If you can manage the carbs, Indian is a great dining option.
Indian food can be a very healthy options when it comes to eating out with diabetes. The cuisine boasts plenty of bean-centered dishes, which offer tons of high-fiber, high-protein options that are loaded with flavorful (and disease-fighting!) spices.
That means the one thing you need to focus on to manage diabetes at an Indian restaurant is the carbohydrates. These restaurants can load you up with rice, bread, and sugar, so here are tips from nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, for eating Indian food when you’re managing diabetes.
Manage the portion size. This is the number one rule at any restaurant, regardless of the cuisine. You probably need to eat way less than you think you do. If you’re eating at an Indian buffet, start small and pace yourself. You can always choose to get seconds of the dishes you really love.
Choose your protein first. Decide whether you’re having animal protein (chicken or fish is best) or sticking to meatless options like beans or tofu. Not sure where to start? These are the proteins dietitians recommend.
Pick your carb. Focus on whatever carb is most desirable to you, whether it’s naan, basmati rice, beans, or even potatoes (mmm, aloo gobi). FYI, if you’re having animal protein, then any beans you eat will count as a carb. That means you’ll need to limit other carbs you may want. Here are more tips on counting carbs with diabetes.
Look for complex carbohydrates like brown basmati rice or whole wheat naan. These have more satiating fiber than the white flour version. Keep portions of rice to ¾ to 1 cup, or stick to one slice of naan.
Chickpeas or lentils make a great high-protein side dish.
Avoid fried foods like samosas and poori.
Steer clear of ingredients high in saturated fat like ghee (clarified butter) and korma (coconut milk). This includes the classic masala sauce, which is made with coconut cream.
Look for tomato-based sauces like tandoori or tikka, which tend to be lighter in fat and calories.
Be cautious with raita (yogurt sauce). This is served as a condiment to many Indian dishes. Ask for it on the side so you can control how much you have.
Buffet style? Plan wisely. Instead of taking “a little of everything,” pick a protein and a carb, and then manage the portions.
Want more tips? Here are Richter’s tips for a healthy diabetic diet.
Sharon Richter is a registered dietitian with a private nutrition practice in New York City.
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Are you craving Indian food?
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I'm gonna tell you how you still can have
it thought it might seem to be loaded with
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Look at the menu and
start planning from the top to the bottom.
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Are you going to be having some chicken,
or fish, or meat?
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Then pick your beans and
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then we'll decide on the type
serving size of your carbohydrate.
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Do you want the bread, the naan?
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Are you looking for
some rice or may be potatoes?
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Which one is the most desirable for
you and you can have it?
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Just watch the portion on it.
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So if you are having rice,
something like a basmati rice,
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which may be brown is
a great choice to have.
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Also they might even have whole
wheat naan available for you.
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If you choose the rice to have about
three quarters of a cup to a cup, or
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you want one piece of naan.
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And a lot of the dishes are loaded with
good sources of protein that are very high
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in fiber, such as lentils and chickpeas.
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If you start mixing some animal protein,
such as chicken or
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fish, those beans are gonna count in
your body more like carbohydrates.
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So, your rice or your bread, you're gonna
wanna cut back a little bit more on that
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portion if you're adding the beans in and
an animal protein.
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So some things we wanna avoid is the fried
food, such as samosas and pouri.
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Also, we want to just be careful of ghee,
which is clarified butter, and
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coconut milk, because those are both
high in calorie and saturated fat.
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Other tomato-based sauces that don't use
cream are great, tandoori and tikka.
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You just wanna watch if there's
a lot of yogurt on things.
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If it's with the food that you're
ordering, maybe get it on the side,
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so that you can control
the amount that's being used.
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Often, when you're
thinking of Indian food,
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it might be a beautiful buffet
of many different options.
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So when you're going up to the buffet,
we're gonna have a protein,
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then maybe you have some lentils.
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So we wanna watch the portion on that, and
then watching your carbohydrate portion.
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Don't try to have a few of everything,
because it does add up quickly.
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Indeed, is terrific, because it can have
a lot of delicious spices that don't
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have a lot of calories,
sugar, etc., in them.
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But you wanna really just make sure you're
watching the volume that you're having.
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