This post is close to me as I have been working on it for the last couple of months.  I have been compiling diabetic tips and recipes for my family and friends on request.  There have also been readers enquiring about more suggestions and tips to avoid low blood sugars, (mostly ladies with gestational diabetes and I have been sending them a small meal plan and ideas to keep their blood sugars under control during pregnancy. I have been compiling these articles over the years.

This was a basic meal plan, which my nutritionist presented to me, when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was carrying my twins.  She worked on a carbohydrate meal plan to suit my eating habits and blood sugars . I built it gradually to suit our Indian meals. Here are some pointers before we go on to the meal plan and the list. At first, it was difficult for me and very confusing to calculate the carbohydrates, protein, and fats with every meal but eventually I got used to it and these days with every meal I can calculate quickly and plan my meals accordingly. This comes in handy all the time and helps with overall health. With every food products, check the labels for fats, sugars, sodium, carbohydrates etc. to take control of what you eat.

1. At one point any white products did not go well with my blood sugars and I started using whole grains like brown rice, oats,  wheat, ragi (red millet), quinoa etc. It is always better to check the blood sugars 2 hours after having anything different and also on a regular basis to keep a tab on what kinds of foods affect your blood sugars.
2. Use of artificial sweeteners:  I try using natural sweeteners like palm sugar, monk fruit, maple syrup etc. while making sweets, so that I don't get deprive or start craving for certain desserts. Agave nectar does not raise my blood sugars, so I have been using it regularly but it did raise my father's blood sugar when he tried it for first time.  Like before it is important to check the sugars with these kinds of sweeteners like agave nectar, palm sugar etc. These are the ones with high fructose content.
3. Including vegetables and one source of protein always worked well with my blood sugars.
4. Fruits and vegetables: With diabetes, each person's blood sugars react differently with certain kinds of fruits and vegetables, so once you are diagnosed with diabetes, check for the fruits and vegetables which affects your blood sugars and avoid them or have them in moderation. For me usually potatoes, mangoes, and pineapple raise my sugars, so I have been avoiding them.

General idea about how a diabetic-friendly meal plan works:
This meal plan is to give a general idea about carbohydrate meal planning works.  These menu ideas and suggestions given here are on how to plan for a low carbohydrate diet based on low-carb and diabetic friendly recipes.  Please note that it is always important to consult a dietician before starting a diet or exercise regimen where they will provide with a custom-made meal and work-out plan based on your sugar and cholesterol levels.  The meal plan also varies accordingly if any diabetic medications or cholesterol-lowering medications are used.

Here 1 carbohydrate serving group is around 15 grams of carbohydrate and is also referred as 1 carb     serving.  Similarly 1 protein serving equals 6 grams of protein and 1 fat serving equals 3 grams of fat.  It is always important to include at least 1 serving of protein with every meal and snack for diabetics in order to feel full and thus reducing the overall intake of more carbohydrate servings.  A person without diabetes or has preexisting diabetes can usually have 2-3 servings of carbohydrate along with 1-2 servings of protein and 1 serving of fat with every meal.  Usually 1 serving i.e. 3 grams of fat is the ideal amount of fat that should be included in one's diet and preferably from “good fat”sources like nuts, avocados, etc.


Exchange list for some Indian foods: 
I am also sharing the exchange list for typical Indian foods, which was provided by a dietician.  This list is based on 1 serving of carbohydrate and protein in some of our regular Indian foods. 



Non-starchy vegetable side dishes                  ½ cup (equals one serving of carb or 15 grams of carbohydrates)

Naan                                                                ¼ of 8 inch by 2 inch

Whole wheat naan                                          6 inch round

Rice                                                                 1/3 cup

(Please note that both white rice and brown rice have the same amount of carbohydrate except that brown rice is rich in fiber, which makes us feel full with lesser quantities)

Cooked cracked wheat                                   1/2 cup

Oatmeal                                                           1 cup

Sambar with vegetables                                  ½ cup

Idli                                                                  3 inch round

