Festivals, in all their color and splendor, are a time when the palate is at its indulgent best. Sweets, Snacks, Savories, and some more sweets… the list is endless. However, if you are a diabetic, needless to say, you have cause to worry. A long season for celebrations just translates to an extraordinarily long season of anxiety and worry for diabetics.
Research has shown that the blood glucose levels run hay-wire during the festival season. Consumption of sweets and dry fruits lasts longer; sometimes even a month. Therefore, it is very important to keep a sharp check on blood glucose levels through and through!
In the olden days, the joint family system facilitated collective efforts on such occasions. Because there were at least three generations under one roof, the food on the table encompassed a wide variety- including food of semi-solid consistency, which makes it not only easier to digest for toddlers and elders but are less in sodium, oil or ghee and most certainly, in spices.
Today’s nuclear family in celebratory mood rustles up large quantities of food, which are dense in calories and rich in only two nutrients- Carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, it becomes imperative that a diabetic eats right. Here are some tips for those with diabetes to eat right and enjoy the festive season at the same time.
- Eat a bowl of vegetables or fruits before a meal. Fruits should be largely water melon, papaya and guava. Other fruits can form one-third of the bowl and add variety. Apple, plantain, straw berry, musk melon, pomegranate or half a cup of grapes can fit the bill. Mixed vegetable and fruit salads are also welcome. Vegetables can be any of the salad vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, onion, capsicum.
- Go for semi-solid foods, mostly steamed and containing less oil or ghee and spices. Khichdi, from rice and dhal, cooked to a porridge consistency is a good example. Using grated vegetables as garnish, not only adds color and cheer to the modest khichdi, but nutrition too.
- Kheer can be made from dhal or whole pulses such as green gram, kidney beans. A little jiggery can be used and top it up with milk to give a nice flavor and taste. Fiber in the whole pulses helps keep the glycemic index low in the kheer, when made this way. A dry version of the same pulse can also be made as a sweet with no ghee at all.
- Usually cashews are used in sweets. Replace them with almonds, figs or flax seeds. These are rich in fiber, besides providing the crunchy taste.
- Instead of avoiding completely fried foods, the diabetic can just settle for one small piece. Family members ought to encourage the diabetic to follow his regimen rather than force them to eat the wrong foods, even if it be for just a day.
It is very important for diabetics and their families to work together to maintain blood sugar levels at accepted norms even during festival days.