When you are a diabetic, you will often be advised to eat healthy. But this advice leads to
questions like: what all is allowed? What should you avoid? How much can you eat and when?
Do you have to change your whole diet because you are now living with diabetes?
When my father was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was overwhelmed with all these questions.
After some research and a few consultations, I realized that following a Diabetes Plate Method
is one effective way to eat consciously, stay healthy and live better with diabetes.
Diabetes Plate Method in India:
Diabetes Plate Method is one easy way of meal planning in which you lay your plate in order to
self-manage your diabetes by eating right and in a controlled manner.
According to the experts, everything you eat has an effect on your blood sugar. Therefore,
conscious eating is a must. But calculating portion sizes, counting calories, measuring and
weighing your food items can be very tedious. Following a Plate Method is a much easier
option, all we need plate.
Divide your 9-inch dinner plate in the following manner :
1. Non-Starchy Vegetables:
Fill half plate with non-starchy vegetables
Non starchy vegetables contain plenty of minerals, vitamins and important nutrients.
They are lower in calories and carbohydrates and therefore they do not spike up the
blood sugar too much.
Some examples of non-starchy vegetables available in India are:
Bitter gourd (karela), sponge gourd (ghiya tori), fenugreek (methi), broccoli, cauliflower,
cabbage, spinach, beans, capsicums, beet roots, garlic, onions, tomatoes, cucumber,
lettuce, eggplant, mushrooms, turnips, etc.
2. Lean Protein:
Fill one quarter of your plate with lean proteins
Lean Proteins are rich in proteins and lower in fat. They keep the body full for longer and
help in maintaining the blood sugar balance.
Fish, eggs, chicken breasts, lean red meat are easily available sources of animal-based
lean proteins available in India.
Vegetarian lean protein options include lentils, legumes, soy, tofu.
Lentils are a staple ingredient in Indian diet. Lentils like moong dal (split green gram),
urad dal (black gram), masoor dal (split red lentil) are high in proteins and low in fats
A small bowl of dal is an excellent fit for this quarter of your plate.
3. Carbohydrate Foods:
Fill one quarter of your plate with carbohydrates
If you are eating Indian food, this quarter of your plate can include your wheat chapati,
rice, yogurt, fruit, dry fruits, milk, soy milk or any starchy vegetable.
Limiting the carbohydrates to one small quarter of your plate can definitely help in
controlling the blood sugar from spiking too high after meals.
A few other examples of carbohydrate food options include: Whole grains like oats, pasta,
breads, brown rice, broken wheat (bulgar), quinoa.
Starchy vegetables like sweet potato, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, green peas, plantains.
4. Water/low-calorie drinks/drinks that can help you
To go along with healthy, wholesome plate, you can choose a low-calorie drink. Water is ideally
the best choice. Water contains no calories or carbohydrates and has no effect on blood sugar.
Unsweetened tea or coffee can also be taken.
To further balance out the sugar levels, you can consider drinks that help in controlling blood
sugar levels. My father likes taking bitter gourd juice once in a while. One of his favorites is
Ensure Diabetes Care in his glass of water. It is a scientifically formulated supplement with a
low glycemic index, is tasty (we use the vanilla flavor), and helps in managing blood glucose.
Taking unsweetened lemon water is also a good idea. Sprinkling lemon on your food helps in
reducing its glycemic index.
We have been following the Diabetic Plate Method in our house for some time now. It has now
become a lifestyle. If you have diabetes or you are a caretaker you should definitely consider
planning your meals in this way.
Stay Happy and Healthy!