Diabetes Diet Plan For Indians – What To Eat And Avoid

Everything you need to keep in mind about this specialised diet plan, including sample charts.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie RajMerlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
By Priyanka SadhukhanPriyanka Sadhukhan, MSc (Nutrition), Certified Diabetes Educator  • 

In India, over 41 million people have diabetes. It is estimated to increase to 70 million by 2025 (1), (2). No wonder India is called the diabetes capital of the world. But an Indian diet chart for people with diabetes may help reverse this trend to a great extent – as one of the root causes of diabetes type 2 is poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

Of course, genes also may play an important part. But revamping your lifestyle can increase the chances of reversing diabetes type 2. Continue reading to know what to eat if you have diabetes and the lifestyle changes you need to make. We also have included a diet chart for you. Scroll down.

What Is Diabetes?

A woman with diabetes checking her blood sugar levels

Image: Shutterstock

The WHO defines diabetes as a chronic metabolic disease that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulini  X A hormone produced in the pancreas that helps regulate sugar (glucose) levels in the blood. or does not use insulin (insulin resistance) that is produced, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels (3).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin by itself, whereas
type 2 diabetes (the more common variant) is characterized by insulin resistance.

How Does A Diabetes Diet Help Manage Blood Glucose Levels?

Diabetes management needs a holistic approachi  X that involves lifestyle management, along with good glycemic control and balanced nutrition to manage blood sugar levels. The right food choices often help manage blood sugar levels, improve blood cholesterol, and keep you in a healthy weight range. Portion control also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Sample Indian Diet Chart For Diabetes

Idli and sambar for breakfast for people with diabetes

Image: IStock

The Indian diabetic diet plan will ensure you have 1200-1600 calories per day, which is based on age, sex, type of diabetes, physical activity, and type of medication you are on. It will also help with carbohydrate counting, which is a meal planning method to keep track of carbohydrate consumption. The activity level and insulin dose can be matched to the carbohydrate intake.


Early MorningOptions:
  • Fenugreek water (1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds soaked in a glass of water overnight)
  • Overnight soaked almonds (4-5 pieces)
  • 1 piece of brown bread with 2 boiled egg whites + 1 cup green tea.
  • 2 small whole wheat parathas (without ghee or butter) with 1 cup raita + 1 teaspoon pickle + ½ cup boiled sprouts.
  • Unprocessed ragi flakes/wheat flakes (½ cup) with one cup of low-fat milk and a pinch of cinnamon powder. For sweetening purposes, add ½ teaspoon honey.
  • 2 vegetable moong chillas with green chutney and 1 whole boiled egg
  • 1 cup cucumber, tomato, and carrot salad. Add a dash of lime, and garnish with coriander leaves and a few mint leaves.
  • 1 seasonal fruit (except for banana, mango, sapota, custard apple, jackfruit)
  • Unstrained vegetable juice/ bitter gourd juice
  • 2 medium-sized whole wheat chapatis with ½ cup rajma/chole +½ cup thin dal + 1 cup okra curry/ any other vegetable curry + ½ cup curd/raita
  • 2 medium-sized whole wheat chapatis with 3 oz baked fish + any vegetable curry + 1 cup raita
Evening Snacks
  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can have one small cup of bhel puri or baked snacks.
  • 2 medium-sized chapatis + any vegetable curry (any type of gourd, brinjal, capsicum, etc.) except for root vegetables + 1 cup dal/paneer
  • 2 medium-sized chapatis + chicken stew + any vegetable curry, except for root vegetables.
Before Bed
  • 1 cup of warm milk with a pinch of raw ground turmeric/cinnamon powder


Early MorningOptions:
  • Fenugreek water (1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds soaked in a glass of water overnight)
  • Overnight soaked almonds (4-5 pieces)
  • 1 slice of toasted wheat bread and 2 boiled egg whites or 1 one whole boiled egg
  • Cucumber salad + 1 whole wheat chapati + any vegetable sabzi + ½ cup boiled sprouts
  • Cucumber salad + 1 whole wheat stuffed paratha + peas sabzi + 1 teaspoon pickle
  • 1 apple or orange or 1 cup papaya or guava
  • Any unstrained vegetable juice or bitter gourd juice
  • 2 medium-sized whole wheat chapatis + 1/2 cup vegetables, such as peas, cauliflower, capsicum, any gourd, green beans, etc. + 1 cup daal
  • Cucumber tomato salad + ½ cup rice + ½ cup vegetable curry +     fish curry
  • 1 cup of daliya vegetable khichdi + ½ cup curd
Evening SnacksOptions:
  • Masala puffed rice and green tea
  • Green tea and a fistful of roasted nuts ( almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
  • 2 whole wheat chapatis + ½ cup chicken stew + ½ cup vegetable curry + ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 chapatis + ½ cup vegetable curry + ½ cup daal + ½ cup yogurt
Before Bed
  • 1 glass of warm milk with a pinch of cinnamon or raw ground turmeric powder


