More yummy food, hurrah!
This week, we’re going to start our days with European-style pancakes and coconut oil coffee. That might sound like a weird combination of flavors if you’ve never tried it before, but trust me and give it a chance. It’s delicious!
I have also included two new ways of preparing chicken in this meal plan. Chicken breast is one of the leanest and least expensive forms of protein and, if you know how to cook it right, one of the tastiest as well.
As with all my recipes and meal plans, the focus is on low or medium glycemic carbs spread out throughout the day to support stable blood sugars and keep hunger at bay. That, in combination with lean proteins and healthy fats, is a winning combination whether you are looking to maintain, gain or drop weight.
If some of the meals in this plan don’t work for you, you can always look at my other meal plans for substitutes. Mix and match as you like, just try to match the macros (carbs, protein, and fats) for each meal.
How to find your calorie need
If you have read Strong With Diabetes Meal Plan #1 and know how to calculate your daily calorie need, you can skip the next section and go straight to the meal plan.
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 (but no less than 1,200 per day). This should lead to a steady and healthy weight loss.
If you want to gain muscle, start out by adding in 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 Strong 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 recommend that you increase the carbs to 35-40% of your daily calories and decrease the fat to 20-25%. If this sounds a little complicated, you can simply add 20 g carbs to meal 4 or meal 5 (20 g carbs equals: 1 oz. oats, 3 oz. rice (cooked), 3.2 oz. sweet potato or quinoa (cooked) or 2.5 rice cakes).
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 best or only 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!
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 & coconut coffee
- 1.3 oz. oats
- 5.3 oz. egg whites
- 1 tbsp. stevia (optional)
- Cooking spray
- 0.3 oz. coconut oil
Instructions: Blend oats, egg whites, and stevia and bake as pancakes. Blend coconut into coffee (makes sure the coffee isn’t too hot, I use my Nutri Bullet) and enjoy
Nutrients: 305 calories, 22 g protein, 26 g carbs, 12 g fat
Meal 2 – Tuna Salad
- 4 oz. tuna (light, canned in water, drained solids)
- 0.7 oz. low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1.5 rice cake
- 4 oz. veggies (peas, celery, tomato)
- Salt & Pepper
Instructions: Drain tuna and mix with Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. Wash and cut veggies and fold into the tuna mixture. Put on rice cakes and serve
Nutrients: 213 calories, 31 g protein, 17 g carbs, 0 g fat
Meal 3 – Chicken & egg salad sandwich
- 4 oz. cooked chicken breasts
- 1 hard-boiled eggs
- 0.7 tbsp. fat-free mayo
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 0.75 Ezekiel muffin (or other high-protein bread)
- Basil or chives (optional)
Instructions: Follow the instructions in my Chicken & Egg Salad Sandwich recipe.
Pro tip: Make a big batch of chicken & egg salad so you have enough for a few days
Nutrients: 319 calories, 37 g protein, 25 g carbs, 7 g fat
Meal 4 – Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
- 5.3 oz. low-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
- 2.7 oz. strawberries
- 0.8 oz. almonds
- Stevia (optional)
Instructions: Mix a little Stevia into the yogurt and sprinkle chopped almonds and strawberry slices on top.
Nutrients: 240 calories, 20 g protein, 17 g carbs, 11 g fat
Meal 5 – Chicken wrapped in Serrano ham
- 4 oz. chicken breast
- 2.7 oz. brown rice (cooked)
- 1.3 oz. finely sliced Serrano or Parma ham (prosciutto)
- 1.2 oz. cream cheese (low-fat)
- Basil leaves (fresh or dry)
- 4 oz. veggies
Instructions: Place the ham on a piece of aluminum foil. Mix cream cheese and basil and spread it evenly onto the ham. Fold the ham around the chicken breast and grind a little pepper on top. Bake in the oven at 380 F (190 C) for 25 minutes. Serve with brown rice, veggies, and fresh basil leaves.
Nutrients: 339 calories, 36 g protein, 26 g carbs, 10 g fat
Meal 6 – Egg white omelet with avocado
- 4 oz. egg whites
- 2.7 oz. avocado
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking spray
Instructions: Coat a pan with cooking spray and put it on medium heat. When hot, pour in egg whites, cook for 2 min. then flip and cook until well done. Plate and season with salt and pepper. Place avocado on top and serve.
Nutrients: 184 calories, 14 g protein, 7 g carbs, 11 g fat
Daily totals: 1,600 calories, 161 g protein, 117 g carbs, and 51 g fat.
If you don’t like (or can’t get) any of the ingredients in this plan, there are lots of healthy alternatives that you can use instead. Below are my favorite substitutes for the main ingredients. All of them can be substituted on a 1-to-1 basis (1 oz. chicken can be substituted with 1 oz. of turkey). If you’d prefer to use ingredients that aren’t listed below, you will have to look up their macronutrients yourself.
Egg whites: Protein powder (min. 20 g protein and max.5 carbs. per scoop), white fish (tilapia, cod, haddock, and halibut), canned tuna (in water), shrimp
Oats: Ezekiel, tortilla, brown rice, potato, lentils, beans, quinoa, Rice cake, Yellow corn tortilla, whole wheat toast
Coconut oil: Almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, nuts, avocado, oil, whole egg
Steak: Ground beef, tofu, chicken, turkey, salmon, smoked salmon
Chicken breast: Turkey breast, white fish (tilapia, cod, haddock, and halibut), canned tuna (in water)
Low-fat Greek yogurt: Low-fat cottage cheese
Strawberries: Other berries (fresh or frozen)
Changing up the plan
I like to eat the same foods for several days in a row with only minor changes and then change the plan every week or so. I would suggest that you follow this plan for a week and then start on the next plan (which I will post in a week from now). You can also go back and follow my one of my other meal plans for another week.
If you click the image below, you will get the option to download the meal plan as a document that also has a version with grams instead of ounces.