Approximately 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. It is a chronic condition that causes blood sugar levels to rise. Glucose is the body’s primary energy source, which comes from carbohydrates in your foods. The pancreas releases insulin when there is a rise in blood glucose levels. It helps the body use glucose more efficiently. Unfortunately, type 1 diabetics do not produce enough insulin, while type 2 diabetics do not utilise insulin properly.
Navigating life with diabetes can be challenging, but eating the right foods can help. Healthy eating is the foundation of diabetes management, and it can make all the difference in balancing your blood sugar levels and preventing long-term effects. Making a meal plan, counting calories, and exercising helps keep the blood sugar levels stable. For diabetic patients, eating meals and snacks on time is also critical. Skipping them causes a drop in blood sugar, leading to binge eating later in the day and unhealthy food choices. People with diabetes must pay attention to their food and beverage choices, which directly impacts their blood sugar levels. One way to do this is to stick to a diabetic meal plan.
Keeping Track of Your Meals
Your eating patterns are essential in keeping your blood glucose level within the recommended ranges. Out of the three macronutrients- protein, carbohydrates, and fats, carbs seem to have the most significant impact on blood sugar management. It is because they are broken down into glucose by the body. As a result, eating low-glycemic foods is one tool you can use to help manage your diabetes.
The optimal carbs intake varies since everyone has a unique response to carbs. Therefore, you may want to measure your blood glucose before and again 1 to 2 hours after eating to determine your ideal carbohydrate intake. You can eat 6 gm, 10 gm, or 25 gm of carbs per meal on a low-carb diet as long as your blood sugar stays below 140 mg/dL, the level at which nerve damage can occur. However, it is entirely dependent on your tolerance. Remember that the fewer carbs you eat, the lower your blood sugar will rise.
Diabetes Meal Plan: Foods to Include
It can be challenging to figure out how to eat to feel your best and keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes. However, there are many foods that will fit into your diabetes Meal Plan. They are nutrient-dense powerhouses that can help you control your blood sugar and stay healthy.
Sardines, anchovies, salmon, and mackerel are high in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, with significant cardiovascular benefits. Diabetes patients at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke should consume enough of these fats daily. DHA and EPA protect the cells that line your blood vessels, lower inflammation markers, and may help your arteries function better.
A study shows that people who eat fatty fish have significantly lower post-meal blood sugar levels than those who eat lean fish. Thus, fish is also high in quality protein, which keeps you full and your blood sugar levels stable.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, Kale, and other leafy greens are highly nutritious and low in calories. They are also low in digestible carbs, which the body absorbs, so they won’t significantly impact blood sugar levels. Green leafy vegetables are also high in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C.
Avocados contain less than 1 gm of sugar, few carbohydrates, a high fibre content, and healthy fats. As a result, it will help prevent your blood sugar levels from rising. Therefore, avocado consumption leads to better overall diet quality and significantly lower body weight and BMI. In addition, these properties of avocados make them an ideal snack for people with diabetes, considerably since obesity increases the risk of developing it.
Chia seeds are a good source of fibre for people with diabetes. They are high in fibre, but low in digestible carbohydrates. 11 of the 12 grams of carbs in a 28-gram serving of chia seeds are fibre, which does not spike blood sugar levels. Instead, their viscous fibre can lower blood sugar levels by slowing the food’s rate through your gut and is absorbed. Chia seeds also aid in the maintenance of glycemic control in diabetics.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. A half-cup of cooked broccoli has only 27 calories and 3 gm of digestible carbohydrates and essential nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium. It may also aid in blood sugar management.
According to a study, eating broccoli sprouts reduces blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. This decrease in blood glucose levels happens because of sulforaphane. It is a chemical in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and sprouts.
Although the list of foods is long, these are some of the best foods you can eat. However, it is also essential to understand that the foods you should eat also depends on your health condition. Your existing health condition (co-morbidities) will determine what foods you should eat and avoid. Hence, you should always consult your healthcare expert or an expert nutritionist before making a dietary choice.
