Your body has internal mechanisms that help keep your blood sugar in check. However, in someone with diabetes, this internal mechanism doesn’t work properly for various reasons. This is why someone with diabetes needs to be much more aware of what they eat, as that has a direct correlation with managing their blood sugar. Finding go-to recipes for someone with diabetes can be challenging. I have written two cookbooks for people with diabetes—Diabetes Create Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook and The Create-Your-Plate Diabetes Cookbook—and below you’ll find many of these recipes folded into a 5-day diabetic meal plan.
What is diabetes?
For a healthy individual, the body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (AKA glucose) which is absorbed into the bloodstream. When your blood sugar increases, it tells your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin allows the blood sugar to move from your blood into your body’s cells to use as energy.
In someone with diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin as well as it should. This means that the signal to get the sugar out of your blood is “broken,” allowing blood sugar to stay in your bloodstream when it shouldn’t. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss. Your best bet is to regulate your blood sugar as best as you can with the food you eat.
Diabetic meal plan: 5 days of meals for diabetics
Below you’ll find 5 days of recipes that are appropriate for people with diabetes. It’s important to remember that you want a well-balanced meal in line with the Diabetes Plate Methodwhich recommends filling half your plate with low-carb vegetables, one-quarter of your plate with lean protein, and the last quarter of your plate with starches (like whole grains), dairy, or fruit.
For the below menu, remember that every individual has their own needs for how many calories they need per day, and snacks can vary between 1 to 3 per day.
Do modify each day as you see fit for your individual blood sugar control, or if you’re not sure, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Breakfast: Peach Parfait
A homemade granola with nuts and seeds helps keep your blood sugar levels stable in the morning. This parfait is a meal on its own and provides 380 calories, 25 g total fat, 17 g protein, 26 g carbs, and 5 g fiber.
Get the recipe for Crunchy Peach Parfaits.
Lunch: Avocado Egg Stuffed Pita
This mash-up of avocados and eggs provides a nice array of nutrients from both the egg and avocado. Compliment it with a green salad on the side with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.
Get the recipe for Avocado Egg Stuffed Pita.
Snack: Carrot Cake Energy Bites
Bites or balls are easy to whip up together, which makes them ideal for meal prepping. A 2-bite serving size provides 180 calories, 10.5 g total fat, 4 g protein, 19 g carbs, and 3.5 g fiber.
Get the recipe for Carrot Cake Energy Bites.
Dinner: Sheet Pan Chili-Lime Salmon
This one-pan meal is perfect for a busy weeknight with minimal dishes to clean up. Each serving has 389 calories, 30 g protein, and 7 g carbs. On its own, it’s not a complete meal and should be supplemented with a small green salad topped with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette and 3/4 cup of cooked brown rice.
Get the recipe for Sheet Pan Chili-Lime Salmon.
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Breakfast: Pecan Pie Muffins
Bake up a batch of these muffins over the weekend to have all week long, or freeze and defrost as needed. Each muffin provides 204 calories, 5.5 g protein, 24 g carbs, and 2.3 g fiber. In order to create a balanced meal, compliment it with one hard-cooked egg and 2 carrots.
Get the recipe for Pecan Pie Muffins.
Lunch: Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Rainbow Chard
A filling soup providing carbs, protein, and low-carb veggies is an easy lunch that you can meal prep for the week or cook and freeze for a busy work week. Each 1¼ cup serving provides 219 calories, 8.45 g protein, 36 g carbs, and 7 g fiber. Enjoy with a low-carb green salad on the side with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette.
Get the recipe for Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Rainbow Chard.
Snack: Whipped Cottage Cheese with Berries and Pistachios
Blending cottage cheese makes it a silky snack that’s packed with protein. Topped with fruit and nuts, and you’ve got a nicely balanced snack for 203 calories, 18 g protein, 16 g carbs, and 5 g fiber.
Get the recipe for Whipped Cottage Cheese with Berries and Pistachios.
Dinner: Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts
These baked chicken breasts are made with a small amount of unseasoned bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and spices and are perfect for meal prepping. Each chicken breast provides 400 calories, 40 g protein, and 19.5 g carbs. Complete your plate with ¾ cup each of steamed broccoli and cooked whole wheat spaghetti.
Get the recipe for Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts.
RELATED: 4 Healthy Breakfast Recipes To Manage Diabetes
Breakfast: Mediterranean Breakfast Bowl
You can meal prep this breakfast bowl the night before for the whole family or for one person for the entire week. It provides a balanced plate with an egg and hummus for protein, lots of low-carb veggies, and whole wheat pita for the starch. Each bowl provides 311 calories, 21 g protein, 28 g carbs, and 7 g fiber.
