Did you know that prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes in the long run? When it comes to preventing the progression of prediabetes, the choice of food can be your medicine to a great extent, for what’s on your plate has a direct link to your blood sugar levels. By making small adjustments to your meals using a prediabetes diet plan (aka pre diabetic diet), you can effectively manage your blood sugar and keep it within the healthy range!

Diabetes has become part of the colloquial language for most Indians, given the number of people being diagnosed with it every year. All of us may be aware of at least one person in our family with this medical condition. However, even before diabetes manifests in its full form, there is a period before it, which is termed “Prediabetes.” Prediabetes is an alarming state where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not as high yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

When you're diagnosed with prediabetes, your cells do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells utilise glucose (a type of sugar) for energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, they can't process glucose effectively, leaving it circulating in your bloodstream. This resistance, along with increased insulin production, results in prediabetes and may eventually lead to diabetes.

It is studied that 537 million people worldwide have diabetes, and of those, 90 million are in Southeast Asia, with a whopping 77 million in India alone! That's a prevalence rate of 8.9% which is only expected to rise in the coming years. Since this is a condition without symptoms, it may be difficult to identify those at risk. According to WHO, being overweight, above the age of 45, and physically active less than 3 times a week are certain risk factors for developing prediabetes.

Diet, stress, and physical activity play a crucial role in contributing to the onset of several lifestyle diseases like diabetes. But the good news is that prediabetes can be reversed, and this blog will outline a prediabetic meal plan that can assist you in its prevention and management, ensuring you stay fit and healthy!

Why Your Diet Matters for Prediabetes

Diet has a direct link with prediabetes, and studies have found that foods with a high amount of sugar, fat and salt are associated with an increase in the risk of developing diabetes over time. Similarly, those who consume beverages that are loaded with sugar on a regular basis may also be prone to developing prediabetes, as these food items can spike blood glucose levels rapidly in a short time.

Food Groups to Manage Prediabetes

By opting for an effective prediabetic meal plan, one has the chance to manage and prevent this condition to a great degree. Nutritional therapy is one of the most promising strategies, recommended for people with prediabetes to delay or halt its progression to type 2 diabetes. Following is a list of foods for the management of prediabetes:

1. Whole grains:

When formulating a prediabetes diet plan, whole grains are considered superior to refined grains. Examples of whole grains include barley, brown rice, quinoa, and millets like ragi, foxtail, and kodo millet. Since they are unprocessed and have complex carbohydrates, they raise blood sugar levels gradually, and prediabetics can benefit remarkably from them. Some options to consume them include ragi dosa, bajra dal khichdi, and brown rice veg pulao.

2. Pulses/Legumes:

Pulses and legumes like rajma and dal are excellent sources of protein. A high-protein diet may contribute to the remission of prediabetes and is a must in a borderline diabetic diet.

3. Milk and dairy products:

Low-fat dairy products and fermented milk products are associated with decreasing the rates of prediabetes and can significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Thus, prediabetic meal plans must contain skimmed milk and low-fat dairy products. Buttermilk is an excellent milk-based beverage option to add to your prediabetes diet plan.

4. Non-Vegetarian Foods:

Fish and lean meat are great sources of high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, making them beneficial for people with prediabetes.

5. Green leafy vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, amaranth, and fenugreek leaves contain a wealth of micronutrients and fibre that are proven to be beneficial in the prevention and progression of prediabetes. They can be incorporated in the form of a palak curry, amaranth sabzi, and methi peanut sabzi for a  borderline diabetic diet.

6. Nuts and dry fruits:

Nuts are a good source of energy, protein and serve as excellent snack options. A few servings of nuts like pistachios per day can have a positive impact on blood sugar parameters.

Foods to Limit in a Pre Diabetic Diet:

  • Added sugars, including candies, desserts like rasgulla and jamun, and jams and jellies
  • Sugar-loaded beverages, including fruit juices and carbonated drinks
  • Bakery food products like white bread, cakes, pastries, cookies, and biscuits
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Foods containing trans fat, as found in fried delicacies like french fries

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet for Prediabetes?

Iit is not only about the foods that you consume in a borderline diabetic diet; small lifestyle changes can also have a significant impact on managing this condition. Here are some tips that can help you to further aid the effects of a good prediabetes diet:

Opt for low glycemic index foods:

Glycemic Index is quite the buzzword in the world of prediabetes. Low GI refers to those foods which, on consumption, will raise our blood glucose levels slowly, as opposed to the other foods that cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin. These include unprocessed foods that contain complex carbohydrates and fiber, which ensure that sugar is released from the food into the bloodstream very slowly.

Engage in physical activity:

Individuals with prediabetes should undertake at least 150 mins of physical activity in a week as lower incidences of diabetes are seen in people who maintain an active lifestyle.

Relax your mind:

Factors like stress, anxiety, and depression have a crucial role to play in contributing to prediabetes, and by cooling down, you can positively improve your mental health. By prioritising your mental health, you can take a comprehensive approach to managing prediabetes and improving your overall quality of life.

Get adequate sleep: Sleep plays a major role in the production of hormones like insulin and glucose metabolism, which is why one must aim to get between 7 - 9 hrs of sleep per day.


Prediabetes is an asymptomatic condition, which means several people do not even know they have it, eventually leading to its manifestation into diabetes with overwhelming symptoms. However, once an individual is diagnosed with prediabetes, its progression can be monitored, and it can also be reversed by switching to a prediabetic meal plan that includes a wide range of low GI foods and excludes simple sugars and deep-fried foods.

It is essential to prioritise healthy habits and make them a part of your daily routine to achieve long-lasting results. With the right mindset and dedication, it is possible to overcome prediabetes and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.