Diabetes & Food

Meal Planning

Diabetes meal plans made easy.

No matter which meal pattern supports your diabetes management, you can use the following strategies to simplify your meal planning. 

Woman putting planned meals into refrigerator

Simplify Meal Planning with the Diabetes Plate Method

To better manage your blood glucose (blood sugar), eat at regular times and give your body two to three hours between meals to allow your blood glucose to lower to a desirable level before you eat your next meal.  

There are seven recognized meal patterns that are recommended for people with diabetes. Work with your health care team to identify the right pattern for you.

Simplify Meal Planning with the Diabetes Plate  

The Diabetes Plate is the easiest way to create healthy meals that can help manage blood glucose. You can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of non-starchy vegetables, protein, and quality carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring. All you need is a nine-inch plate! The Diabetes Plate can be used with any of the seven recognized meal patterns.

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Tips for Healthy Snacking

Healthy snacks can be part of your meal plan and help with hunger management between meals.  Before you reach for a snack, figure out if you are hungry or thirsty (sometimes being thirsty can make your body think it’s hungry). If thirsty, drink water or a zero-calorie beverage. This can help prevent adding more calories to your day.  

When you do select a snack, choose healthy options that offer a combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, with or without carbohydrates. Some good options are:

  • Fruit with cheese or nuts
  • Hummus or guacamole with carrots or celery
  • Nut butter with apple slices or celery 

Counting Carbohydrates for Success

Carb counting involves counting the number of grams of carbohydrate in a meal and matching that to your dosage of insulin. Meal planning is a great and effective way to count carbs, whether you are doing it for medication or want to monitor how many carbs you are consuming. 

Person looking at carb calculator on mobile phone

Kidney-Friendly Vegan Meal Planning

If you have diabetes and/or kidney disease and you’re curious about how a vegan diet can fit into your lifestyle, then read on for guidance on planning vegan meals that are diabetes- and kidney-friendly. 

Person holding meal planning chart in front of veggies

Low-Carb Meal Plan Ideas

If you are looking to include more low carb meals in your meal plan, we’ve rounded up some breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, plus some everyday tips for reducing carbs.

African American mother and daughter in kitchen cleaning tomatoes in sink

More Resources

Get more information on food labels, understanding how food affects your glucose levels, and learning the ins and outs of carbs.

Reading Food Labels

We’ve all had those moments in the store trying to compare food items and attempting to figure out which is best.

Food & Blood Glucose

Blood glucose highs and lows aren’t always easy to understand. Sometimes you can pinpoint a related food or activity.

Understanding Carbs

You’ve heard it all. From carb-free to low-carb, to whole and empty carbs, it’s hard to know what it all means.