Early MorningOptions:
  • Fenugreek water (1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds soaked in a glass of water overnight)
  • Overnight soaked almonds (4-5 pieces)
  • 2-3 idlis with chutney and drumstick sambar (use less salt)
  • 2 dosas with chutney and vegetable sambar (use less salt)
  • 1 small cup of vegetable upma with chutney
  • 1 apple/ guava/ 1 cup papaya
  • Unstrained vegetable juice/ Bitter gourd juice
  • Tender coconut water
  • A glass of ragi malt with thin buttermilk
  • Cucumber and tomato salad + ½ cup brown rice + 1 cup sambar with lots of vegetables + any vegetable curry (with less spice) + 1 glass mint jeera buttermilk
  • Cucumber and tomato salad +  ½ cup brown rice +  1 cup vegetable curry + ½ cup fish or chicken curry with less spice + 1 glass mint jeera buttermilk
Evening SnacksOptions:
  • Green tea with roasted flaked rice with curry leaves and chopped garlic
  • Black coffee and ¼ cup homemade snacks (Use less oil)
  • Filter coffee with less milk and ½ cup roasted chana
  • Vegetable clear soup or chicken and vegetable clear soup +2 chapatis
  • Mixed vegetable curry + 2 chapatis + curd
Before Bed
  • 1 cup warm low-fat milk with a pinch of raw ground turmeric or cinnamon powder


Early MorningOptions:
  • Fenugreek water (1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds soaked in a glass of water overnight)
  • Overnight soaked almonds (4-5 pieces)
  • 1 cup red rice vegetable poha + ½ cup boiled sprouts
  • 2 besan chillas + 2 tablespoons green chutney
  • 1 cup vegetable oats upma + 1 whole boiled egg or 2 boiled egg whites
  • 1 apple or guava/1 cup papaya
  • 1 glass unstrained vegetable juice/1 glass bitter gourd juice
  • 1 cup cucumber, tomato, and carrot salad
  • 2 chapatis + 1 cup vegetable curry + 1 cup daal + ½ cup curd
  • 3 oz steamed or baked fish/chicken + ½ cup rice + 1 cup vegetable curry + ½ cup curd
  • 1 cup vegetable daliya khichdi + 1 roasted homemade papad + 1 cup curd
Evening SnacksOptions:
  • Green tea with ½ cup roasted chana
  • Green tea with ½ cup green moong/ black chana chaat
  • Green tea with 1 cup ghee-roasted makhana
  • 1 cup vegetable curry + 2 multigrain chapatis + 1 cup daal + curd
  • Cucumber salad + 2 multigrain chapatis + ½ cup vegetable curry + Fish curry or chicken curry
Before Bed
  • 1 glass of warm milk with a pinch of cinnamon powder or raw ground turmeric powder

In addition to the foods mentioned in the diet, you can consume the following:

Foods To Eat

  • Healthy Fats
Avocado, fish and nuts are sources of healthy fats

Image: IStock

Not all fats are bad, and you do not have to stick to low-fat foods. Aim to limit your saturated fat intake and increase the intake of monounsaturatedi  XUnsaturated dietary fat (consisting of a single unsaturated carbon bond) that is good for human health. and polyunsaturated fatty acidsi  XHealthy dietary fat like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are usually found in oils and nuts. in your diet. A recent clinical trial showed a positive correlation between PUFA intake and improvement in glycemic control (4). Both the quality and quantity of fat matter in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

Foods To Eat – Fish, fish liver oil, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, avocados, and oysters.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Munch on a handful of seeds and nuts when you want a snack and sprinkle chia seeds on your mixed vegetable curries or eggs to feel fuller for longer.

  • Carbohydrates

Complex carbs with high fiber content are recommended for individuals with diabetes. A study on Chinese individuals with type 2 diabetes on a low-fat diet (LFD) and a low-carb diet (LCD) showed that LCD had better control over blood glucose levels as compared to LFD (5).

Whole grains are fiber-rich foods and help improve the glucose levels after a meal and maintain healthy insulin levels, according to a systematic review study (6). Avoid refined carbs with low to no fiber content.

Foods To Eat – Rye, oats, quinoa, millet, legumes, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat, and low sugar bran flakes. 

  • Healthy Proteins
Chicken, fish and lentils are sources of healthy proteins

Image: Shutterstock

Consuming high-quality protein does not alter the post-meal increase in glucose levels. But a protein meal mixed with carbs increases insulin secretion, which can help regulate blood glucose levels (7). Include proteins with high biological value in each meal of the balanced diet plan.

Foods To Eat – Lentils, Brussels sprouts, soy, kidney beans, tofu, hummus, pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey, fish (sardines, mackerel, tilapia, catla, rohu, singi, magur, pomfret, cod liver oil, hilsa, tuna, and trout).

