6 Northern Nigerian Food Guide for Diabetics

Healthy eating is essential when it comes to the management and prevention of diabetes. Blood sugar levels are impacted by carbohydrates more than by proteins and fats.  Foods such as pastries, soft drinks, rice and corn are high in carbohydrates and results to sugar level spikes. This does not necessarily mean that you should avoid them completely but eat everything in moderation. Below is a guide for the diabetic especially for the common foods eaten in Northern Nigeria and is applicable to weight-loss as well.

Gero/Jero (Millet)

Common in Northern Nigeria and the main ingredient used in fura da nono, Millet is one of the few whole grains that contain proteins. It contains amino acids that are the building blocks of your muscles and is digested slowly and thus doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Millet is a good alternative to tuwon masara(corn flour meal) and dawa (guinea corn flour meal) especially for diabetics.



Fonio does not raise blood sugar levels quickly and is very good for diabetics. Acha grain or Fonio comes in two varieties the black and white variety. A grain very rich in amino acids and minerals. A great substitute for couscous.

Plantain Flour/Fufu

Plantain flour is healthier than the yam flour version for amala/fufu


beans dumpling danwake
Photo Credit: http://www.dobbyssignature.com/

The brown or black-eyed peas are familiar to most Nigerians. Dan wake is another popular northern dish that is ideal for diabetics.



garden eggs
Photo credit: berrydakara.blogspot.com

Fruits and vegetables should be a regular part of a diabetic’s diet. They are perfectly balanced with the right amount of fiber and natural sugars among other nutrients. Diabetics should eat certain fruits such as pineapple and sugar cane in moderation which contributes in sugar spikes. Yalo (Garden eggs) are said to help lower blood sugar and have very few calories. Many northern vegetable soups such as miyan kuka, kubewa etc also qualify when eaten with a low carb swallow.

Oats/Wheat flour


Popularly know by some as “Quaker oats” is usually soaked in water for a few minutes, and then cooked on low to medium heat. Wheat flour is also a good alternative to tuwon masara(corn flour meal) and dawa(guinea corn flour meal).


Please feel free to provide your suggestions for healthy alternatives for diabetics in the comments section.

Some references in this article where obtained from Naija Chef

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