Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects an estimated 50 million people in our country. According to the Diabetes Foundation of India (DFI), this figure is likely to go up to 80 million by 2025, making India the ‘Diabetes Capital’ of the world. Diabetes requires life-long management and control. Certain lifestyle changes and a strict diet can help curb further health hazards. Nutritionists often recommend that diabetics should eat small and frequent meals to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Therefore, it is important to sneak in some healthy snacks between your meals.
According to Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta, ‘Diabetics should have snacks that are rich in protein, full of fiber and whole grains and low in fat. If a person is on a 1400-calorie diet, he or she must have snacks with 100-150 calories and not more than that. This may include besan ka cheela, a piece or two of paneer, a piece of cheese, low calorie popcorn, sprouts or one fruit which does not include banana, chikoo or mango. You should eat foods that are low on the glycemic index.”
Diabetes requires life-long management and control
Dietitian Lokendra Tomar from Weight Loss Clinic in New Delhi agrees, “Diabetics must have snacks that are extremely low on the glycemic index and high on protein. You can choose nuts and seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts as they contain healthy oils, fats and proteins. Generally, people have a habit of snacking on zero-calorie or sugar-free biscuits. However, I would not recommend them as they contain a high amount of artificial sugar which may increase blood sugar levels drastically. Similarly, in the morning try and avoid oats or cornflakes as they have 60-70 percent of carbohydrates that break down into sugar in the body. Instead, replace oats with yogurt and chia seeds mixed with nuts or a fruit. You can take fruits but it is always good to mix fruits in salads or smoothies to avoid direct consumption of concentrated sugar.”
What is the Right time to Snack?
Dr. Rupali tells us, “I would recommend that diabetics must eat after every two hours. If you had your breakfast at 9 am, you can snack at 11 or 11:30 am. It should be the same with lunch and dinner.”
Interesting Snack Recipes for Diabetics
1. Besan ka Cheela
Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
Besan is high on fiber and proteins which is extremely good for diabetics. It is gluten free too. Easy and quick to make, besan ka cheela is light on your tummy.
2. Bean Sprout Salad
Recipe by Chef Roopa Gulati
Sprouting decreases the amount of carbohydrates and starch in grains and the proportion of protein are higher, which is great for diabetics.
3. Nut and Seed Crusted Cottage Cheese
Recipe by Chef Vicky Ratnani
Marinated pieces of paneer rolled with a crunchy nut-seed mixture and baked. Served with a fresh salad and beet chutney, this snack is tasty yet healthy. Cottage cheese and important seeds full of proteins help regulate the blood sugar content.