Get the recipe for Mediterranean Breakfast Bowl.
Lunch: Chicken Orzo Salad
Tote a balanced lunch to work to keep your blood sugar in check and avoid that afternoon slump. This complete meal provides 336 calories, 15 g protein, 35 g carbs, and 7.5 g fiber.
Get the recipe for Chicken Orzo Salad.
Snack: Vegetable Croquettes
This fun snack—which can be enjoyed hot or cold—is made using 1 russet potato for the batch complimented with other low carb veggies (carrots, onions, and celery). Two croquettes provide 187 calories, 10 g fat, 3.75 g protein, 21 g carbs, and 3 g fiber. The combo of fat, fiber, and protein help manage blood sugar and also help you feel fuller for longer. Enjoy dipped in 2 tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt.
Get the recipe for Vegetable Croquettes.
Dinner: Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti with Shrimp and Spinach
This flavorful combo of extra lean shrimp with whole wheat pasta tastes delicious with the refreshingly light lemon sauce. Each 1-2/3 cup serving provides 402 calories, 30 g protein, 40 g carbs, and 5 g fiber. Compliment the dish with a small green salad made with low-carb veggies topped with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.
Get the recipe for Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti with Shrimp and Spinach.
Breakfast: Egg Muffins with Spinach and Feta
These egg muffins take 15 minutes to prep and are meal prep and freezer friendly. To complete the meal and keep blood sugar in check, compliment it with a whole wheat English muffin topped with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter.
Get the recipe for Egg Muffins with Spinach and Feta.
Lunch: Turkey, Walnut, and Pomegranate Salad
This salad is certainly filled with low-carb veggies but it also provides lean turkey and healthy fat-filled walnuts, which help balance the meal. Each salad provides 290 calories, 14 g fat, 21 g protein, 22 g carbs, and 5 g protein. To complete this plate, serve it with a cooked veggie like ¾ cup steamed broccoli or steamed string beans.
Get the recipe for Turkey, Walnut, and Pomegranate Salad.
Snack: Orange Creamsicle Chia Pudding
Chia seeds have a mild flavor, so when you add bold flavors like orange and vanilla, they really stand out. One jar provides 154 calories, 6 g fat, 7.6 g protein, 17.5 g carbs, and 7.5 g fiber. The combo of fat, fiber, and protein make it a nice snack to keep blood sugar under control.
Ge the recipe for Orange Creamsicle Chia Pudding.
Dinner: Balsamic Pork Loin
This very lean cut of meat is perfect to prep so you can have leftovers. Enjoy a 4-ounce serving for 145 calories, 5 g fat, 24 g protein, and less than 1 g carbs. Compliment this protein with ¾ cup of steamed broccoli and cauliflower and ¾ cup of cooked quinoa. You can even add a start low-carb green salad topped with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette.
Ge the recipe for Balsamic Pork Loin.
Breakfast: Almond Cherry Smoothie Packs
Stash smoothie packs in the freezer and when ready to use, drop in your blender with ½ cup of your favorite liquid (for this smoothie, almond milk). Each smoothie provides 200 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g protein, 27 g carbs, and 5.5 g fiber. To balance this plate, add 1 large hard cooked egg and 1 cup of low-carb veggie slices like carrots and cucumbers.
Get the recipe for Almond Cherry Smoothie Packs.
Lunch: Baked Falafel Bowl
Falafel is blended chickpeas that are typically fried, but here they are baked. Enjoy in a bowl combined with lots of low-carb veggies (cucumbers and tomatoes) and drizzled with tahini (sesame seed paste). Compliment this bowl with half a whole wheat pita or ½ cup cooked quinoa or whole wheat couscous.
Ge the recipe for Baked Falafel Bowl.
Snack: Sweet Potato Toast with Almonds and Blueberries
This creative five-ingredient snack is made from sweet potatoes topped with almonds, blueberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Each sweet potato toast provides 151 calories, 7 g fat, 4.5 g protein, 19 g carbs, and 4 g fiber and is a nicely balanced snack.
Ge the recipe for Sweet Potato Toast with Almonds and Blueberries.
Dinner: Balsamic Pork Loin
Enjoy your leftover pork loin and compliment it with some new sides such as 1 cup of your favorite roasted low carb veggies like asparagus and ¾ cup of cooked quinoa, brown rice, or farro.
Get the recipe for Balsamic Pork Loin.
Creating a diabetic meal plan can feel confusing and tedious if you don’t know where to start—especially when life gets hectic. However, with these blood-sugar-balancing meals for diabetics, you’ll be able to manage the condition and eat delicious meals.