Meal Planning

When you find out you have diabetes there are so many things to learn! One of the first things you may want to know is – what can I eat? Choosing healthy foods can help you control your blood glucose. A daily meal plan is an important part of your diabetes management, along with physical activity, blood glucose checks, and often diabetes medications.

There is no one meal plan that works for everybody with diabetes. This guide will provide you with three ways that may help you plan your meals.

  • Balance Your Plate: Many people with diabetes like to keep meal planning simple. This food plan can help you to easily portion out your food.
  • Food List for Meal Planning and Personal Meal Plan: If you want to count servings of food and follow a plan that is good for your diabetes too, check out the Food List for Meal Planning and the Personal Meal Plan. This plan will help you know how much of carbohydrate, protein, and fat you can eat each day.
  • Carbohydrate Counting: There are many carbohydrate foods to enjoy, including grains, fruits, vegetables, milk products and those with sugar. Carbohydrate foods raise your blood glucose level more than proteins and fats. This meal planning approach helps you to keep track of how much carbohydrate you eat at your meals and snacks. Many people who take insulin like to use this plan.

Some key things to remember no matter which meal plan you choose to follow:

  • Keep your food intake consistent from day to day
  • Make half your grains whole grains
  • Choose whole fruits and vegetables often
  • Go with lean protein
  • Get your calcium-rich foods
  • Know your limits on fats, salt, and sugars
  • Choose water instead of sugary beverages, juice “drinks”, and sports drinks

Checking your blood glucose will help you to see how your food choices affect your blood glucose control.

A Registered Dietitian (RD) can help you make a meal plan that best meets your needs and lifestyle. Ask your healthcare provider, diabetes educator, hospital, or local diabetes association for the names of RDs in your area who work with people that have diabetes.