It is not easy being a diabetic. Oral drugs or insulin are of absolutely no use if the person concerned is not willing to change the life style and the eating habits. Diet then is an important part of the daily routine of a diabetic.
All diabetic recipes must avoid Sugar as far as possible. Artificial sweeteners can be resorted to, but remember products high in fat and cholesterol, which have been artificially sweetened by aspartame, or saccharin should not be consumed in the name of a being a diabetic diet. Their high calorific content makes them unsuitable for diabetics.
A vegetarian diet is an inherent part of any diabetic recipe. South Indian dishes like idlis and dosa, which have very little fat content, are good for them. Idlis contain a mixture of rice and Bengal gram dal, which is soaked, ground and then allowed to ferment. As idlis are steam cooked, the question of fats do not arise. Idlis or dosas can be taken for breakfast. A little known but very good for diabetics is porridge made from ragi (nachni). The ragi is ground into flour and this flour is mixed with water and cooked for a while. A semi solid paste when mixed with buttermilk or curd is not only filling but also good to control the blood sugar levels.
In India, Khichidis, which are a mixture of rice and toor dal, are filling and acceptable for diabetics. Broken wheat cooked just like rice is another alternative. It can be eaten in the same way as rice is. However, there is nothing like the ubiquitous Indian roti, which is filling and can be prepared in many ways. Wheat flour made into a dough and rolled into rotis which can be prepared on a tava or tandoori rotis which can be made on a tandoor, bhakris and naan are nutritive and at the same time fat free. The good thing about them is that they raise the blood sugar levels very slowly. Dal is a good protein supplement and vegetables like bitter gourd, tomatoes, lettuce and other leafy greens, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage can be prepared as dry side dishes. Sprouts are filling and are full of nutrition and should be a part of the meal. They can be cooked with salt and masala and eaten directly or mixed with the juice of lime and a pinch of salt. Both the varieties are tasty and healthy alternatives. Methi (fenugreek seeds) turmeric powder, tender mango leaves can be used liberally in diabetic recipes.
Grapefruit, jambul, apple, orange and mosambi can be made into juice. Diabetics should either eat a fruit or drink juice. While making apple juice, add milk instead of water.. Diabetic recipes include vegetable soups and salads. Vegetables like cabbage, tomato, celery, spinach, can either be cooked together or separately. To the broth of the soup add a pinch of salt and a dash of lime. It tastes wonderful. For salads, finely sliced cabbage, cucumber, capsicum, can be mixed with a pinch of salt. To this mixture add thick curd and sauté the mixture with mustard seeds. A sprig of parsley or dhania adds to the flavor.
With a little perseverance, a little patience and with the right attitude diabetics can actually enjoy the food they eat. It is not easy but at the same time it is not very difficult. Exercise, nutrition, and the correct amount of calories can a go a long way to help regulate blood sugar levels. The advantage of a vegetarian recipe for a diabetic is that diabetics can feel that they control the disease and the disease does not control them.