Diabetes in the elderly is a growing challenge in India with almost 20 million patients above the age of 60, as per the recent Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI). The problem is further riddled with complications like strokes and heart problems, among others. To treat the cause and prevent the complications that follow, we need to have a better understanding of this widespread illness in the ageing population. Are you in your late 50s or above and diagnosed with diabetes? Or are your parents/ grandparents diabetic? We are here to help you out. Although diabetes can occur at any age, elderly people get more affected by it because of their advancing age. They are already vulnerable to different health issues and this one piles onto it.
Further, a common misconception about being diabetic is that the patient has to give up on the tasty food that he or she loves eating. This becomes even more difficult for the elderly who follow a restricted diet plan due to age. But the good news is that they don’t have to give up all their favourite food. The key here is to prepare an Indian diabetic diet chart for older adults to help moderate eating habits and balance the meals.
How will a Diet Chart Help in Diabetes?
Diet has a major role to play in managing diabetes and keeping its complications at bay. A good diabetic food chart should help the patient in controlling their cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and further preventing complications like strokes or heart issues. But this does not mean they cannot eat their favourite food. The best Indian diet chart for diabetic patients lets you enjoy good food whilst keeping the blood sugar levels in control.
Ideal Indian Diet Chart for Diabetic Patients
One of the most common mistakes that elderly people diagnosed with diabetes make, is switching to a diet comprising raw vegetables & fruits, cereals, sandwiches, and other food items, which they consider being less harmful than the regular Indian diet. However, that is not true. It is not about the type of food but the amount in which it is consumed. We have curated the best Indian diet chart for elderly diabetic patients that will let you eat the food you love without affecting your health.
A quick word of caution: The diet chart listed below is a generalized one. Patients must get in touch with a good online nutrition consultant to get an ideal Indian diet chart for diabetic patients that ought to be followed.
1. Early Morning
When following an ideal diabetic diet comprising Indian food, start your day with a glass of lukewarm water. This will help to flush out all the toxins present in your body. You can also have a teaspoon of soaked methi (fenugreek) seeds to help control your blood sugar levels.
As the name says, you break your overnight fast after last night’s dinner. This makes breakfast an important meal of the day. An ideal breakfast in a diabetes food chart for Indians includes: -
- A cup of coffee/tea/buttermilk
- A bowl of savoury dalia with vegetables./muesli
- Or Wheat flakes with milk
- Or Vegetable moong dal chila
- Or Vegetable oats/upma
- Or 2 slices of whole wheat bread + egg white omelette and veggies
Diabetes patients are advised to eat after every few hours to avoid a long gap between meals. Hence, once done with breakfast, give a 2 hours gap and then take this next small meal which comprises of:
- A cup of green tea with a handful of roasted chana
- Or A whole fruit (pear, apple, orange, papaya, guava)
A good wholesome lunch in an Indian diet chart for diabetic patients is the one that makes you feel full until the next meal. After all, you feel good when you eat well.
- 1 big bowl of seasonal vegetables, 1 bowl of dal/kale chane/sprouts/ chicken/fish, with 2-3 rotis and salad
- Or 1 big bowl of vegetable oats with curd
- Or 1 bowl of salad (cucumber/tomato) with half a bowl of brown rice, 1 bowl of vegetables and 1 bowl of dal/sprouts/ chicken/fish
5. Evening Snacks
Yes, snacks! As previously mentioned, an Indian diabetic diet chart which lets you snack healthy is the best one. Your evening snack should be scheduled between 4-5 pm and comprise of: -
- 1 whole fruit (apple/guava/pear/orange/papaya)
- Or A handful of roasted/boiled chana
- Or Puffed rice with cucumber, tomato, green peas, onion and coriander
- Or Khakhra
- Or Buttermilk (no sugar or salt)
- Or Sandwich (avoid butter, cheese or mayonnaise)
Now is the time to discuss the dinner within an Indian diabetic diet plan. Breaking the common myth, diabetes is all about eating right and not eating less. Hence, its diet plan includes every meal. Here is what you can have at dinner:
- • 1 bowl of Saag-mustard greens/Spinach/Bathua /green soya/green chana/soya chunks/chicken/fish and 1 bowl of seasonal vegetables with 2-3 Rotis, sprouts, and salad.
- Or 1 big bowl of vegetable oats with soup.
- Or 1 bowl of salad with multigrain roti and 1 bowl of dal/sprouts/ chicken/fish.
