A standard meal plan for Southasians with diabetes

By Arubiyyah Qadir Balouch

Diabetes is an epidemic in the Southasian sub-continent, and the main culprit is the high carbohydrates and the sweets. The spice in the food is not the cause of it, however what follows after eating a very spicy food rich in carbohydrates (rice and flour), is lots of sugar or sugar related foods. Sweets are consumed after dinner or lunch.This consumption of sugary treats as well as high carbohydrate consumption is what has created a very unhealthy environment for southasians.

However one must note that all southasians don’t have the same cuisine. In India, wheat Chapatis (pita) are regularly eaten whereas in Bangladesh rice is the main carb eaten with every food. In Pakistan, rice and Chapatis are eaten in equal numbers. The meal plan below has incorporated the Canadian and the Southasian meal plans together to create a simple plan for southasians. Middle-easterns can also follow the same menu with certain replacements. Chapatis can be replaced by Pitas, Vegetable Currry can be replaced by a vegetable tagine. Dhal (lentils) are also consumed by mediterranean people, but in the form of non-spicy soups. Such improvisations can be easily incorporated

According to Diabetes Canada Website, a meal plan for southasians should be like this:

2 Whole wheat chapati (6”, 15 cm each)
Vegetable curry
Low-fat plain yogurt (¾ cup, 175 mL)
Blueberries (1 cup, 250 mL)
Tea or coffee – no sugar

Rice, basmati/brown (1 cup, 250 mL)
Lean chicken (2 oz, 60 g)
Green salad (1 tsp, 5 mL low-calorie dressing)
½ Medium mango
Tea or coffee

Afternoon Snack:
1 medium apple or small banana

2 Whole wheat chapati (6”, 15 cm each)
Dhal (1 cup, 250 mL)
Green salad
Sabji (no potato) with tofu (1 oz, 30 g)
Low-fat plain yogurt (1/3 cup, 75 mL)
1 Medium peach
Chai tea – no sugar, with low-fat milk (½ cup, 125 mL)

Evening Snack:
Hummus (2 tbsp, 30 mL)
Whole grain crackers (4)