Covid-19 and Diabetes: Expert tips and diet plan

Ms Susan Itty, Clinical Nutritionist, Aster Medcity, Kerala

The effects of the pandemic have been pondering on our daily schedule & food habits since its start. On one side, we are getting used to the work from the home norm, and on the other side, we are eating our homemade food.

With us being used to homemade food, we are away from physical activities. Additionally, the stress of staying away from infection has created a lot of mental stress. It becomes really difficult for someone who is unhealthy, for example a diabetic patient, to cope up with the stress. Doctors have constantly been motivating us to stay healthy, eat healthy food since the start of this pandemic.

Balanced and healthy nutrition is an important component of diabetes management in COVID-19. It is therefore important for people with diabetes to eat a varied and balanced diet to keep their blood glucose levels stable and enhance their immune system.

You must try to follow the healthy habits we have here for you. Try to inculcate one after the other, instead of adopting all at one go.

Recommendations for diabetic patients during the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Give priority to foods with a low glycemic index (e.g. vegetables, whole wheat pasta/noodles)
  • Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods
  • Limit consumption of foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat
  • Choose lean proteins (eg. fish, meat, eggs, milk, beans after fully cooked).
  • Eat green, leafy vegetables
  • Eat fruits in two or three servings
  • All cereals like rice, wheat, ragi, oats, jowar, maize, etc., may be eaten in moderate amounts and preferably in the coarse form, rather than refined / polished form.
  • All pulses can be eaten and sprouts are the best to use.
  • All vegetables  can be included in the diet except underground vegetables. Underground vegetables like Carrot, Beetroot and Radish can be eaten as salads, and 50gms can be eaten once in a week after cooking.
  • All fruits can be savored on daily basis with a 100-150gm portion in a day, provided you have a stable blood sugar control. Please note that fruits are to be eaten as whole fruits along with edible skin and not taken as fruit juices or milk shakes etc.
  • Use skimmed milk (boil milk, cool it, remove cream; repeat this process two times) in limited amounts or as curd. Buttermilk can be consumed.
  • Non-Vegetarian foods are best when lean portions are eaten; for instance, skinned out chicken, small fish, egg whites. Red meat should be used sparingly.
  • Moderate amounts of salt may be used in cooking but adding extra salt or using pickles / sauces / ketchups etc. is best avoided.
  • Oil for cooking is important for health and should be used in proper amounts.  Sunflower oil, Olive oil, Rice bran oil, Sesame seed oil, Ground nut oil are some healthy choices.
  • There are some food items which may be consumed freely in – between meals as they are very low in calories but they can reduce the feeling of hunger and give a certain feeling of satiety. Eg. Clear soups, sprouts, salads, thinned buttermilk.

We have devised a sample diet plan for you to help you adapt to the recommendations listed above.

Sample Diet Plan for Diabetic Patient in Covid-19

  • Early Morning

    • Tea/ Coffee/Milk
  • Breakfast

    • Idly / Dosa/Upma/Wheat bread
  • Midmorning Snack

    • Sprouts/Fruits/Veg Salad/Veg Soup/buttermilk
  • Lunch

    • Rice/Chapathi
  • Evening Snack

    • Sprouts/Fruits/Veg Salad/Veg Soup/buttermilk
  • Dinner

    • Chapathi/Wheat Dosa/Rava Idli/Upma
  • Bedtime

    • Milk

We suggest you start following the sample diet plan as early as possible.

If you feel the need to consult a doctor, you may avail Aster’s tele-consultation services by booking an appointment at https://asterhospital.com/ or https://asterclinic.ae/