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Prediabetes Diet – What Is It, What To Eat, And How To Reverse It

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
Prediabetes Diet – What Is It, What To Eat, And How To Reverse It September 27, 2018

Prediabetes is a warning bell. It is a condition in which your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not too high to be declared as diabetes (1).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 84 million individuals in America and 470 million people in the world will be prediabetic by 2030 (2), (3)! This only will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Hence, a prediabetes diet is an important strategy to reduce type 2 diabetes risk, that too in a matter of 2 to 3 years (4). Even if you are not prediabetic, this diet can help reduce the risk of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. This article is a complete guide to a prediabetes diet plan and lifestyle. Swipe up!

Highlights Of The Article

What Is Prediabetes?
Can You Reverse Prediabetes?
How Does Prediabetes Diet Work?
Common Ways To Manage Prediabetes
Sample Prediabetes Diet Plan
Foods To Consume
Foods To Avoid
Prediabetes Food Recipes
Prediabetes Exercise Plan
Other Lifestyle Changes You Need To Make

What Is Prediabetes?

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Prediabetes is the preliminary stage of type 2 diabetes. The blood glucose levels are on the higher side (fasting plasma glucose is at 7.0), and healthcare professionals use this information to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes (5). But not everyone diagnosed with prediabetes will become diabetic. The possibility depends on factors like:

  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Stress levels
  • Physical activity
  • Glycemic index of the foods consumed
  • Nutritional value of foods consumed

But the question is – will a prediabetes diet help you reverse the condition? Let’s find out what scientists believe.

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Can You Reverse Prediabetes?

Yes, you can reverse prediabetes – if you consume the right foods and become active. Scientists believe that a lifestyle intervention can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 10 years (6). If you start managing diabetes at an early stage, you will further lower the risk of the disease.

But how can changing the diet really help? Find out in the following section.

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How Does The Prediabetes Diet Work?

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The prediabetes diet lowers your sugar intake on a daily basis. The source of this sugar could be processed foods, refined flour, candies, and other sugary treats. You will be on a diet that is low in calories and simple carbs. This does not mean you will have to throw all your happiness out the window. You just have to manage your eating habits and cravings. Here is how you can do it.

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Common Ways To Manage Prediabetes

  • Follow a diet rich in dietary fiber – Foods rich in dietary fiber like veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are your saviors. However, you should also be aware of the following point.
  • Consume low-GI foods – The GI (glycemic index) of a food determines how it affects the blood sugar levels. Foods with a GI lower than 55 are considered low-GI foods and are safe to be consumed on a prediabetes diet. Foods with a GI of more than 70 are high-GI foods and must be avoided. Even the methods of storage, processing, and the variety determine the GI of a food (7).
  • Exercise regularly – Exercising regularly helps you expend extra calories in the form of energy. You will lose weight and feel better mentally. Regular exercise also helps you manage stress, which can otherwise lead to accumulation of belly fat. Choose a workout routine that is enjoyable and convenient for you.
  • Take the required medicines – If your doctor has prescribed medicines, take them on time. This helps you manage your blood sugar levels better.

You should also take care of the timing of your food, along with the quantity and quality. Here is a sample prediabetes diet plan for you.

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Sample Prediabetes Diet Plan

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (6:00 a.m.)2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in a cup of water
Breakfast (7:00 a.m)2 soft-boiled eggs (or baked beans) + 4 almonds + 1 cup milk (or soy milk or green tea)
Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.)1 cup of watermelon/muskmelon/apple
Lunch (12:30 p.m.)1 medium bowl of mushroom/tuna/chicken salad with a light dressing (olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and herbs)
Snack (3:30 p.m.)1 cup green tea + 1 digestive biscuit
Dinner (6:30 p.m.)1 cup lentil soup with veggies or 3 oz grilled fish with veggies + 1 cup milk with a pinch of turmeric before bed

In addition, you can also consume the following foods:

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Foods To Consume

  • Veggies – Bitter gourd, bottle gourd, spinach, kale, radish, collard greens, radish greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, tomato, cucumber, green bell pepper, eggplant, rhubarb, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, chives, spring onions, onion, celery, fennel, and purple cabbage.
  • Fruits – Apple, avocado, muskmelon, banana, watermelon (high GI, but high in dietary fiber), pear, kiwi, raw mango, lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, java plum, strawberry, blueberry, acai berry, and gooseberry.
  • Protein – Skinless chicken breast, wild-caught fish, mushroom, eggs, lentils, beans, sprouts, soy, tofu, ground turkey, and ground beef.
  • Dairy – Full-fat milk, full-fat ricotta cheese, buttermilk, and cottage cheese.
  • Fats And Oils – Olive oil, avocado oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil, butter, and ghee.
  • Nuts And Seeds – Almond, walnut, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and melon seeds.
  • Herbs And Spices – Dill, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, oregano, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, garlic, cumin, carom seeds, nigella seeds, black and white pepper, saffron, mace, nutmeg, coriander powder, turmeric, chili flakes, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • Beverages – Water, fenugreek soaked water, lime water, detox water, freshly pressed fruit/vegetable juice.

