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Meal planning for diabetes management

Although diabetes is a chronic condition, it is possible for diabetics to lead normal lives by controlling their blood sugar levels with nutritious diet, stress reduction, regular exercise and proper medication. Planning a healthy and nutritious diet is critical to keep blood sugar levels in check.

The Nutrition Therapy for Adults With Diabetes or Prediabetes: A Consensus Report[1] says, “Strong evidence supports the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of nutrition therapy as a component of quality diabetes care, including its integration into the medical management of diabetes.” Research provides clarity on many food choices and eating patterns that can help people achieve health goals and quality of life. 

One should avoid the common misconception that diabetes precludes all kinds of food. The emphasis should be on choosing the right kinds of food. The right food choices comprise striking a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This often helps manage blood sugar levels, improve blood cholesterol, and keep you in a healthy weight range. It is important to consume low GI (Glycemic Index) foods (GI is an indicator, which tells us how quickly a specific amount of particular food will raise blood sugar levels)[2]. It is also relevant to understand that everyone’s body responds differently to different types of foods and diets. Hence, finding a ‘one size fits all’ answer may be difficult but some general guidance can definitely help.

There are a few factors one can keep in mind while planning meals for diabetics in India  –

  1. Given our hectic schedules, one tends to pick up easiest meal options. Spend time to plan and keep handy some nutritious and easy recipes. Eat judiciously but regularly (without long breaks in between)
  2. Create an appropriate meal plan keeping in mind your lifestyle and taste buds.
  3. Identify diabetes superfoods like citrus foods, nuts etc. and incorporate them in your daily diet
  4. Choose foods with less added sugar or salt and that is less processed. Whole grains like oats etc. are excellent choices. 
  5. Load up on fruits, vegetables, lean meat and high sources of proteins, vitamins and minerals.  
  6. Opt for healthier cooking options like boiling, grilling, roasting and baking.
  7. Use herbs, spices, garlic and other garnishing to enhance flavour of food while keeping it healthy.

My mother, a long time diabetic, in addition to following some of the above tips also regularly practices yoga and meditation to control her food cravings and introduce an element of physical and mental fitness.

One can also include Ensure Diabetes Care in their diet to keep blood sugar levels under control. Ensure Diabetes Care by Abbott is a diabetes specific formula which helps control blood sugar levels. It is scientifically formulated with slow release energy system to manage blood glucose levels and support weight management. It also helps build muscle mass and protects heart and digestive health. [3]

Given India’s diversity, planning meals for diabetics in India while challenging can also be fun and the menu has many healthy choices. In conclusion, diet management includes a lot of lifestyle management – and healthy, informed choices like Ensure Diabetes Care can make a big difference.

 

References:
[1] https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/42/5/731
[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/glycemic-index-diet/art-20048478#:~:text=Low%20GI%20%3A%20Green%20vegetables%2C%20most,rice%2C%20white%20bread%20and%20potatoes
[3] https://ensureindia.in/diabetes-care/ensure-diabetes-care

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