A Reference 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan: 1500 Calories
In the given seven-day 1500-calorie meal plan, you can find three main meals and two snacks in between the meals for each day. In addition, you can enjoy calorie-free drinks like coconut water, buttermilk and herbal/green tea.
This diabetic meal plan is flexible and contains healthy carbs, protein, and fibre balance. Your calories and carbohydrates may be higher depending on your goals and lifestyle; adjust the number of snacks or portion sizes accordingly.
This diabetes meal plan has plenty of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats, but not many refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice or added sugars, which quickly spikes your blood sugar. It also has a small amount of saturated fat and sodium. However, you can make the preparations with fresh ingredients and various herbs and spices that add flavour without the extra sodium.
Day One Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1510 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 161 gm
|Breakfast (314 calories, 37 g carbohydrates)||A bowl of oats with apricots/berries and 1-2 roughly chopped walnuts as garnishSkim Milk: 300 ml|
|Mid-morning (116 calories, 12 g carbs)||Plum: 1Pistachios (in shell): 50 gm|
|Lunch (365 calories, 45 g carbs)||Zucchini Noodles with Quick Turkey Bolognese: 1 servingThick slice whole-wheat baguette, toasted: 1 (4-in.)|
|Evening Snack (200 calories, 28 g carbs)||Apple, sliced: 1Peanut butter with a pinch of cinnamon: 1 tbsp.|
|Dinner (515 calories, 39 g carbs)||Roast Chicken with Parmesan-Herb Sauce: 1 servingSalad greens dressed with citrus vinaigrette: 200 gm|
Day Two Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1505 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 168 gm
|Breakfast (374 calories, 53 g carbs)||Green Salad: 100 gmPita Bread: 1Hummus: ¼ cup|
|Mid-morning (87 calories, 9 g carbs)||Blueberries: 30 gmNon-fat plain Greek yoghurt: 50 gm|
|Lunch (357 calories, 36 g carbs)||Mushroom-Sauced Pork Chops: 1 servingBrown Rice: 100 gmSteamed Fresh Green Beans with olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper: 50 gm|
|Evening snack (200 calories, 28 g carbs)||Apple: 1Peanut butter: 1 tbsp.|
|Dinner (487 calories, 42 g carbs)||Spinach & Egg Scramble: 2 eggs, 20 gm spinachOrange: 1Raspberry: 20 gm|
Day Three Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1497 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 187 gm
|Breakfast (369 calories, 29 g carbs)||Avocado-Egg Toast: 2 eggs, 50 gm avocadoNon-fat plain Greek yoghurt: 50 gmRaspberries: 50 gm|
|Mid-morning (62 calories, 15 g carbs)||Orange: 1 medium|
|Lunch (436 calories, 43 g carbs)||Cucumber, white bean & tomato salad with basil vinaigrette: 100 gmSeeded crackers: 8Hummus: 30 gm|
|Evening snacks (150 calories, 48 g carbs)||Watermelon: 100 gmApple: 100 gm|
|Dinner (480 calories, 52 g carbs)||Smoky Maple-Mustard Salmon: 100 gmGreen beans: 80 gmWhole-Wheat Couscous: 50 gmOlive oil: 2 tsp.Sliced almonds: 1 Tbsp.|
Day Four Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1496 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 160 g
|Breakfast (331 calories, 46 g carbs)||Steel Cut oats cooked in milk: 100 gmApple, chopped: 1/2 mediumAlmonds chopped: 2 Tbsp.|
|Mid-morning (90 calories, 23 g carbs)||Orange: 1Blueberry: ½ cup|
|Lunch (446 calories, 47 g carbs)||Chicken Sausage & Peppers: 2 cupsBrown Rice tossed with virgin olive oil and no-salt-added Italian seasoning: 1 cup|
|Evening Snack (161 calories, 16 g carbs)||Popcorn tossed in olive oil and salt: 2 1/2 cups|
|Dinner (468 calories, 28 g carbs)||Chipotle ranch egg salad wraps: 1Seeded cracker: 10Hummus: ¼ cup|
Day Five Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1493 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 182 gm
|Breakfast (276 calories, 37 g carbs)||Old-Fashioned Oatmeal: 100 gmPlum, chopped: 1 mediumWalnut, chopped: 3 tbsp|
|Mid-morning (109 calories, 15 g carbs)||Greek yoghurt: 1/2 cupStrawberries: 1/2 cup|
|Lunch (446 calories, 47 g carbs)||Tuna, White Bean & Dill Salad: 300 gmOrange: 1 mediumHummus: 1/4 cup|
|Evening Snack (200 calories, 28 g carbs)||Apple, sliced: 1 mediumPeanut butter with a pinch of cinnamon: 1 Tbsp.|
|Dinner (452 calories, 55 g carbs)||One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Spinach: 250 gmWhole-Wheat Couscous: 50 gm|
Day Six Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1509 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 148 gm
|Breakfast (295 calories, 16 g carb)||Oatmeal: 100 gmUnsweetened applesauce: ½ cupHard-boiled egg: 2|
|Mid-morning (164 calories, 25 g carbs)||Blueberries: 30 gmMuesli: 2 Tbsp.Non-fat plain Greek yoghurt: 50 gm|
|Lunch (424 calories, 38 gm)||Vegetable soup: 100 gmWhole-wheat crackers: 7Tuna fish on romaine lettuce: 150 gm|
|Evening Snack (180 calories, 25 g carbs)||Seeded crackers: 6Hummus: ¼ cup|
|Dinner (446 calories, 44 g carbs)||Pork Paprikash: 100 gmBrown rice: 50 gmWhole-wheat baguette, toasted: 1|
Day Seven Meal Plan
- Total calories of day one: 1517 calories
- Total carbohydrates consumed: 181 gm
|Breakfast (368 calories, 42 g carbs)||Bagel Avocado Toast: 1Milk: 300 ml|
|Mid-morning (116 calories, 12 g carbs)||Pistachios: 1/2 cupPlum: 1|
|Lunch (365 calories, 45 g carbs)||Veggie Hummus Sandwich: 2|
|Evening Snack (200 calories, 28 g carbs)||Apple: 1 mediumPeanut butter with a pinch of cinnamon: 1 tbsp.|
|Dinner (468 calories, 54 g carbs)||Mushroom-Sauced Pork Chops: 150 gmSteamed Fresh Green Beans with olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper: 50 gm|
An Alternate Indian Diabetic Meal Plan: 1,500 Calories
|Early Morning (91 calories, 4 g proteins)||Fenugreek Seeds with 1 cup of water: 1tspTea without Sugar: 1 cupMarie Biscuits: 2|
|Breakfast (300 calories, 8.5 g protein)||Stuffed Lauki/ Methi Paratha: 2 smallCurd: 1 cup/ 50 gms|
|Mid-morning||Apple: 1 med/ 50-60 gmsGreen Tea with No Sugar|
|Lunch (355 calories, 8.5 g protein)||Vegetable Brown Rice Pulav: 1 soup bowl/ 50 gms uncookedCucumber and Onion Raita: 1 small bowlMix Veg Salad: 1 bowl|
|Evening (280 calories, 7 g protein)||Green Tea/ Black Tea/ Coffee without Sugar: 1 cupOne bowl of Puffed Rice or two wheat Rusks|
|Dinner (435 calories, 14.5 g protein)||Whole Wheat Flour Chapati/Phulka: 3 medium-sizedMix Veg/ Bottle Gourd/ Palak Vegetable: 1 med bowlCurd/ Kadhi/ Dal: 1 small bowl|
|Bedtime||Milk: 1 cupSoaked Almonds: 4|
Diabetes Meal Plan: Things to Remember
- Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure that you eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
- Balance carbohydrate consumption with physical activity and insulin, and other medications.