  • Vegetables

Vegetables are nutrient-rich foods and good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Having at least two servings of vegetables (cooked or raw) a day will help you lose weight, boost your immunity, and develop good control over blood glucose levels. A study on Japanese individuals with T2DM revealed that the ‘eat vegetables before carbohydrates’ approach had better glycemic control than an exchanged based meal (8).

Foods To Eat – Spinach, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peas, capsicum, gourds, onion, garlic, celery, asparagus, beans, brinjal, lettuce, zucchini, tomato, broccoli, and kale.

  • Dairy

Dairy proteins (casein and whey protein) in milk, yogurt, and cheese exert a beneficial role in the management of diabetes by increasing insulin secretion (9). A cohort study established an inverse relationship between dairy intake and the prevalence rate of diabetes (10).

Foods To Eat – Low-fat milk, egg whites, non-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat or non-fat sour cream, and unflavored soy milk.

Functional Foods For Diabetes

Functional foods with bioactive compounds can have a beneficial effect in managing blood glucose levels. The list of superfoods are:

  • Fenugreek
  • Bitter gourd
  • Psyllium husk
  • Millets
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Nuts and oilseeds – Walnuts and flaxseeds

Lifestyle Changes For People With Diabetes

Woman exercises to manage diabetes

Image: Shutterstock

As per the American Diabetes Association, diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES), medical nutrition therapy (MNT), physical activity, smoking cessation counseling, and psychological care are the fundamental aspects to change blood glucose biomarkers (11).

Following a few practices, like waking up early, practicing yoga, working out, practicing healthy eating habits, getting proper sleep, meditating, taking out time for yourself, going to bed early, etc., are a few changes that will bring positivity and happiness in your life.

Infographic: Indian Diabetes Diet Chart – Foods To Eat

Poor eating habits are one major cause of diabetes. Intake of nutrient-rich low glycemic index foods helps control blood glucose levels. While we have covered information about the right foods to eat, we want to reiterate a few specific ones. Click on the infographic below to learn more about the right foods to include in the Indian diabetes diet chart for curbing diabetes.

indian diabetes diet chart – foods to eat(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

The Indian diet chart for people with diabetes may help reverse the condition to a great extent. A holistic strategy that includes lifestyle management, effective glycemic control, and balanced nutrition is needed to control blood sugar levels. The appropriate meal choices can help in monitoring blood sugar levels, lowering your cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight. Based on dietician recommendations, choose diabetes-friendly recipes for meals, which will lower the glycemic load and help reduce the risk of diabetes. Consult a doctor and a nutritionist for advice tailored to your health and other medical conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am 24 years old, and I have been diagnosed with diabetes. Does this mean I have to follow a restricted diet for the rest of my life?

It is not a “restricted diet” but rather a “controlled diet.” You can have anything you want, but keep a check on your daily sugar and salt intake. Yes, you need to avoid certain foods that, in general, do no good to anybody. Be active, avoid a sedentary lifestyle, and practice yoga.

Will drinking bitter gourd juice or neem juice help to treat diabetes?

Yes. Doctors recommend bitter gourd juice and neem juice for individuals with diabetes. There is scientific evidence that bitter gourd and neem help in lowering blood glucose levels. You can either have boiled bitter gourd or chew three or four neem leaves first thing in the morning.

Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called polypeptide-p or p-insulin. This compound can control diabetes naturally. Neem leaves contain flavonoids, triterpenoids, glycosides, and antiviral compounds that may help manage blood sugar levels. However, overeating may have hypoglycemici  XA condition where the blood sugar level hits lower than the required range. Usually caused by diabetes medication. effects.

I am 62 years old, and I cannot do heavy workouts. Please suggest any other alternative.

Start by going on long, lazy walks. Later, pick up the pace of your walks. You can also practice pranayama. Work with a yoga expert who will guide you.

How much weight will I lose?

Check with your doctor to know what your ideal weight should be according to your age, medical history, sex, current weight, bone mass, etc. Then, plan your daily diet accordingly to reach your ideal weight.

Is eucalyptus oil effective in treating diabetes? Where can I buy eucalyptus oil?

Yes, there is scientific evidence that eucalyptus oil helps reduce blood glucose levels. You can buy eucalyptus oil from various online stores. Mix four to five drops of eucalyptus oil in warm water or warm milk and drink it. Make sure not to add too much of eucalyptus oil as it might be toxic.

Which fruits should I eat?

Eat gooseberries, black plum (Jamun), apple, banana, guava (not ripe), raw papaya, etc. You can also eat fruits that have high fructose content such as mango, litchi, and grapes. But make sure not to overdo them.

Key Takeaways

  • Your diabetes diet should comprise fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, good fats, and dairy.
  • A North Indian diabetes plan may include food options like whole wheat parathas, vegetable moong chillas, vegetable curry, and chicken stew.
  • A South Indian diet may include options like dosas with chutney and vegetable sambar, low-fat milk, buttermilk, and chicken soup.
  • You may add diabetes superfoods like bitter gourd, oats, quinoa, turmeric, and flaxseeds to your diet for better control over blood glucose levels.


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