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Nutrition Articles  ›  Special Concerns

Meal Planning Tips for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Putting It All Together

-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
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Here's a sample meal plan that uses the carbohydrate counting method:

Breakfast Carbohydrate Count
1 scrambled egg 0
2 slices whole-grain toast 2.0 (30 grams)
1 tsp margarine 0
1/2 cup orange juice 1.0 (15 grams)
Breakfast Total: 3.0 (45 grams)
Snack 1 Carbohydrate Count
1 medium orange 1.0 (15 grams)
Snack Total: 1.0 (15 grams)
Lunch Carbohydrate Count
1 cup skim milk 1.0 (15 grams)
2 slices bread 2.0 (30 grams)
Low-fat mayo 0
3 oz. turkey 0
Lettuce and tomato 0
Lunch Total: 3 (45 grams)
Snack 2 Carbohydrate Count
6 oz. light yogurt 1.0 (15 grams)
Snack Total: 1.0 (15 grams)
Dinner Carbohydrate Count
1 medium sweet potato 2.0 (30 grams)
1 tsp margarine 0
1 cup skim milk 1.0 (15 grams)
4 oz. baked chicken breast 0
1/2 cup cooked broccoli 0
1 cup salad 0
2 Tbsp low-fat dressing 0
Dinner Total: 3 (45 grams)
Snack 3 Carbohydrate Count
1 small apple, sliced 1.0 (15 grams)
2 Tbsp peanut butter 0
Snack Total 1.0 (15 grams)

2. The Plate Method allows you to visually evaluate the carbohydrates in your meal and the overall nutritional balance in five easy steps:
  • Step #1: Start with a nine-inch plate. Take a ruler and measure across your plate to make sure it is not too large.
  • Step #2: Pretend to divide your plate in half. Then divide one of those halves into two equal sections. Fill one-half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, either cooked or raw. Fill one-fourth of the plate with a serving of protein. Fill the last fourth of the plate with a carbohydrate-rich food (1 carb serving, 15-grams), using the chart above for examples. *Note: For breakfast, enjoy your meat and grain items each covering one-fourth of your plate; non-starchy vegetables may be omitted in the morning.
  • Step #3: Add 1 cup (8 fl oz) of low-fat milk or 1 container (6-8 oz) of light yogurt to your meal (1 carb serving, 15 grams).
  • Step #4: Select one serving of fruit to go along with your meal (1 carb serving, 15 grams).
  • Step #5: Complete your meal with one or two servings of healthy fats. This could be a tablespoon of salad dressing, 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil used to sauté vegetables or a teaspoon of mayonnaise for a sandwich.
For more information about eating with Type 2 diabetes, click here.
For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • SUEOON
    "Create Your Plate" is a new method recommended by American Diabetes Association for meal planning, I saw an infographic explaining this (http://www.dietp
    lan-101.com/d
    iabetic-diet/2/), but the steps are slightly different from the above. - 10/2/2013 4:19:44 AM
  • I don't carb count. Since going vegetarian, I've had consistent A1C test scores of 5.3-5.5. I've been vegetarian for two years and my cholestrol is 137 total. Best choice of my life and I can't ever think of going back to eating any meat. - 8/12/2013 6:48:58 AM
  • I use the plate method, and count the carbs within my plate. - 7/20/2013 9:26:50 AM
  • Very good information. Will use it to start my meal planning:) - 5/1/2013 6:27:49 AM
  • It's all about balance and control.

    I have known for 10 years that I'm pre-diabetic from confirmed blood tests and from a family history of diabetes with some members on insulin.

    Controlling my diet with grain foods, limiting fat intake, good cooking methods (no fries, roasting foods) and with an exercise programme, I have managed to keep the blood sugar within limits. Sometimes I go off the rail but get back quite quickly.My weight needs to be dropped to ensure healthier living.

    Recently, my exercise programme altered as I have an arthritic knee. Now the challenge is on to exercise without stressing the knee-cap.

    My Sparksport coach gave me good advice which is getting me back on track. Regular exercise using dumbells - rhythmic stretches and lunges without high impact on the knee, is my aim.

    Perserverance will enable me to win! Thanks to my coach, Brian Schiff, for his expert advice.

    Mimi
    - 4/30/2013 5:01:46 AM
  • CATHY19621
    I'm allergic to mushrooms and if I eat more then a table spoon of anything white (rice, potatoes) my sugar goes through the roof. I can't even think about pasta, forget it unless it's dreamfields. I just went from a A1C of 10 % for a really long time to 6.6 but with the neuropathy I can't walk to exercise. - 4/17/2013 1:46:32 PM
  • JESSICABELLA1
    Well said.Really great article about diet plan for diabetics, everyone can follow it, thank you so much.
    http://www.newd
    ietingtips.co
    m/dieting_art
    icles/diet_pl
    an_for_diabetics.html - 2/14/2013 7:00:26 AM
  • PH12828
    I wondered if the person who tried Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live had any success with it? My doctor just recommended this book to me and I want to try it. Several people I work with have used it and no longer need meds for things like blood pressure, cholesterol, things like that. There is a new book - The End of Diabetes - looks really interesting. - 1/10/2013 11:32:27 PM
  • Interesting..but about 30 carb grams more than I am allowed per day sadly. It's Ok tho..I'm maintaining my type 2 with diet and exercise alone, and can't argue with my nutritionist, cuz I've met with success.!! Two years now.. - 12/23/2012 7:50:09 PM
  • BELLALOHDEN
    Meal plan sounds great - 12/12/2012 8:20:33 PM
  • Interesting enough - 10/13/2012 4:09:43 PM
  • LASTCHANCE1941
    I applaud every one that is trying to loose weight and get healthy. I have been on a roller coaster all my life. I have type 2 diabetes and Heart problems. 3 weeks ago I saw a cardiologist and I weighed 198 pounds. He told me to get down to 130 lbs. I have to go back and see him in 1 more week. I have lost 18 lbs. I am hoping to loose 2 more lbs. I did this because I want him to know I am serious about loosing the weight. Just loosing 18 lbs has given me more energy. I am sure my heart says Thank You. Hopefully being on here will help me get to my goal weight of 130. By the way, I am 71 years old. Thanks for reading my comments. - 8/23/2012 8:32:18 PM
  • Has anyone read or tried Dr Fuhrman's Eat to Live plant based diet? I have just started. It seems he has had a lot of success getting diabetes and heart disease reversed, as well as weight loss. Just curious... it is a plant based diet, and I have recently become vegan after learning more bout where our food supply comes from and how the animals are really treated. It is AWFUL! - 8/5/2012 5:53:38 PM
  • To LittleNewt: My cardiologist and dietition recommend specially-made margarines, such as the Heart Smart brands. It is still considered margarine, but has no trans fats. It is up to you to read the label and choose the margarine that works for you.
    To the people who question the broccoli issue: My dietition gave me a choice of three different diets, each with its own rules for counting carbs, fats, and fibers. Maybe your diet plan is different than the one in this article. You should check with your dietition for the correct rules for your diet plan. - 7/26/2012 5:16:48 PM
  • LITTLENEWT54
    I can't believe the Meal Planning Tips uses margarine!!! That is so HORRIBLE for your body- trans fats- poisons! Better to use butter or a spreadable butter with 1/2 butter and 1/2 good oil. This also helps one's blood sugar from dropping too fast, which mine does. - 7/11/2012 2:53:21 AM