Ramadan 2024: 13 healthy Iftar options and recipes for diabetics - Hindustan Times

Managing diabetes during Ramadan 2024: Check out these 13 diabetic-friendly food options and recipes for Iftar

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Mar 12, 2024 05:28 PM IST

Ramadan wellness while managing diabetes: Savour these 13 diabetic-friendly Iftar dishes in 2024 and avoid these ingredients to control your blood sugar levels

Observing Ramadan with diabetes requires careful meal planning, particularly during Iftar hence diabetics should opt for recipes that not only cater to managing blood sugar levels but also tantalise the taste buds. Remember to monitor blood sugar levels for peace of mind and aim for balanced meals comprising complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and fiber.

Managing diabetes during Ramadan 2024: Check out these 13 diabetic-friendly food options and recipes for Iftar (Photo by P.Kriangsak)
Managing diabetes during Ramadan 2024: Check out these 13 diabetic-friendly food options and recipes for Iftar (Photo by P.Kriangsak)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Manjunath Malige, Director at Diabetes and Endocrinology at Sakra World Hospital in Bengaluru, advised, “Quench thirst with hydrating treats like watermelon and soups, indulge in slow-digesting carbs such as brown rice and quinoa and opt for lean proteins like chicken and fish to stabilise blood sugar and curb hunger. Enhance insulin sensitivity with healthy fats from avocados and nuts and practice portion control to prevent blood sugar spikes.”

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According to him, following are some delightful Iftar recipes tailored for individuals with diabetes -

1. Watermelon and Paneer Salad: Toss watermelon cubes with crumbled paneer and torn mint leaves. Squeeze lime juice over the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve chilled for a refreshing twist on a traditional Indian salad.

2. Chickpea and Spinach Curry with Brown Rice: Heat olive oil in a pan, then sauté chopped onions, garlic, and ginger until they become tender. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, and a hint of garam masala, and cook until the aroma is released. Incorporate chopped tomatoes and canned chickpeas, allowing the mixture to simmer until the sauce thickens. Introduce fresh spinach and cook until it wilts. While this is cooking, prepare brown rice according to the instructions on the package. Serve the chickpea and spinach curry atop the cooked brown rice.

3. Lentil Soup: Sauté onions, carrots, celery and garlic until softened. Add lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and spices. Simmer until lentils are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

4. Indian Yogurt Delight: Prepare the Indian Yogurt Delight by layering yogurt, diced fruits and crushed nuts in a glass. Add a dash of cardamom powder between each layer for enhanced taste. Continue layering until the glass is full, ending with a yogurt layer on top. Decorate with additional fruit and nuts for garnish. Serve chilled.

5. Baked Chicken: Chicken breasts seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, and herbs, baked alongside fresh vegetable spears until tender, served with a squeeze of additional lemon.

Dr Manjunath Malige added, “It's crucial to advise individuals with a history of allergies to any of the ingredients to abstain from consuming this dish. Furthermore, it's recommended to consult a doctor to adjust medication doses for improved suitability during Ramadan, ensuring effective blood sugar control while minimising the risk of hypoglycemia.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Rajeshwari Panda, HOD, Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Medicover Hospitals in Navi Mumbai, said, “Iftar during Ramadan is the meal Muslims consume to break their fast at sunset. It's a significant moment of communal and family bonding. Typically, Iftar begins with the consumption of dates and water, following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad. Then, individuals engage in prayer before partaking in a meal consisting of a variety of dishes. These dishes often include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to replenish energy levels after a day of fasting. Iftar is also a time for charity and hospitality, with many people inviting guests to share in the meal. The spirit of Iftar emphasizes gratitude, reflection, and compassion, fostering a sense of unity among believers.”

Adding to the list of some Iftar options and recipes suitable for individuals with diabetes in an Indian context, Dr Rajeshwari Panda recommended -

  1. Grilled Chicken Tikka:

· Marinate chicken breast pieces in a mixture of yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, and spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder.

· Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and grill until cooked through.

· Serve with mint yogurt dip and a side of salad.

2. Mixed Vegetable Stir-Fry:

· Saute mixed vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and beans in a non-stick pan with minimal oil.

· Season with spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and a pinch of garam masala.

· Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot.

3. Chana Chaat:

· Mix boiled chickpeas (chana) with diced onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and boiled potatoes.

· Season with chaat masala, black salt, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of roasted cumin powder.

· Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve as a flavorful and filling snack.

4. Fish Curry with Spinach:

· Prepare a curry base with onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic.

· Add spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi).

· Add fish fillets and simmer until cooked.

· Stir in chopped spinach and cook until wilted.

· Serve with brown rice or whole wheat roti.

5. Stuffed Bell Peppers:

· Cut bell peppers in half and remove seeds.

· Stuff with a mixture of cooked quinoa, mixed vegetables, and paneer (cottage cheese).

· Bake in the oven until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through.

· Serve with a side of mint yogurt dip.

6. Egg Bhurji (Scrambled Eggs):

· Saute onions, tomatoes, and green chilies in a non-stick pan with minimal oil.

· Add beaten eggs and scramble until cooked.

· Season with salt, pepper, and spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander.

· Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with whole wheat toast or roti.

7. Vegetable Dalia (Broken Wheat) Upma:

· Sauté mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies in a pan with minimal oil.

· Add diced vegetables like carrots, peas, and beans, and cook until slightly tender.

· Add pre-cooked dalia (broken wheat) and mix well.

· Season with salt, turmeric, and a pinch of asafoetida (hing).

· Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot.

8. Low-Sugar Fruit Salad:

· Combine diced fruits like papaya, guava, kiwi and berries in a bowl.

· Squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle it with chaat masala.

· Serve chilled as a refreshing and nutritious dessert option.

Dr Rajeshwari Panda concluded, “These Iftar options provide a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, helping individuals with diabetes to maintain stable blood sugar levels while enjoying delicious and nutritious meals during Ramadan. Adjust spices and seasonings according to personal preferences, and remember to monitor portion sizes to keep blood sugar levels in check. Avoid sugar, honey and jaggery.”

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