Traditional ingredients found in Indian cuisine offer a nutritious solution for Indians living with diabetes. Learn how these ingredients come together and make delicious Indian food for diabetes management.

Living with diabetes doesn't have to be overwhelming, especially for Indians. Thanks to traditional ingredients found in Indian cuisine, diabetics can manage their condition with the help of a nutritious diet without missing out on flavour! In this article, you will learn how harnessing the power of an Indian diet could be helpful for those dealing with diabetes!

Daily Dietary Requirements in Diabetes

Listed below are the daily dietary requirements for diabetics:

Nutrient Recommendation
Carbohydrates 55-60 % of energy should come from carbohydrates
Fibre 40 g/day (2000 Kcals)
Fat 20%-30% of total calories should come from fat. From this:
Saturated fats (SFA): ≤10% energy
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA): 10 % energy
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA): 10-15% energy Trans fats: < 1% energy (to be avoided the most)
Proteins 12-15% of the total energy should come from protein
Salt (iodised) Less than 5 g/day.

It’s important to note that these values may vary for different individuals, and it is important to always consult your healthcare advisor before making any substantial changes to your diet.

Indian Food for Diabetics

The following are certain types of Indian food for diabetes management that you can incorporate into your daily diet:

Food type Examples Benefits
Cereals and millets    Ragi, jowar, bajra These low GI foods cause a slow rise in blood sugar levels, making them an essential part of an Indian diabetic diet. 
 Pulses and dals  Kidney beans, soybeans, peas
 Dairy foods Low-fat milk, dahi,  These foods are necessary to maintain strength and are loaded with protein and good fat. 
 Non-vegetarian foods  Lean meats like chicken, fish like mackerel
 Vegetarian foods  Palak and rajgeera These contain important minerals and vitamins, and also help regulate sugar levels. 
 Oils and spices Vegetable oils like mustard and coconut oil which have high polyunsaturated fatty acids Spices like curry leaves (kaddi patta), turmeric, and cinnamon   These oils offer good glycemic control and improved insulin sensitivity, making them an essential part of an Indian diabetic diet for diabetic patients. Spices are full of antioxidants and iron and have anti-inflammatory effects, saving them a spot in the Indian diet for diabetes.  

Important Nutrients Required by Diabetics


Dietary fiber plays a pivotal role in regulating the digestion process and maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Notable sources of fiber-rich foods include:

  • Millets like ragi and bajra
  • Pulses and dals like kidney beans and lentil dal
  • Vegetables like carrots, amaranth leaves
  • Dry fruits like figs and dates


Consuming protein can have numerous benefits, including improved glycemic control, increased satiety, and preservation of lean body mass during weight loss for individuals with diabetes and prediabetes. Foods rich in protein that are good for diabetics include:

  • Cereals and millets like amaranth seeds, samai and brown rice
  • Pulses and dals like chickpea and lentil dal
  • Oily fish like mackerel and sardines
  • Lean meats like lamb and skinless chicken
  • Vegetables like drumstick leaves and methi leaves

Good fats:

Incorporating foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can effectively reduce your cholesterol levels. Here are some examples:

  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Vegetable oils like olive oil and peanut oil


Numerous beneficial plant compounds, including flavonoids, lignans, and prophenylphenols, have been known to effectively fight the complications of diabetes. Additionally, consuming foods rich in these phytochemicals may be linked to a reduced risk of diabetic nephropathy. It is recommended to include vitamin A, fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and olives in their diet.

Indian Breakfast for Diabetes

An Indian diet for diabetic patients can include:

  1. Ragi idli: This dish is rich in fiber (2.0g) and calcium and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
  2. Bajra upma: Bajra upma is a delectable, gluten-free dish that utilises whole-grain bajra, which can be combined with your choice of veggies.

Indian Lunch For Diabetes

Here are a few examples of Indian food for diabetics fit for lunch:

  1. Ajwain millet roti: This gluten-free roti goes well with any stew or vegetables and is packaged with protein, making it a great addition to Indian food for diabetes management.
  2. Palak sambar: This fiber (2.8 g) packed dish is perfect for the Indian diet for diabetes, combining the goodness of spinach with the tangy taste of sambhar.

Indian Dinner for Diabetes

Given below are a few options of Indian food for diabetics that make a perfect dinner:

  1. Baby corn kadhi: Made with besan and yoghurt, this is a healthier alternative to the classic kadhi with the same yummy taste for a diabetic Indian diet.
  2. Palak methi paneer:: It’s a quick North Indian dish, loved by all, that is also rich in protein and flavour, making it perfect for an Indian diet for diabetic patients.

Indian Snacks for Diabetes

Here are a few fun and tasty snacks for diabetic patients

  1. Vegetable salad with nuts: Loaded with fiber (3.36g) and protein (2.33 g), this simple snack is perfect for loading up on essential nutrients.
  2. Sprouts besan cheela recipe: With a good amount of protein and dietary fibre, this dish is a tasty and nutritious snack. It offers numerous health benefits because of its low glycemic index, making it an ideal breakfast.

An Indian diabetic diet can also include snacks like dry fruits, roasted pulses, and fresh fruits.


Indian food offers a wealth of options for individuals with diabetes, thanks to its emphasis on balanced nutrition and the use of beneficial herbs and spices. The diabetic Indian diet should include ample sources of protein, high-fibre carbohydrates, and healthy fats such as pulses, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and oils like mustard and coconut. By embracing the power of Indian food, diabetics can enjoy flavourful and nutritious meals while managing their condition effectively.