Dosa                                                                9 inch round

Plain cooked toor or channa dhal                   ½ cup

Plain cooked mung dhal                                 ½ cup

Plain cooked chickpeas or any other beans     ½ cup



Plain cooked toor or channa dhal                   ½ cup (Equals one serving of protein or 6 grams of protein)

Plain cooked mung dhal                                 ½ cup

Plain cooked chickpeas or any other beans     ½ cup


BREAKFAST MENU PLAN AND MENU IDEAS:  (Adding vegetables and protein to every meal reduces the carbohydrate intake thus reducing the overall blood sugar spikes.  This idea is incorporated here by adding as much as veggies in the main dish and side dishes along with 1-2 servings of protein.  This also makes us feel full without the excess carbs.


2-3 carbohydrate groups

(to choose from)




1-2 Protein group

1 Fat group


Breakfast Menu Ideas:  The breakfast ideas listed here fall into the less than 40 grams of carbs, more than 6 grams of protein, and less than 3 grams of fat category.  These can be modified according to individual needs and taste.  H ere I have mostly included only ragi, oats, and whole wheat as these grains do not raise the sugars that much since they are made with complex carbohydrates.  These can be substituted with rice if needed.  The idea here is taking small portions or small meals at regular intervals so as to control the blood sugar spikes that is followed by a heavy meal.  Taking in between snacks that are rich in protein is also one way to stay full without feeling deprieved.

1 cup of oats pongal or wheat pongal along with vegetable sambar or any dhal with veggies, 1 small glass of juice or milk (also added to beverages like tea or coffee)

 2-3 idlis or 2 dosas along with any side dishes rich in vegetables and protein followed by a glass of milk or juice or a fruit (optional).
3-4 small-size puris along with ½ cup of any low-carb sides.  If potatoes are included, reduce the side dish quantity to ¼ th cup.

 1 cup of vegetable upma with chutney 1 small glass of juice or milk (also added to beverages like tea or coffee).

 2 adais with 1 cup of aviyal with preferred morning beverages.
1 cup of ragi or cracked wheat puttu along with a small banana.
2 slices of whole wheat of multigrain bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and sugar-free jam along with a glass of milk or juice or a cup of fruit or ½ banana.

2 slices of whole wheat or multigrain bread with an omelet (vegetables and cheese also can also be added to the eggs and only egg whites or a combination of whole eggs and egg whites can be used).

1 cup of oatmeal topped with 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts, and ½ cup of fruits or juice).

1 cup of low-sugar cereal topped with ½ cup of fruits with ½ cup of milk.

Here are a list of breakfast recipes from my blog to plan based on the carbohydrate meal plan presented above.

Wheat rava/cracked wheat puttu

Ragi puttu

Vendhaya/ fenugreek dosai

Sweet wheat rava adai

Spicy oats porrdige/soup

Ragi/red millet and greens adai

Wheat rava/cracked wheat vegetable idli

Oats keerai pongal

Oats uppu urundais/kozukattais

Oats vegetable masala upma

Wheat paripoorana pongal / thalitha pongal

Wheat rava/cracked wheat vegetable upma

Wheat idli

Instant wheat idli

Cracked wheat usili

Godumai inipu dosai/ sweet wheat crepes

Wheat rava kesari

Low carb savory pancakes uthappam style

Oats and cracked wheat rava idli

Pesarattu / moong dhal dosa

Ragi idli

Cracked wheat rava pongal

Brown rice uppu urundai

Oats Pongal

Tofu scramble for breakfast

Spinach and cheese eggwhites omelet


Umamaheswari Anandane said...

Useful post for all Gita. This is a great list and thanks for taking time to post this one :)

nandoos Kitchen said...

Very useful post Geetha. Thanks for sharing.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Thanks a lot Gita for this healthy and tasty breakfasts. have bookmarked this post.

remya sean said...

really useful...great work....

Menaga sathia said...

very useful post dear,thxs for sharing it!! said...

Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing
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nancyrobert2011 said...

definitely a perfect kid friendly breakfast

healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss

nancyrobert2011 said...

definitely a perfect kid friendly breakfast'

healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss