This week, I’m introducing two delicious shakes and a healthy twist on breaded chicken to the meal plan. Just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean that we can’t eat super tasty food, right?
The meals are light and delicious, and the shakes are cold and refreshing. I really think this is the perfect healthy meal plan for the first week of summer!
Of course, 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 – Egg white scramble, turkey bacon & toast
- 6 oz. egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 1.3 oz. turkey bacon
- 2 pieces whole wheat toast (50 calories and 10-12 g carbs per pieces)
- Cooking spray
- Salt & pepper
- Sugar fee ketchup (optional)
Instructions: Cut the bacon into pieces. Coat a pan with cooking spray and put over medium heat. Add bacon to the pan and let it cook until slightly crisp. Whisk egg whites and whole egg with salt and pepper and pour over the bacon in the pan. Stir until the eggs are cooked to a scramble.
Toast the whole wheat toast and serve. Sugar fee ketchup optional.
Nutrients: 342 calories, 36 g protein, 22 g carbs, 12 g fat
Meal 2 – “Breaded” chicken, sweet potato & veggies
- 2.7 oz. chicken breast
- 0.7 oz. hemp seeds
- 2.7 oz. sweet potato (boiled)
- 4 oz. veggies (mixed greens, tomato)
- Salt & Pepper
Instructions: Cut the chicken breast into 3 pieces and coat each piece in the hemp seeds mixed with salt and pepper (if the chicken is very dry, dip it in water first). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 min at 400 F (200 C). Wash potato and boil (15 min) or microwave (2-3 min) until tender.
Nutrients: 266 calories, 24 g protein, 22 g carbs, 9 g fat
Meal 3 – Baked salmon, salad & homemade croutons
- 5.3 oz. cooked Atlantic salmon
- 1 piece whole wheat toast
- Cooking spray
- 4 oz. mixed greens
- Apple cider
- Salt & Pepper
Instructions: Season salmon with salt & pepper and bake for 15 min at 400 F (200 C). Remove the skin and brown fat.
Coat a pan with cooking spray and toast the bread on high heat until brown. Flip and toast the other side as well. Cut bread into small croutons.
Pour 1-2 tbsp. apple cider over the salad and serve with salmon and croutons on top
Nutrients: 382 calories, 36 g protein, 17 g carbs, 19 g fat
Meal 4 – Low-carb chocolate coffee protein shake & apple
- 4 oz. apple
- 6 oz. egg whites
- 1 tsp. instant coffee
- 3 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp. Stevia
- 6 large ice cubes
Instructions: Blend half of the egg whites, ½ tbsp. stevia, coffee, cocoa, and ice cubes until it has the consistency of slush ice (I use a NutriBullet)
In a separate glass, blend the remaining egg whites and ½ tbsp. stevia until they are stiff and fluffy
Pour the slush ice blend into a high glass and top off with the whipped egg whites. Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top and serve with the apple on the side.
Nutrients: 172 calories, 21 g protein, 22 g carbs, 1 g fat
Meal 5 – Turkey, broccoli & brown rice stir-fry
- 4 oz. ground turkey (99%)
- 3.1 oz. brown rice (cooked)
- 4 oz. broccoli
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 oz. avocado
Instructions: Cook the rice according to the instructions on the bag but add a dash of turmeric powder and half a cube of Knorr chicken bouillon to the water. Set aside.
Break the broccoli into florets. Cook broccoli in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until tender (about 5 minutes). If you have a good skillet, you don’t need any fat to cook in. Add turkey to the skillet and cook until fully cooked. Add the cooked rice to the skillet together with salt and pepper and stir briefly. Chop the avocado into small cubes and add to the skillet. Gently stir everything for about 30 seconds and serve immediately.
Nutrients: 332 calories, 29 g protein, 31 g carbs, 11 g fat
Meal 6 – Chocolate protein Shake
- 0.5 oz. chocolate whey protein
- 2.7 oz. plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 0.5 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1 tbsp. stevia
- 2 ice cubes
Instructions: Add all the ingredients to a blender (I use my NutriBullet) and blend thoroughly. If you want the shake to have more of a slush ice consistency, add more ice.
Nutrients: 109 calories, 20 g protein, 5 g carbs, 2 g fat
Daily totals: 1,604 calories, 166 g protein, 119 g carbs, and 55 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
Whole wheat toast: Ezekiel, tortilla, brown rice, potato, lentils, beans, quinoa, rice cake, yellow corn tortilla, oats, sweet potato
Avocado: Almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, nuts, oil, whole egg
Salmon: Ground beef, tofu, chicken, turkey, lean steak, 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
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.