After Dussehra, the countdown to Diwali begins and people start preparing for the festival by cleaning and decorating their houses. Goodies and gifts to be exchanged are also planned around this time. It’s an exciting time overall for everyone as people get to meet with friends, family and relatives and spread happiness and cheer.
It is also the time when our fitness and dietary routine is largely ignored as we do not eat on our scheduled time, eat a lot, and have loads of mithais and high-calorie stuff. While this can be harmful for most, people with diabetes especially suffer during this time as they have to keep their blood sugar levels in check at all times.
Planning ahead is the key to manage diabetes during Diwali festivities, says Dr. Meghana Pasi, Arogya World’s My Thali Program Nutritionist as she speaks to HT Digital in a telephonic conversation.
“Diwali time is all about fats and sugars and one must be careful. India is on a verge to become Diabetes capital of the world as it is home to 77 million diabetics. We can reduce the risk of getting diabetes by adopting healthy habits – doing physical activities and eating healthy,” says Dr Pasi.
Here’s how people with diabetes should plan their meals, according to Dr Pasi.
Divide your carbohydrates: Apart from the fact that people with diabetes should not skip their meal, they should also divide their carbohydrates intake, distributing them over all meals. It shouldn’t be a carbohydrate-rich, sugar-rich or fat-rich meal in a single meal. Not just carbs, distributing your proteins over various meals would ensure they are absorbed better by the body and used more for muscle building and less for energy requirements. Although, protein, fats and carbs all give us energy, but protein should ideally be for essential functions like building muscles, hemoglobin, hormones and enzymes.
Consume complex carbohydrates: To avoid spike in sugar levels, complex carbohydrates must be consumed instead of refined ones. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and the moment you have it, it immediately releases glucose and you get spike in blood sugar.
High GI food: One should have high glycemic index foods which are more fibrous and more complex as they take longer time to digest and release of glucose is slower.
Prepare sweets at home: When you buy goodies from outside, maida is used in almost all snacks and namkeens and Vanaspati and hydrogenated oil is used. You can make sweets or desserts at home using pure ghee made at home. Instead of sugar, you can replace them with fruits. You can make kheer, halwa, besan and ragi laddoo in place of jalebi and rabri, anjeer roles and date roles. Use fruit pulps to your sweets to make them healthy.
Check the portion size: If somebody offers you a box of chocolate, you can pick just one piece. Make sure the portion is less.
Instead of sodas and colas, go for fresh juice, nimbu pani or coconut water. Be mindful of the sugar content in beverages.
Go slow on alcohol as it can increase your blood glucose level.
Instead of wheat flour, one can go for rice flour, ragi, millets, jowar, bajra or besan.
You can go for unsalted and roasted dryfruits instead of salted and fried version. In fact they can be a healthy snack in between meals. But do not have more than a handful.
Do not forget to have a fruit or two, just don’t combine them with main meals and have them separately.