Guide to Healthy Eating: A Comprehensive Indian Diabetic Diet Chart

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Did you know that India is often referred to as the 'diabetes capital' of the world? With over 77 million people affected, it's no surprise that finding an effective Indian diet plan for diabetes is a top priority. 

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for managing diabetes, and it plays a significant role in keeping blood sugar levels in check. So, if you’re struggling to manage your blood sugar levels, don’t worry. We’re here to explore the ins and outs of diabetes, and provide you with a comprehensive diet plan for diabetes, Indian style, to help you effectively manage your condition.

What is Diabetes & What are its Causes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. It occurs when the pancreas either doesn't generate adequate insulin or the body becomes resistant to insulin. It can be of the following types:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Autoimmune disease, typically diagnosed in childhood/young adulthood, with little to no insulin production.

  • Type 2 diabetes: Metabolic disorder, commonly associated with lifestyle factors, characterised by insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.

  • Gestational diabetes: Develops during pregnancy, affecting blood sugar levels and requiring careful monitoring; usually resolves after childbirth.

  • Prediabetes: Blood sugar levels higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range; a warning sign that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The main causes of diabetes include hormonal disorders, genetic factors, obesity, unhealthy diet, and sedentary lifestyle.

Indian Diabetic Diet Chart

A well-planned diet plan for diabetes can help in managing blood sugar levels effectively. Here, we elaborate on vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet plans that cater to the specific needs of individuals with diabetes.

But before we dive into a sample meal plan, let’s understand what factors are important for concluding a healthy diet for keeping sugar levels in check.

What is Diabetes Meal Planning?

A diabetes meal plan is a guide for managing blood sugar levels by focusing on when, what, and how much to eat. The plan should include more non-starchy vegetables, fewer added sugars and refined grains, and prioritise whole foods over processed foods. Two common meal planning tools are carb counting and the plate method. Carb counting involves setting a limit for carbs per meal, while the plate method visually divides a 9-inch plate into sections:

  • Half plate with non-starchy vegetables (salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, etc.)

  • One quarter with lean protein (chicken, turkey, beans, tofu, or eggs)

  • One quarter with carb foods (grains, starchy vegetables, rice, pasta, beans, fruit, and yoghurt; A cup of milk also counts as a carb food)

According to this, we have curated a sample diabetic food chart, Indian style, for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Please note that the following examples are not exhaustive, and it is recommended to seek medical guidance for creating personalised diet plans that align with your specific needs.

Indian Diet Plan for Diabetes: For Vegetarians

A balanced vegetarian diet plan for diabetes should focus on complex carbohydrates, fibre, lean protein, and healthy fats. Here's a sample meal plan:

1. Breakfast

  • Start your day with a bowl of high-fibre cereal or oatmeal topped with chopped fruits like berries or a small portion of dried fruits. 

  • Or, you can have vegetable oats upma with a side of yoghurt

  • Include a glass of low-fat milk or a plant-based milk alternative. Else, you can make a green smoothie with spinach, cucumber, and mint

2. Mid-Morning Snack

  • Opt for a handful of nuts like almonds or walnuts

  • Pair it with a serving of Greek yoghurt or a small portion of cottage cheese

3. Lunch

  • Include a generous portion of cooked whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat roti

  • Pair it with non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers

  • Add a source of protein like lentils, legumes, or tofu

  • Include a side of low-fat yoghurt or raita (cucumber yoghurt salad) for added flavour and probiotics

4. Evening Snack

  • Choose fresh fruits like apples, oranges, or pears

  • You can also have a small serving of roasted chickpeas or makhana (fox nuts), or a handful of roasted seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds

  • A cup of green tea

5. Dinner

  • Similar to lunch, prioritise whole grains, vegetables, and plant-based proteins

  • Consider preparing mixed vegetable curry, stir-fried tofu or paneer, and a small portion of whole grain bread or roti

  • You can also go for quinoa and vegetable pulao with raita, or moong dal and spinach soup with a side of multigrain toast

Indian Diet Plan for Diabetes: For Non-Vegetarians

A balanced non-vegetarian diet plan for diabetes should include lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre, and healthy fats. Here's a sample meal plan:

1. Breakfast

  • Start your day with a couple of boiled eggs or an omelette made with egg whites and loaded with vegetables, with a side of whole grain bread or roti

  • You can also consider preparing Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice

  • Add a glass of low-fat milk or a plant-based milk alternative

2. Mid-Morning Snack

  • Choose a serving of Greek yoghurt, paired with a handful of mixed nuts and seeds

3. Lunch

  • Include a palm-sized portion of lean protein such as chicken curry, or grilled fish

  • Pair it with a generous portion of salad or cooked/steamed vegetables

  • Add a serving of whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat roti, or pasta

4. Evening Snack

  • Opt for fresh fruits like berries or a small serving of sliced lean deli meat

  • Or a cup of green tea with a few almonds or walnuts

5. Dinner

  • Lentil and vegetable soup with a side of grilled chicken

  • Baked fish with sautéed veggies and a small serving of brown rice

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Managing Diabetes with Horlicks Diabetes Plus

Horlicks Diabetes Plus is a high-fibre health drink specifically made for at-risk and diabetic individuals in India. It includes two high-fibre components, NUTRIOSE® and FIBERSOL, which help manage blood glucose, cholesterol, and lipids. It fulfils 26% of your daily fibre needs, offers protein and 16 essential nutrients, and boosts energy to fight fatigue. This drink has no added sugar, making it suitable for diabetics and pre-diabetics. Additionally, it aids in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Foods to Avoid or Limit

Identifying which foods can spike blood sugar levels is essential for managing diabetes. When following an Indian diet plan for diabetes, it's essential to avoid or limit the following foods[5]:

  • Sugary foods like pastries, candies, and soft drinks

  • Fried and high-fat foods like samosas, pakoras, and buttery curries

  • Processed and canned foods high in salt and sugar

  • Red meat and full-fat dairy products

Indian Diabetic Diet Chart - Some Essential Tips

1. Meal Prepping & Batch Cooking

Planning your meals in advance can help you make healthier choices and avoid last-minute temptations. Create a weekly meal plan, taking into account your dietary needs and preferences. Cooking large quantities of food at once can save time and ensure you have healthy meals ready when you're short on time.


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2. Staying Active

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Additionally, include strength training exercises at least twice a week to build muscle and improve insulin sensitivity.

Alongside, ensure to practise stress-management techniques and get adequate sleep of 7-9 hours every night.

3. Snacking Smartly

Smart snacking can help you manage your appetite, avoid overeating, and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Opt for nutrient-dense snacks that combine protein, healthy fats, and fibre, such as nuts, seeds, yoghurt, and fresh fruits. Portion your snacks to prevent overeating. Use tiny containers or pre-portioned snack packets to aid with portion management.

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The Takeaway

Managing diabetes doesn't have to be complicated. By adhering to a well-balanced Indian diet plan for diabetes, staying active, and making wise lifestyle choices, you can lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to tailor a diet plan that suits your specific needs and preferences. Stay dedicated to your well-being, and you'll be on your way to better managing your diabetes.



1. What is the best Indian food for diabetes?

Lean protein sources like tofu or fish, leafy green vegetables, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, and low-fat dairy foods are among the best Indian foods for diabetes.

2. What should diabetics eat daily?

A well-balanced meal of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats is ideal for diabetics. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sources of healthy fats like nuts and seeds can all fall under this category.

3. Can diabetics drink milk in the morning?

Yes, diabetics can drink milk in the morning. However, choose low-fat or skim milk and watch the portion size to ensure that it falls within your daily intake of carbohydrates. It's best to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalised advice.

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