How should someone with diabetes structure their meals?

Meal planning for diabetes is more than just cutting back on starch or sugar. There are many options that people with diabetes use to help them plan their meals.

Having diabetes doesn't have to mean eating the same foods day after day. By choosing the right meal planning tool for you, you'll be able to try new foods and enjoy your favorites. You may want to try them all or use a combination to find out which you like the most.
  • Plate Method: It's simple! Include more non-starchy vegetables and smaller portions of everything else -- no special tools and nothing to count or read.
  • Carbohydrate Counting: Carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood glucose levels. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat and setting a limit for your maximum amount to eat, you can help to keep your blood glucose levels on track.
  • Glycemic Index: The amount and type of carbohydrate affects blood glucose levels. Choose most of your foods with a lower glycemic response as a way to fine-tune your carb counting.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Someone with diabetes should structure their meals by eating regularly throughout the day: 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks a day. Think of snacking as an opportunity to eat mini-meals. Just as your meals should be healthy and filling, your mini-meals should be too. Don't skimp on nutrients. Make sure to eat snacks that have protein or fiber to keep you fuller longer and keep your blood sugar stable.

Here are some no-skimping snacks:

  • One piece of whole-wheat raisin toast with 1 tsp of peanut butter and a handful of almonds
  • A slice or two of lean turkey breast with some whole-grain crackers
  • Red peppers and hummus

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.