South Indian Diabetic Diet Plan

South Indian diet is meant for the people of 5 states – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka and one Union Territory – Pondicherry.

People having diabetes need to be more cautious with their diet plan especially south Indians because rice is the staple food for them. So, it is important to have a personal meal plan that can help you to control the calories intake with right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

By planning your diet in a proper way, you can not only keep the blood sugar levels under control but also enjoy different varieties of south Indian regional flavors.

Meal Pattern for the Traditional South Indian Client with Diabetes Type 2
Meal Typical
Total Calories : 3585
CHO : 525 gm (59%)
Protein : 128 gm (14%)
Fat : 107 gm (27%)
Total Calories : 1905
CHO : 269 gm (55%)
Protein : 88 gm (18%)
Fat : 58 gm (27%)
7:30 A.M.
-1 cup coffee with whole milk 3 Idlis OR
-1 plate of Upma
-2 tbsp. of coconut chutney
-1 cup of coffee with 1/2 cup fat free or 1% milk
-2 Slices of whole wheat or multi grain bread toast
-2 tsp. of Margarine
-2 small Idlis OR
-1 cup of cracked wheat upma with 2 Tbsp. of tomato/veg or dhal Chutney
10:30 A.M
None -1 Fresh fruit (a small apple)
-1Cup diluted buttermilk (1/2 cup low fat yogurt and 1/2 cup water)
12:30 P.M.
-3 cups of White rice
-1 cup Sambhar
-1 cup Rasam
-1 cup green plantain curry
-1 cup mixed veg. koottu
-1 cup curds/whole milk yogurt
-1 or 2 fried papadums or potato chips
-2 tsp ghee,
-1 ½ cups of Brown rice OR
-2 small rotis with ½ cup of brown rice
-1 cup Sambhar or dhal
-1 Cup Rasam
-1 cup green beans curry
-Shredded Carrot Salad with lemon juice
-½ cup fat free yogurt
-1 small roasted pappad/appalam
-2 tsp oil in cooking
4 P.M.
-2 murukkus/chaklis (pretzel like fried)
-Coffee with whole milk
-½ Cup dry cereal mix (made with puffed
rice, puffed wheat and 6 peanuts or 4
-1 Cup coffee with fat free milk
7:30 P.M.
-3 cups of cooked white rice
-100 gm of fish, chicken, or lamb (Non-vegetarians)
-1 cup sambhar or dhal based vegetables
-1 cup fried vegetables such as Potato or Lady’s finger
-1 cup whole milk yogurt
-Pickles/pappads etc
-1 cup cooked brown rice or cracked wheat
-3 oz fish or white meat chicken (Non-vegetarians) OR
-1 cup whole gram dhal or chick peas sundal
-1 cup spinach curry (dry or wet)
-1 cup Raita with grated cucumber (½ cup low fat yogurt and ½ cup cucumber)
-2 tsp oil in cooking
9:30 P.M
-1 fresh fruit
-1 cup ice cream
-1 Kiwi or small orange
-4 walnuts or 12 peanuts

Below is another table which holds a list of healthy foods for diabetics which are recommended to use regularly (on the left side column). This data should be quite helpful.

This section below also has the list of unhealthy things which should be preferred less often (on the right side column).

Yes, the below diabetic diet options are all for  South Indians.

Healthy Foods (use often) Not-so heart healthy (use less often)
Starches Starches
-Idli – steamed, low fat
-Dosa cooked with minimum oil
-Upma made with cracked wheat
or Quinoa or Pohe
-Idlis topped with a lot of oil
-Dosa roasts using extra oil or butter
-Uppuma with liberal amount of oil or ghee
Meat or meat alternatives Meat or meat alternatives
-Dhal or kootu or Sprouted mung dhal
-Dhal Adais w/ controlled oil and veg.added
-Chicken Tikka
-Pan-fried fish w/masala
-Dhal with excess ghee or oil
-Dhal Adais with excess oil
-Fried chicken
-Fried fish in coconut sauce
Vegetable dishes Vegetable dishes
-Stir-fried green vegetables such as
-cabbage curry/pallya
-Mixed Vegetable kootu with
-Minimal coconut
-Fried Potato curry with excess oil
-Aviyal with a lot of coconut, Potato/Plantain
Dairy Dairy
-Buttermilk made w/ skim or low fat milk
-Pal kootu or Majjiga pulusu w/low-fat curds
-Buttermilk w/ whole or 2% milk
-Pacchadi (Raita) w/fried boondi
Fruit dishes Fruit dishes
-Plain fresh fruits
-Plain Jack fruit or mango
-Banana Panchamritham w/jaggery, ghee&nuts
-Chhakkapradaman w/nuts/fruits

Additional tips for healthy changes in the food habits:

  • Don’t wash rice several times before cooking
  • Avoid excess portions of white rice and if possible replace it with brown rice which is rich in fibre content and hence helps in controlling blood sugar.
  • You can also replace rice with a variety of grains such as cracked wheat, oats, barley, quinoa, ragi, and other millets.
  • Use minimum amount of oil while cooking and it is healthy to use oils like olive, canola or peanut oils, as they are high in monounsaturated fats.
  • Replace starchy vegetables like potato, green plantain with green vegetables.

  • Use fat free, skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk.
  • Avoid deep fried snacks and prefer dry roasted and baked foods which are made with less or no oil.
  • Prefer lean cuts of animal protein like meat and poultry and also make sure that you are taking only appropriate portion sizes. Limit the consumption of eggs to 3 per week and prefer egg whites to yolks.
  • Limit taking high salty foods like pickles, chutneys, papadams, etc. And for diabetics with high blood pressure it is better to avoid those things.
  • Desserts must be made only with the recommended quantities of fresh fruits. Artificially sweetened low fat desserts or desserts with minimal amount of real sugars may be used but in control.
  • Drink plenty of water – at least 6-8 cups a day.
  • Learn to read the nutrition labels of the packaged foods and take them according to the recommended intake.

Tips for party planning:

These tips tell you how to take a controlled diet in a party or any other social gathering which includes food.

  • Even before leaving to the party take some light snack or a bowl of soup so that you feel less hungry at the party.
  • At the party, try to avoid fried snacks. Also use small plates and fill them with healthy snacks along with appetizers.
  • Prefer drinks like lemon seltzer and avoid sodas and alcohol
  • While having the main course try to fill your place with ½ salads and green vegetables, ¼ with rice, ¼ with chicken, fish or other protein foods.
  • In desserts try to choose fruits.

Source: The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)

* Though the diet plans are specially designed for diabetes patients by the expert group, we suggest you to check with your physician before practicing this diet, as the diet plans may vary based on the individual’s medical conditions.

<< Back to main article

You may also like to read:
What is Diabetes?
Causes and symptoms of diabetes
Impact of Diabetes on Person’s Health
How to Manage Diabetes

4 comments on “South Indian Diabetic Diet Plan”

  1. sankararao says:

    Good food advise. It is more benefit to diabetics.

  2. narendra kumar says:

    Prevention is better than cure. More food more risk. We earn money in young age but save for old age expenses not for medical expenses. Please note health is wealth….but if u give important to wealth you may loose your health where your wealth will be first enemy to your health.

    I thank you sir for your health chart. Thanks for caring for healthy society..

  3. Devi RADHAKRISHNAN says:

    Really of great help.thanks for the effort and time!

  4. M.s.n. murty says:

    I like very much as it is very useful.thank you very much.I expect like this to bp also as it is much useful not only to me but also so many others also who are suffering with the same.