- Consume plenty of fibre to help control blood sugar levels and lower your risk of high cholesterol, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.
- Limit processed carbohydrates and foods with added sugars, which are more likely than whole grains and vegetables to cause a sugar spike.
- Instead of eliminating all carbs, eat a healthy low-carb diet that includes nutrient-dense, high fibre carb sources such as vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds.
- Consider individual treatment plans, which will consist of doctor or dietitian recommendations.
Diabetes Meal Plan: Foods to Avoid
As the name implies, sugar-sweetened beverages are high in fructose and carbohydrates. Fructose is a sugar that causes insulin resistance. Furthermore, sugar-sweetened beverages have no valuable protein content. As a result, it is the worst drink option for diabetics and people on high protein diets.
Processed foods are high in saturated fats, added sugars, preservatives, and salt are a strict no in a diabetes meal plan. It has no nutritional value because most processed foods contain negligible nutrients. They are also higher in calories, which contributes to weight gain. It can be harmful because people with diabetes have to maintain a healthy weight.
A high-protein diet snack should be low in carbs and high in protein. Unfortunately, people frequently make a mistake by including packed snacks such as crackers, pretzels, and biscuits. They are high-carb foods that cause a spike in blood sugar. Hence, it is best to avoid such foods.
Diabetes is a chronic disease with severe consequences. If not properly managed, it increases your risk of developing several serious diseases.
However, eating foods that help regulate blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation can significantly reduce your risk of complications. While these foods can help you manage your blood sugar, the most critical factor in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet. People with diabetes should consult a dietician about developing a personalised meal plan based on their health status and other factors. A pre-made meal plan can be helpful, but it should be according to the needs of the individual.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much weight can I lose on a 1500 calorie diet?
A. Your diet determines the number of calories you need to consume each day. However, it also depends on your level of physical activity. For example, a 1500-calorie diet, or 500 calories per day, is enough to help you lose 0.45 kg in a week.
Q. Can I eat all my calories in one meal?
A. No matter your health goal, cramming your calorie needs into one meal is unnecessary. This dietary pattern is not sustainable or practical for most people. So try to divide your calories into at least five meals per day, with three main meals and two snacks.
Q. What eating one meal a day does?
A. The OMAD diet, or eating one meal a day, claims to help you lose weight by forcing your body to burn fat. It is a type of intermittent fasting in which you alternate between eating anything and not eating anything throughout the day. It is rigorous because you eat all of your meals in one go.
Q. How long does it take for your stomach to shrink?
A. Following a healthy diet and exercising can help you see results and lose belly fat in as little as two weeks. However, even if the time frame is short, losing a few inches from your waistline may necessitate hard work. It is also challenging to adhere to the proper diet and workout regimen.
Q. How do I stop hunger cravings?
A. The cause of hunger cravings is a variety of physical and mental conditions, such as a hormonal imbalance or a lack of carbohydrates. These cravings can be difficult to ignore, leading to excessive calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient, and highly palatable foods such as chocolate, ice cream, pizza and cake. An excellent way to avoid this is to consume enough calories by avoiding restrictive diets and eating nutrient and fibre dense foods that will keep you fuller for longer.
Q. What foods suppress appetite?
A. Foods with a high volume but a low density (calories) effectively suppress appetite. It includes high water and high fibre foods. Thus, you can have cucumber, celery, lettuce, apple and watermelon.
Q. What deficiency makes you crave sugar?
A. Sugar cravings can be caused by mineral deficiencies such as magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, and calcium. These essential minerals help maintain hydration status, which, if not properly hydrated, can cause you to crave sugar when you are thirsty. In addition, they work together to control hundreds of processes in your body, from carbohydrate metabolism to the production and regulation of hormones and enzymes that govern how you think, move, and feel.