Is Poha a Healthy Breakfast Option for Your Blood Sugar Levels?
India is a land of diverse cuisines, but there is no denying that we have some favorites that are popular across the subcontinent one of them is – Poha.
This versatile breakfast item has different versions across the country from kande pohe, vegetable poha, and chura ka pulav. And its popularity is inevitable, it is easy to make and the ingredients are easily available.
So, let us understand how this breakfast favorite ranks when it comes to your blood sugar levels.
In this article, we will understand the GI of poha, what are the health benefits of poha, and how to make poha a healthy breakfast choice when you are trying to manage your diabetes. So, let’s take a deep dive!
How is Poha made?
Poha is usually made out of white rice that has been made by beating rice that is then turned flat. It is a very popular food item that is prepared in different ways in different parts of India.
How does Poha affect your blood sugar levels?
Poha is made out of flattened white rice therefore its major component is carbohydrates. Depending on how it is made it has a GI of between 38 to 64. However, the calorie count will depend on your quantity and cooking style.
A traditional recipe of Poha will raise your blood sugar levels and it will be a sharp spike as it is mainly carbohydrates. It will also not help you make full for a longer period of time.
Usually, poha is eaten with farsan and a cup of chai. All these items are low in protein and fiber and high in carbohydrates and fats.
However, the exact effect that Poha has on your blood sugar levels depends on your personalized glycemic response. You can measure the same with the help of a CGM device or a smart glucometer which is a part of the Fitterfly’s Diabetes Management program.
You can also use the Fitterfly Wellness App and add your food entries which will be mapped with your blood sugar entries to determine your PGR.
The Fitterfly App’s food diary will also give you a calorie, macronutrient, and micronutrient breakdown of your meals. So now you will know how poha affects your blood sugar levels and the nutritional value of Poha.
Does Poha have any health benefits?
As already mentioned that traditional cooking methods and eating combinations of poha are carbohydrate-heavy and don’t have any specific health benefits.
However, brown rice poha is slightly high in fiber, and poha that has been flattened manually in an iron motor pestle is high in iron. However these days most poha is factory-made.
Is brown rice poha good for people with diabetes?
As we have mentioned, brown rice poha is slightly higher in fiber. But is not the healthiest option for people with diabetes until it is eaten with the right combination.
What is the best way to eat poha?
If you are someone who is trying to lose weight or manage your blood sugar levels. It is best to eat brown rice poha that is loaded with vegetables, pulses, and sprouts.
Also, try to add roasted peanuts, and sprouts to your poha instead of farsan. This will add a source of fiber and protein to your breakfast. You can also consume poha with a side of eggs or curd.
Making this a balanced meal, that will help you feel full for a longer period of time and lead to a steady rise in your blood sugar levels instead of a steep spike.
This will help prevent hunger pangs and therefore prevent you from indulging in unhealthy snacks. Which is usually what we reach out for when we are hungry.
Steep blood sugar spikes when eaten traditionally with no source of protein or fiber
Steady and lesser blood sugar spikes when eaten with a source of protein
Here’s a healthy poha recipe that people with diabetes can try:
1) Mixed sprouts and poha recipe
You will need
- Mixed sprouts of your choice – boil and keep ready
- Any cold pressed unrefined seed oil of choice
- Rai seeds or mustard seeds
- Curry patta or curry leaves
- Chopped onions
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped beans
- Haldi powder
- Salt as per taste
- Hara matar or green peas
- Chopped dhaniya leaves or coriander leaves
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
How to make
- Lightly wash the poha in a chhalni or sieve.
- Drain it and keep it aside moist.
- Heat some oil in a pan on low flame.
- Add the rai seeds and let them start to crackle.
- Now add the chopped onions and the chopped green chilies and cook on low to medium flame.
- Let the onions turn light brown or golden in color.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes, green peas, and beans and cook till the vegetables are tender
- Now add the boiled mix sprouts and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add salt and haldi powder and keep cooking for another minute while you stir the mix.
- Add the poha and mix everything well.
- Cook this on a medium flame for about 2 to 3 minutes, till the moisture evaporates and the poha is nicely cooked.
- Now add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and garnish with the dhaniya leaves on top.
Should people with diabetes eat poha daily?
As we have mentioned before in this article. The best way for you to determine the foods that should be a part of your diet chart when you are trying to manage your diabetes.
It is important to map your PGR and then create a truly personalized and effective diet plan that you will be able to follow for a long time.
If you enroll in Fitterfly’s diabetes management program, our nutritionist coach will do this for you throughout the program.
As for poha, if you eat it and cook it in the ways we have suggested this breakfast favorite can definitely be a part of your diet every now and then.
Diet is one of the most important aspects of diabetes management and it is also one which is most difficult to nail, due to all the misconceptions and misinformation out there.
Armed with a team of the industry’s best experts Fitterly is here to help you make the right choices for your blood sugar levels.
Also, remember that managing diabetes extends beyond diet into a consistent and committed effort for making lifestyle changes related to exercise, stress management, and sleep management. If you or a loved one is struggling to manage diabetes. Reach out to our program advisors here.
India's top Diabetes nutritionists are here to help