Healthy diet is not only essential for people with diabetes but for every one of us as it is the need of hour to prevent diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and other life style disorders. A diabetes meal plan is a guide that tells you how much and what kinds of food one should choose to eat at meals and snack times.
Some meal planning tools include:

  • 1/2 nonstarchy vegetables 
  • 1/4 grain foods/starchy vegetables
  • 1/4 lean protein 
  • Fruit and/or dairy on the side
  • Healthy fatsNote: There is no single diet or eating pattern that is ideal for everyone with diabetes.


Carbohydrate counting, or "carb counting," is a meal planning technique that helps you to keep track of how much carbohydrate you are eating.

Which foods have carbohydrates:  

  • Grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley
  • Grain-based foods like bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn
  • Fruit and juice
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers
  • Sweets and snack foods like sodas, juice drinks, cake, cookies, candy, and chips
  • Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower have a little bit of carbohydrate but in general are very low.

One starch exchange* contains approximate 15 grams of carbohydrate, 2-3gm protein , 0-1 gm. fat and 80 calories. Whole grains are always a better choice.

Bread 1 slice medium= 1 chapathi  around 6 inches= Idli 3 inch round= 1 plain dosa= rice 1/3RD cup = 1small potato=oats ½ cup= 4 marie biscuit= 3glucose biscuits= 2 rusk = 3cup popcorns without fat =1/2cup pasta or noodles = dhokla 1 square = 3 pani poori = ½ hot dog accessed on 22nd April 2015


One exchange of fruit* contains approximate 15 grams of carbohydrate, no protein or fat, and 60 calories. Fruits should be taken along with edible skin and seeds.

Apple, small (2 inches)½=   Banana (9 inch long)=1 small cheekoo (saputa) = 15 grapes= 1 guava medium= ½ mango small or 1 slice large= ¼ medium musk melon or 3 slices = 3slices of papaya = 1orange = 1medium pear = ½ pomegranate= 2slices of pineapple= 1medium peach accessed on 22nd April 2015

Carbohydrate content (CHO) of common food items

Menu Quantity CHO Content(gms)
Cooked Rice 1/3 Cup 15
Chapati 1 medium 6 Inch 1 medium 15
Vegetable (Non Starchy) 1 Cup 5
Poha ½ Cup 15
Curds ½ Cup 6
Milk 1 Cup 12
Apple 1 small 15 accessed on 10th July

  • Glycemic Index is a scale that ranks CHO foods based on the principle how much and how quickly raise blood glucose levels compared to bread and glucose.
  • Low GI foods are considered better choices compared to high GI foods.
  • A low GI food will release glucose slowly & steadily.

Low GI Foods (55 or less)

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumper nickel bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
  • Pasta, converted rice, barley
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI (56-69)

  • Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
  • Quick oats
  • Brown, white or basmati rice, couscous

High GI (70 or more)

  • White bread or bagel
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • Melons and pineapple

American Diabetes Association. Last edited July 1, 2015

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  • Exercise helps improve fitness, burn calories and thus reduce body fat and control weight. For the best health benefits, experts recommend 10,000 steps a day of moderately intense physical activities which is equivalent to 30 minutes of walk or 150 minutes per week
  • Keeping one’s weight in proportion to height is an effective way to control diabetes and manage pre- diabetes. Keep a watch on your body weight and waist line.

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1. Estimated from IDF 7th Atlas 2015
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