Tips for a diabetes-friendly Diwali

By Liji Varghese | Updated: Nov 03, 2013, 10:09 AM IST

Liji Varghese

Dining out, indulging in greasy, spicy food, gorging on endless servings of sweets - a plethora of unhealthy food is what festivities bring in, or rather what we choose for ourselves - after all celebrations come as an easy excuse for setting aside all the `DIET` plan. And this over-indulgence which can leave a normal, healthy person feeling sick and nauseated, can have drastic implications on diabetics, as for them festivities are more of a bitter than a sweet tale.

Following a strict diet plan, calculating the number of calorie intake and worst of all keeping the mouth-watering, sugar dripping confectioneries at bay can actually take the fun out of the celebrations.

So it sounds like devouring on food is something diabetics cannot and should not do. True. Considering the body’s inability to break down sugar efficiently, negligence can have grave consequences.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself from fun, frolic and FOOD. Don’t let the restrictions dampen the spirit of the celebration. Here are a few ways to make this Diwali diabetes-friendly:


  1. Go sugar-free: Since you are a diabetic you already know what going sugar-free means. With the chronic illness making an inroad into most of the households, the shops next door do make it a point to keep sugar free sweets for its every increasing consumer base.
  2. Check the Nutrition Facts Label: This means not only checking the sugar content but the total amount of carbohydrates that includes starch, fiber, sugar and sugar alcohols. Foods labelled sugar-free may still be harmful as it may contain carbohydrates. Since carbs break down into glucose, they may have a great impact on the blood sugar levels.
  3. Switch to natural sweeteners: Opt for natural sweeteners like dates, raisins or fruits instead of artificial ones.  Stevia, a sweet tasting natural herb, raw honey, date sugar can help keep a check on the blood sugar levels.  
  4. Cook in olive oil: Switch to olive oil instead of the regular cooking oil. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which is considered a healthy dietary fat. MUFs help control blood sugar levels, keep triglyceride levels in check, reduce LDL cholesterol levels, and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
  5. Follow the compensatory rule: So you have been invited to a relative’s place for dinner and the servings would be more than tempting for you to resist. Since you know in advance, compensate beforehand. Eat a low calorie, low carb, low fat diet in the day. Keep aside your caffeine intake, opt for salads and eat in small portions. This way a bit of extra indulgence will not take a toll on your blood sugar levels. However try to go easy on rich, spicy food.  Try to eat grilled, baked food instead of fried food.
  6. Increase your physical activity: Festivities are no excuse to go easy on your exercise regime-to burn those extra calories you need to notch it up a bit. But the thought of an extra hour in the gym can dampen your festival mood. No need for an extra gym hour. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to your friend’s palce, take time to cook your own meal and shake a leg at the party. These easy, everyday activities help burn a lot of calories.
  7. Avoid alcohol: Alcohol interferers with the body`s ability to break down carbohydrate which can cause hypoglycemia in diabetics. Whether you are a diabetic or not controlling or avoiding alcohol intake will only do good to your health.
  8. Sharing is caring: Try to eat with a partner. Sharing means you take a smaller portion size. Don`t accumulate the sweets in the fridge. Instead share it with friends or give it away to the less privileged.
  9. Get your blood sugar tested: Keeping a check on the blood sugar levels will help you plan out your celebration accordingly. Get yourself checked before and after Diwali. Keeping a close watch can help avert a serious medical situation.