How do I incorporate my new meal plan to control my diabetes into my life?

Elaine Koontz
Nutrition & Dietetics

Once you've met with a CDE or RD, you'll need to incorporate all that you've learned into your lifestyle. The following tips might help:

Plan ahead whenever possible - create weekly menus and a grocery list, write down what you're going to eat the next day before bed the night before, call restaurants ahead of time and have a menu faxed to you, etc.

Keep healthful snacks on hand for when hunger strikes - whole grain crackers and nut butter or low fat cheese, cottage cheese and fruit packed it its own juice, pre-cut fruits and veggies, mixed nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower), air-popped popcorn, whole grain cereal, etc.

When you want to eat something not on your plan, try to figure out whether you're truly hungry or you want to eat out of habit. If it's the latter, you may need to work on breaking your routine - if you always eat a snack as soon as you get home from work, for instance, plan on doing something else such as going for a walk or calling a friend.

Work on making "mini changes" such as eating more natural sources of fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans), trying two new recipes each week, exercising for 30 minutes a day (you don't have to do this all at once, you could walk for 10 minutes after each meal), or keeping a food record (every bite counts!)

I always advise clients to invest in a cookbook or a subscription to a cooking magazine that lists the nutritional breakdown of every recipe. It makes planning your diet so much easier and your family will be able to eat the same foods at mealtime.



Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

I recommend to begin my keeping a food journal of what, when, and how much you eat currently, along with blood glucose record keeping. Begin to note your portion size for foods in the meals that you normally eat. See how the foods you are currently eating fit into a prescribed meal plan. Find a good reference book or check out internet resources such as the US Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database site for carbohydrate and nutrient content of your diet. Carbohydrate is the nutrient that affects your blood glucose directly. Then, start to make small changes to reduce portion sizes, eat nutrient dense healthy foods and look up carbohydrate content for the foods you are eating.

A Registered Dietitian and your health care providers specializing in diabetes can help you to gradually make lifestyle changes that work for you to control your diabetes.

Many people with diabetes find that it helps not to think of their meal plan as a “diet.” After all, no one could “follow a diet” for the rest of their lives. If you are on a diet, it’s easy to go off your diet. And once off, it’s even easier to stay off. “Well, I’ve already blown my diet for today, so another slice of cheesecake won’t hurt,” you might think. But that will only make matters worse. Instead, think of your meal plan as a new way of eating. But in planning for that new way of life, make sure you work with your dietitian to develop a plan you can stick with. If your goal is to lose pounds, a low-calorie diet may look good on paper, but if you can’t stick to it, it won’t do any good. In working out your nutrition plan, your dietitian or diabetes educator can work with you to achieve your goals. 

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.