Crafting the perfect diabetic diet chart for Indians: See what doctors recommend

Indian diabetic-friendly diet charts can be broadly categorised into vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and low-carb high-fat options.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Jul 03, 2024 | 7:00 AM Updated Jul 03, 2024 | 5:37 PM

diabetic diet chart.

A diabetic diet chart is essential for people diagnosed with diabetes to keep the level under control, however, the difference in food choices among Indians makes it difficult to have a common-for-all plan.

Indian diabetic-friendly diet charts can be broadly categorised into vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and low-carb high-fat options, and it’s crucial to consult doctors for personalised advice.

“Diabetes management is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Dr KN Manohar, an endocrinologist at Manipal Hospital.

“It requires a personalised prescription-based approach. The first and foremost component of this prescription is a well-balanced diet. For this a diabetic food chart also needs to be personalised,” he added.

To delve deeper into this, South First spoke with several endocrinologists to understand how to design a diabetic-friendly food chart.

This article guides crafting diabetic plates, with suggestions from leading endocrinologists.

Also Read: Did you know this food is excellent for diabetes control?

Basics of a diabetic diet chart

Dr Srinivasa P Munigoti, Consultant-Endocrinology at Fortis Hospital based in Bengaluru emphasised, “A well-constructed diabetic friendly plate ensures a balanced intake of non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats and low glycemic index fruits. This helps in preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.”

A standard diet chart for diabetic patients must include:

Non-starchy vegetables: Fill half your plate with these (eg: broccoli, spinach, carrots etc)

Lean protein: Such as fish, chicken, beans, and lentils which will keep you feeling full.

Whole grains: Such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, which provide sustained energy

Healthy fats in moderation: Such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil which promotes heart health.

Low-glycemic fruits: Opt for berries, apples, and pears, to minimise blood sugar spikes.

Also Read: Why are men at higher risk of diabetes complications than women?

What to limit in a diabetic diet chart

Refined carbohydrates: Whitebread, pasta, sugary cereals etc., which cause blood sugar spikes.

Sugary drinks: Sodas, juices which are loaded with sugar

Unhealthy fats: Fried foods and processed meats increase the risk of heart disease.

High-glycemic fruits: Bananas, mangoes, and grapes can cause blood sugar spikes.

Importance of Glycemic Index

Keeping the Glycemic Index low is the key to a diabetic diet chart

Dr Shivaprasad C, Consultant Endocrinology at Kinder Hosptials in Bengaluru said a diabetic patient should be extremely conscious of the glycemic index of the diabetic diet.

Glycemic index (GI) is the measure of how soon a food could make blood sugar (glucose) rise.

“Food items that contain only carbohydrates have a high GI. The higher the number, the more it could increase blood sugar. Food items with a number between 1 and 55 are considered low GI, from 56-59, foods are medium GI and high GI is 70 or higher,” he said.

Food items with low Glycemic Index (GI)

Whole wheat, oats meals, soya, low-fat skimmed milk, eggs, brown rice, basmati rice and multigrain bread are recommended by Dr Shivaprasad.

He said fruits like apples, guava, berries, grapes and plums could be consumed.

Vegetables like beans, cabbage, carrot, onions and broccoli also are low in GI.

Avoid red meat and shellfish as they are contributing factors for diabetes, he added.

Sample diet for diabetic patient in a day

Doctors claim that a diabetic can have:

  • Breakfast
  • Mid-morning snack (can include fruit, buttermilk/lime juice, coffee or tea without milk and sugar, sprouts, nuts)
  • Lunch
  • Evening snack
  • Dinner

Diabetic patients should not fast or feast, said Dr Shivaprasad adding that they should eat fibrous food and drink plenty of water.

Cooking methods for a diabetic-friendly diet:

  • Grilling, boiling and steaming are recommended as cooking methods.
  • One must consume food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (fish, flax seeds) etc.
  • Avoid fast food items, deep-fried, bakery foods, and foods high in saturated fat.

Sample vegetarian diet chart for diabetic patients


  • Oats Upma: Made with rolled oats, mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas), and a touch of turmeric and cumin for flavour.
  • Side: A small bowl of fresh fruit like papaya or guava.


  • Mixed Vegetable sabzi: A medley of non-starchy vegetables cooked with minimal oil and spices.
  • Whole Grain Roti: Made from whole wheat flour or Tomato chapati with palak paneer/millet khichdi
  • Dal Tadka: A bowl of lentils tempered with cumin, garlic, and a bit of ghee.
  • Salad: A fresh salad of cucumber, tomato, and carrot with a dash of lemon.


Chana Chaat: Boiled chickpeas mixed with chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro, sprinkled with chaat masala.


  • Palak Paneer: Spinach cooked with cottage cheese, seasoned with garlic and spices.
  • Brown Rice: A small portion to complement the curry or Methi jowar roti.
  • Raita: Yogurt mixed with grated cucumber and a pinch of cumin powder.

Dr Abhay Gundubati, an endocrinologist from Bengaluru, advised, “Vegetarian diets can be rich in fibre and antioxidants. The key is to choose whole grains over refined ones and include plenty of non-starchy vegetables to maintain blood sugar levels,”

Sample diet chart for diabetic non-vegetarians


  • Egg Bhurji: Scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes, and green chillies or Just three boiled egg whites.
  • Whole Grain Toast: Two slices, preferably without butter or Ragi idly, whole wheat dosa, bisibelebath (Sambar rice) etc. (Food items less GI).
  • Side: A small portion of fresh fruit like apple or orange.


  • Grilled Chicken Salad: Grilled chicken breast served on a bed of mixed greens, with a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, and cucumbers.
  • Quinoa: A small portion as a side dish (only 100g).
  • Millets work well too (only 100g).
  • Ragi ball also can be had instead of quinoa or veggie and chicken pasta salad (whole wheat elbow pasta) or tandoori chicken wraps.


Handful of almonds and walnuts.


  • Fish Curry: Fish fillets cooked in a coconut milk-based curry with spices.
  • Steamed Vegetables: A mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Multigrain Roti: Made from a mix of whole grains.

Nutritionist Reema N from Bengaluru, highlighted, “Non-vegetarian options should focus on lean proteins like chicken and fish, which are low in saturated fat and provide essential nutrients. Pairing these with high-fibre vegetables ensures a balanced meal.”

Low-carb High Fat (LCHF) diabetic food chart

While several endocrinologists advise a low carb for diabetics diet these days, South First spoke to Shashikant Iyengar, a renowned metabolic health coach who advocates a “Low Carb High Fat” diet for the management of all metabolic health diseases and suggested this simple diabetic plate menu for Indians:


  • Paneer Bhurjee: Scrambled paneer with vegetables prepared in ghee or butter.
  • Masala Omelette: Eggs with onions, tomatoes, green chillies etc prepared in butter.
  • Moong Sprouts Dosa/Pesarattu: Enriched with grated paneer/cheese.
  • Can add up some hung curd/greek yoghurt, nuts, various types of cheese and avocado.


  • Chicken/fish curry: made with cream, served with a side of cooked or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Palak paneer: Spinach with paneer, cooked in ghee or butter, served with a side of cooked or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Option of having low-carb roti made of almond flour and coconut flour or a ready mix of low-carb flour.


  • Butter chicken with low-carb gravy served with a side of cooked or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Cauliflower rice as pulao or low-carb roti. Add paneer cubes and serve with a side of cooked or stir-fried vegetables.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)

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