As you saw, you have a lot of food choices, and you can enjoy being on a prediabetic diet. Here’s the list of foods that you must avoid to prevent type 2 diabetes altogether.

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Foods To Avoid

  • Junk Food – Potato chips, fried chicken, fries, pizza, burger, open sandwiches with loads of cheese, breakfast cereals, and other trans fats foods.
  • Fruits – Pineapple, jackfruit, sapodilla, and ripe mango.
  • Protein – Ground beef and pork meat.
  • Dairy – Cream cheese, margarine, and butter.
  • Fats And Oils – Pork fat, dalda, coconut oil, canola oil, and peanut butter.
  • Nuts And Seeds – Cashew, salted nuts, and shelled pistachios.
  • Beverages – Packaged fruit and vegetable juice, soda, and energy drinks.

It might seem like you have to get rid of all the foods you love. Well, think of it as a relationship gone sour, and you need to get out of it to be happy again. Sometimes, you’ve got to let things go and be open to the life that’s waiting for you.

Too much philosophy? OK. Why don’t we check out a few popular prediabetes diet recipes?

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Prediabetes Food Recipes

1. Prediabetes Morning Breakfast Smoothie

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons curd
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ banana
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed powder
How To Prepare
  1. Toss all the ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Blitz it, and you’re done!

2. Quinoa Bowl For Lunch

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Ingredients
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 3 oz chicken breast
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cilantro for garnish
How To Prepare
  1. Boil quinoa in a cup of water and allow it to cook completely.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the lime juice, olive oil, garlic and onion powder, herb, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Brush this mix on the chicken breast and grill it.
  4. Lay the lettuce on a plate and then add the cooked quinoa to one side.
  5. Slice the grilled chicken and lay it on the plate.
  6.  Add the other veggies, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy your lunch.

3. Grilled Fish And Spinach Salad For Dinner

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Ingredients
  • 3 oz basa fillets (you can use salmon, tuna, and haddock)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ½ orange
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon herb mix
How To Prepare
  1. Rub the fish fillets with two tablespoons of olive oil, garlic powder, herb mix, lime juice, pepper, and salt. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a pan and fry the fish until cooked.
  3. Toss the veggies in a bowl and add some olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix everything thoroughly.
  5. Top it with the pan-fried fish.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring if you know how to spice it up. However, unless you expend the calories, you will not be able to lose weight. That can be a concern because losing weight is crucial for lowering blood glucose levels. So, you must have a plan for that. If you don’t, no worries – I am here to help you.

Here’s an exercise plan that you can customize to fit your requirements. Here you go.

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Prediabetes Exercise Plan

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Warm-up

  • Sideways neck tilt – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Up and down neck movement – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Spot jogging – 3 minutes
  • Jumping jacks – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side lunges – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side bends – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Ankle rotation – 1 set of 10 reps

Exercises

  • High knees – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Alternate forward bend toe touch – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Squats – 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Jumping squats – 3sets of 20 reps
  • Lunges – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Jumping lunges – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Mountain climbers – 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Spider mountain climbers – 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Push-ups – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Crunches – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Sit-ups – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Bent over row – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Dumbbell chest flys – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Overhead press – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Skull crushers – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Donkey kicks – 3 set of 15 reps

Complete your exercise routine by stretching and cooling down. It is as important as warming up.

We’ve come to a close. But not without these other lifestyle changes that you need to make.

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Other Lifestyle Changes You Need To Make

  • Walk or exercise out the stress.
  • Do not skip any of the meals.
  • Have a healthy relationship with your body and mind.
  • Go grocery shopping on the weekend so that you do not depend on meal takeouts.
  • Eliminate trans fat and sugar.
  • Do the workouts you enjoy the most.
  • Go for regular check-ups.
  • Talk to someone about the things that are bothering you.

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Conclusion

Tweaking your diet and lifestyle can help you fix the issue. Make sure you follow the tips mentioned in this article. It is always better to lead a healthy life than to depend on medications for the rest of your life. With that in mind, start taking care of your health today.

References

1. “Healthy Eating for people at risk of diabetes or with prediabetes“ NHS
2. “Prediabetes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3. “Prediabetes: A high-risk state for developing diabetes” US National Library of Medicine
4. “The Effectiveness of Different Diet Strategies to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Youth” US National Library of Medicine
5. “Prediabetes: A prevalent and treatable, but often unrecognized clinical condition” US National Library of Medicine
6. “Prediabetes and Lifestyle Modification: Time to Prevent a Preventable Disease” US National Library of Medicine
7. “Glycemic Index and Diabetes” American Diabetes Association

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