL PLAN
When you have diabetes, balanced diabetes nutrition becomes key to managing your blood sugar. It’s hard to know, however, which foods you should avoid and which you should target. Here are 10 foods and drinks for a healthy diabetic meal plan that can help keep your numbers in check.
Dals (moong, masoor, arhar) or beans (rajma, channa, lobia or chori) are all low glycemic index foods (GI). This means that since their carbohydrates are gradually released, they’re less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. In fact, one recent study published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics found that eating 50 grams of beans daily for just five days lowered glycemic response by almost 23 percent compared with those who ate white rice.
Try it: Rajma beans or channa in your salad or mashed channa (hummus dip) can accompany lunch or dinner.
While you might think there’s no room in a diabetic meal plan for fruit, think again: an apple a day has its benefits. Apples are low on the glycemic index, so they also manage your blood sugar levels. They’re high in fiber and vitamin C, and to top it all off, apples are a portable, fat-free and easy snack option.
Try it: Toss an apple in your lunch bag or grab one between meals. If you have some time, add cinnamon and bake them for a warm treat.
Diabetes nutrition is incomplete without magnesium-rich crunchy nuts. Magnesium helps your body use its own insulin more effectively. So, include more almonds into your diet — 28 grams (about 23 whole nuts) supplies nearly 20 percent of your daily dose of this blood sugar-balancing mineral. Such nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein and fiber, which are all good for diabetes nutrition.
Try it: For healthy snacking on the go, pack 30 grams of almonds into single-serve containers.
Palak has just 23 calories per cooked cup and is filled with blood sugar-friendly magnesium and fiber. It’s a versatile choice too! Blend it, sauté it, make a raita or sprinkle a generous portion on your salad.
Try it: Toss a heaping handful of baby spinach into your next smoothie or use it in place of lettuce in a salad.
5. Chia Seeds
Losing or managing weight is one of the best things you can do to improve your blood sugar. Chia seeds can help with that. Aside from being packed with fiber, these gems contain protein and provide 18 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium.
Try it: Combine a quarter-cup of chia seeds with one cup of 1 percent or non-fat milk and one-half cup of diced fruit. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.