The pandemic gripping the entire world today has affected our health in varying ways. On one side, being locked in, we are eating home cooked food made with fresh ingredients and with our families. Traditional recipes are making a comeback into our lives. This is good and healthy. On the other side, we have seen that lack of physical activity, the stress of the scare of getting infected and prolonged stay at home is creating mental and physical ill-health. With respect to diabetes, from day one, Doctors have been telling us about the increased risk of infection in people with underlying co-morbidities like Diabetes, Heart disease, stroke and people of older ages.
Research has shown that Diabetics are at a higher risk of COVID infection, and at a higher risk of the severity of the infection and complications that come with SARS- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Emerging evidence also points towards the fact that this infection makes diabetes control difficult because of the treatments involved. Conversely, uncontrolled blood sugars make controlling the infection that much more challenging. Also, it has been seen that a lot of obese and pre-diabetics have become Diabetics with the onset of COVID infection. To protect against the infection, Diabetics are not stepping out, thus leading to a lack of physical activity. Add to this poor food choices, stress, uncontrolled blood sugars, and increased BMI. It seems like a vicious circle, but you can break this by making the right choices for a healthier lifestyle.
Here Are 5 Tips For Diabetics To Eat Right During Covid-19:
1. Eat At The Right Time: This time isn't a weekend; you are at home to stay safe and it's a long time. Eating at proper times means a better regulation of blood sugars by preventing binge eating, supplying a steady and measured carbohydrate in the blood preventing spikes and troughs. Eat within 1 hour of waking up and eat every 3-4 hours. Three well-planned major meals, with two snacks in between is a good strategy to follow. Close the kitchen by 9pm, take a cup of milk at bedtime.
2. Add Whole Grains: Make sure you add whole grains in at least 3/4th meals. They ensure a slow and steady supply of carbs, keeping up your energy levels. Whole grain fibre slows down the release of glucose into the blood and at the same time provides many beneficial vitamins and minerals. Millets like Jau aka Barle, help control blood sugars. Try using them in one meal in two days at least.
3. Benefits Of Eating Protein: Proteins don't just build up a healthy body, they also add to the satiety value. Adequate protein intake for an adult is about 0.8g/kg body weight as per the recent guidelines of National Institute of Nutrition. High protein diets with very low carbs may be followed, but only if your doctors decides as they need very close follow-ups and monitoring. They have shown to control very high sugars but must not be tried without your doctor/dietician by your side. Plant proteins like legumes- Rajma, chana, lobia are excellent for sugar control. Low-saturated fat animal proteins from fishes, chicken breast, eggs can also be included safely. Fat free/ low fat milk and dahi also add quality proteins. Dahi or yogurt is a probiotic that enhances gut health which is directly related to better sugar controls
4. Fats Oils And Nuts & Seeds: Healthy fats from plant sources like, Olive oil, Peanut oil, Rice bran oil in combination with Mustard or sesame oil have a beneficial effect on our health. Recent research has highlighted that replacing excess carbohydrates and saturated fats with healthy fat choices improves both blood sugars and insulin control. Eating an ounce of nuts & seeds, at least thrice a week, has shown better sugar controls and heart health.
5. Fruits And Vegetables: Fill up half your plate with vegetables and salads. Choose seasonal and colourful. Add the whites, greens, reds, orange and ensure that your body gets not just fibre but also lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against infections, oxidative stress and boost the immune system. Two fruits a day make a good snack providing little carbs, with fibre and electrolytes keeping you full and your sugars stable.
Diabetes Meal Plan | Full Meal Plan For Diabetics At Home
So what should a Diabetic meal plan look like? Choose at least 4 components from each of the food groups to make a major meal:
1. 2 small multigrain bread slice + 1 egg boiled/poached/ scrambled/ omelette+ 1 cup milk
2. 2 stuffed multigrain or whole wheat roti + big bowl of Dahi + mint chutney
3. 2-3 Idly/ dosai + Thick sambar 1 bowl + Dahi or thick lassi
1. 2 chapati + 1 big bowl Rajmah + 1 big bowl palak+ Dahi
2. Parboiled rice (cooled down) + thick sambar or chicken breast in gravy + Cauliflower+ 1 Bowl dahi
3. Multi grain burger Bun + grilled Paneer / Chicken patty + lots of cucumber, lettuce leaves, tomato slices + 1 glass cold coffee. Make a burger at home, use mustard instead of Mayo
4. Veg Pulao + sprouts salad 1 bowl + Dahi or Chicken Biryani + Mixed Veg Raita which contains one bowl of vegetables.
1. Roasted foxnuts or makhana + 1 table spoon roasted peanuts
2. Boiled corn with Paneer cubes
3. Grilled/raw vegetables with 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter
4. 1 fistful of almonds + walnut + chia seeds
These are just guidelines to explain balanced meals, get your personal diet plan from a registered nutritionist.
In addition to this, exercise. Even if you aren't going out, please take out 30-45 minutes and choose a workout that helps get your heart rate up. 10,000 steps are ideal and 15,000 steps prevent NCD's (Non-communicable diseases). Start today, add 250-500 steps every alternate day.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay at home.
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About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.