What is a diabetes meal plan?

Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

A registered dietitian, diabetes educator and endocrinologist work together to devise an individual meal plan to meet blood glucose goals. The meal plan is the amount and type of food scheduled at regular meals and snacks based on your gender, height, weight, age and health status. A diabetic meal plan is calorie controlled and has carefully planned portions of carbohydrate containing foods that directly affect blood glucose control. Sweets, fruit, grains, beans, legumes, and dairy contain carbohydrate.

Nutrient dense whole food, high in nutrients and low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar are encouraged. Nutrient dense foods are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or low fat dairy. A heart healthy diet is recommended with mono and poly unsaturated healthy fats of less than 30% of calories, including saturated fat less than 7% of calories.
A dietitian who knows about diabetes can help you make choices and create your own meal plan. A diabetes meal plan is a guide that tells you how much and what kinds of food you can choose at meals and snack times. A good meal plan should fit in with your schedule, culture, and eating habits. The right meal plan will help you improve your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol and also help keep your weight on track. For example, if you always have hash browns or tortillas for breakfast, you'll find out how to include them and still keep your blood glucose on target.

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.