Do please avoid all starchy food items like potatoes, white rice, Kabuli chana, Arbi, Jimmikand etc. You can eat all of the vegetables of your choice. The greater the variety the better.
Yes, one needs to eat even before hitting the bed. Because then it will be a good 7-8 hours gap until your morning breakfast. Apart from a warm glass of toned milk with haldi or saffron (immunity boosting and conducive to restful sleep), this tiny meal from your food chart for diabetes patients in India is a mix of nuts, be it walnuts, almonds or any nuts you like.
Best Foods for Elderly Diabetes Patients in India
1. Brown Rice
If you really love rice, try having brown rice instead of white and reap its many health benefits. It is a perfect alternative to white rice, and its low glycaemic index makes it an ideal food for diabetes patients in India. White rice is a staple food in India and used as an ingredient in various dishes, making it an essential part of the Indian cuisine. However, the high amount of starch and carbohydrates in rice makes it unsuitable to be included in a diabetic’s diet. Its intake can cause a significant increase in the patient’s blood sugar levels and hence, it is not recommended.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains in the form of bread, oats, and quinoa are easily available in India and can be included in an Indian diabetic diet chart. We have a wide range of healthy grains in our country like, whole wheat aata, black gram aata, bajra aata, kuttu aata , makka aata etc. They are rich in protein and fibre with low simple sugar content, making it suitable for diabetic patients. While including whole grains in the diet plan, make sure that it forms a small part of your meal and the rest comprises vegetables, fruits, curd, etc. as discussed in the diet plan above.
Please make a note that whole grains are not recommended for those allergic to gluten.
3. High Fibre Vegetables
Fibrous food forms an essential part of an Indian diet chart for diabetic patients. Besides helping to maintain healthy bowel movements, it keeps the stomach full longer. Further, it helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. As far as the options are concerned, one should include spinach, beans, peas, and other seasonal leafy vegetables. Karela or bitter-gourd is particularly beneficial in diabetes. Since there is no dearth of vegetables in India, you have a wide variety to choose from.
All the nuts, especially almonds, are a rich source of protein, fibre and omega-3s. These qualities make it ideal to be included in the diet chart for diabetes patients. Whenever you feel hungry your grandparents ask for quick snacks between meals, give them a handful of almonds mixed with walnuts, peanuts and pistachios to curb their hunger. Having these nuts can help to control blood sugar levels and prevent heart problems because of diabetes. All this makes them an ideal food item to include in a food chart for diabetic patients in India.
5. Pulses and Legumes
Yet another rich source of protein and fibre, pulses and legumes are a part of every regular Indian diet. That makes it even easier to consume even when you have a specific Indian diabetic diet plan to follow. The low glycaemic index of pulses packed with various nutrients adds onto the benefits they offer.
6. Lean Meat
If you are a non-vegetarian and bored with eating as per your regular vegetarian Diabetic diet plan for Indian food, here is a taste changer for you. You can include lean meats like fish (sardines, mackerel, tunas, and salmon) and chicken in your meals. But avoid red meat as it is high in harmful fats and can spike your cholesterol levels. Also, do not deep fry the meat and grill or roast instead, to make a healthy addition to an Indian Diabetic diet plan.
7. Fresh Fruits
Fruits are a delicious way to curb hunger between meals. They have high nutritional values and their high fibre content is good for bowel movements. However, some fruits have high sugar content, which raises questions about them being fit for diabetic patients. Sugar content in fruits like mangoes is on the higher end, but can be included in a diabetes food chart comprising Indian food in moderate amounts. The recommended list of fruits in diabetes includes peaches, pears, kiwi, apple, avocado, apricot, and berries.
Lifestyle Changes for Diabetic Elderly
Among other factors like exercise and medication that help manage diabetes, food also plays a very crucial role. While our elders are already dealing with the advancing age and other health issues, including diabetes, let us try to make them feel better with the best and complete diet plan. This can help to a great extent, especially if they love eating, but diabetes is stopping them to live life to the fullest.
It is essential for elders to eat healthy as it has a direct impact on their body, especially when diagnosed with diabetes. Ensuring a healthy and complete meal plan chart comprising Indian food will help to provide all the required nutrients to their body and ensure healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This will further reduce the chances of complications and help the elders live life to the fullest with fewer restrictions. After all, they deserve the best even in their golden years of life.
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