Do you know the saying: You can’t outrun a bad diet? Well, it’s absolutely true!
No matter what your health and diabetes goals are, your nutrition is one of the most important factors that will impact whether you reach your goals or not. That’s why I’m sharing this Fit With Diabetes Meal Plan with you today.
We all have different calorie needs. Your daily calorie need depends on your size, fitness level, daily activity, gender, etc. When you are creating a healthy diabetes meal plan, your first step should therefore always be to calculate your “calorie equilibrium”, or how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight. You can learn exactly how to find you calorie equilibrium with 5 easy steps in this post: “How to Find Your Daily Calorie Need“.
Once you know your calorie equilibrium, you can adjust your daily calories up or down to meet your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, I recommend that you eat up to 500 calories less than your equilibrium each day. That should lead to a steady and healthy weight loss.
If you want to gain muscle, start out with 300-500 calories more than your equilibrium each day and see what happens. If you find that you are also putting on a little too much fat, decrease your calories slightly.
The Fit with Diabetes meal plan
Now that you know how to calculate your daily calorie need, you are ready to create a healthy diabetes meal plan. Well, I say create, but you can really just use the plan in this post as it is. I have already calculated all the macronutrients (calories, carbs, protein, and fat), so you just need to choose the calorie level that is right for you.
The example below is for a 1,600 calorie/day plan, but you can download the meal plan as a PDF with many different calorie levels. The download also includes a version with grams instead of ounces for my international friends.
This meal plan has a calorie split of 30% carbs, 40% protein, and 30% fat, which is what I generally recommend for weight loss (you can read “How to Lose Weight When You Live with Diabetes” for more details).
If your goal is to build muscle, I would recommend that you increase the carbs to 35-40% of your daily calories and decrease the fat to 20-25%.
I know that healthy nutrition (and especially how many carbs to eat) is a topic that causes a great deal of discussion in the diabetes community. I make no claim that my approach is the only right way to do it, but it’s what works for me and the clients I work with. If you are doing something different that works for you, then definitely keep doing it!
The meal plan is gluten-free and low FODMAP. If you have any other food allergies or intolerances, you will have to make adjustments yourself.
This is a 1,600-calorie example. You can see other calorie levels in the image at the end of this post or download them here.
Meal 1 – Protein pancakes
- 1.2 oz. Oats
- 5.3 oz. Egg whites
- 0.7 oz. Peanut or almond butter
- 1 tbsp. Stevia (optional)
- Cooking spray
Instructions: Blend oats, egg whites, and stevia and bake as pancakes. Spread the nut butter on the pancakes, roll them up, and enjoy.
Pro tip: Make enough pancakes for 3-4 days and store them in the fridge.
Nutrients: 329 calories, 27 g protein, 26 g carbs, 11 g fat
Meal 2 – Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
- 5.3 oz. Low-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
- 3.2 oz. Strawberries
- 0.3 oz. Almonds
- Stevia (optional)
Instructions: Mix a little Stevia into the yogurt and sprinkle chopped almonds and strawberry slices on top.
Pro tip: Berries don’t have to be bought fresh, frozen is just as good for you
Nutrients: 154 calories, 17 g protein, 15 g carbs, 4 g fat
Meal 3 – Garden salad with turkey and strawberries
- 5.3 oz. Ground turkey (99% lean)
- 6.7 oz. Strawberries
- 4.7 oz. Mixed greens (salad, spinach, kale, cucumber, etc.)
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- 1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper
- Cooking spray
Instructions: Fry the ground turkey in a pan with a little cooking spray and salt & pepper until cooked through. Set aside. Mix the olive oil, mustard, and balsamic vinegar and toss the mixed greens and strawberries in this vinaigrette. Serve the salad with the turkey on top.
Nutrients: 327 calories, 36 g protein, 21 g carbs, 12 g fat
Meal 4 – Chicken and veggie wrap
- 4.0 oz. Cooked chicken breast
- 3.5 oz. mixed veggies (cucumber, bell peppers, celery, etc.)
- 1½ Small yellow corn tortilla (these should have about 50 calories and 10 g carbs per tortilla. I use the Mission brand)
- 2 oz. Low-fat Greek yogurt
- Curry powder
Instructions: Cut the chicken into thin slices and season with pepper. Cut veggies into sticks. Roll chicken and veggie sticks in a tortilla. Mix yogurt, curry, and paprika into a quick and delicious dip, and dip away.
Pro tip: Follow my “How to Cook the Perfect Chicken Breast” guide to cook a delicious, juicy chicken breast.
Nutrients: 237 calories, 32 g protein, 22 g carbs, 2 g fat
Meal 5 – Salmon with sweet potato fries
- 5.3 oz. Salmon
- 3.2 oz. Sweet potato (raw weight)
- 3.5 oz. Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
- Cooking spray
- Salt & pepper
Instructions: Cut the sweet potatoes into fries and coat them lightly with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 45-60 min at 400 F (200 C). Season salmon with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 15 min at 400 F (200 C). Steam, boil or bake the veggies and serve on the side.
Nutrients: 406 calories, 34 g protein, 23 g carbs, 19 g fat
Meal 6 – Cottage cheese delight
- 2.7 oz. Fat-free Cottage cheese
- 2.7 oz. Strawberries
- 0.5 oz. Peanut or almond butter
- Stevia (optional)
Instructions: Mix cottage cheese with peanut butter and Stevia. Serve with sliced strawberries on top.
Nutrients: 172 calories, 15 g protein, 11 g carbs, 8 g fat
Daily totals: 1,625 calories, 161 g protein, 119 g carbs, and 56 g fat.
If you don’t like (or can’t get) any of the ingredients in this plan, there are quite a few healthy alternatives that you can use instead. I have listed my favorite substitutes for the main ingredients below. All of them can be substituted on a 1-to-1 basis (1 oz. chicken can be substituted with 1 oz. of turkey). If using substitutes not listed below, you’ll have to look up the macronutrients yourself to make sure that the calorie and macronutrient requirements of the plan are met.
Chicken breast: Turkey breast, white fish (tilapia, cod, haddock, and halibut), canned tuna (in water)
Salmon: Lean steak (flank, sirloin, ground beef)
Sweet potato: Brown rice, potato, lentils, beans
Yellow corn tortilla: Low carb tortilla, Ezekiel bread, whole wheat toast
Peanut butter: Almond butter, sunflower butter, nuts
Low-fat Greek yogurt: Low-fat cottage cheese
Strawberries: Other berries (fresh or frozen)
Olive oil: Avocado oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil
Changing up the Fit With Diabetes meal plan
I like to eat the same foods for several days in a row with only minor changes to my meals, and then switch the plan every week or so. I would suggest that you follow this plan for a week and then start on Fit With Diabetes Meal Plan #2.
Enjoy, and remember that healthy food should taste good!
Medical Disclaimer: All information provided on TheFitBlog is based on my own and our expert’s personal experience. We are not medical professionals and no adjustments to care should be made without consulting your medical team. If you are new to exercise, haven’t exercised in a while and/or haven’t seen your medical team in the last 3 months, it is advised to do so before engaging in any kind of physical activities. You must not rely on the information on TheFitBlog as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.