Regulating Sugar with a 2000-Calorie Meal Plan for Diabetes

Hiral Patel

November 18, 2022

Whether you’re trying to manage blood sugar levels or lose weight, a well-planned meal is perfect for better outcomes. Here’s the thing, there’s a wide array of flexible, easy, and nutritionist-backed meal plans out there.

One of the best and most balanced meal plans is a 2,000 calorie plan. It includes three meals and two filling snacks every day, containing about 2,000 calories. However, not every adult should consume 2000 calories only. That’s because age, gender, weight, and level of physical activity play a vital role in defining an adequate calorie intake.

On the other hand, some people might need to follow a 2,000 calories meal plan. For example, a 2000 calorie meal plan is suitable for a diabetic individual who wants to sustain a healthy weight.

The Need to Plan Your Meals in Diabetes

A person with diabetes must regularly monitor their diets to keep blood glucose levels under control. Scheduling and following a consistent meal plan is also necessary for preventing complications.

Dieticians advise a 2,000 calorie meal plan for healthy diabetic men who don’t need to lose weight. It is especially valid for diabetic adults who are physically active and are not obese. 

A 2,000 calorie meal plan with a good amount of proteins can control the blood sugar spike in diabetic patients. In addition, it works to reverse the side effects of diabetes.

However, since diabetes is a lifestyle health condition, a diet or meal plan does guarantee a complete cure. You can also try the 1500 and 1200 calorie versions, but choose the best calorie goal that suits your needs.

What is a 2000-Calorie Meal Plan?

Do not call the 2,000 calorie meal plan a diet because it is too different. The objective was to use the mentioned calorie requirement value to eat healthier. The 2,000-calorie meal plan was born after averaging how many calories men and women require every day. For instance, men reported consuming between 2,000 and 3,000 calories daily, and women reported between 1,600 and 2,200 calories daily. So, yes, it’s a loosely averaged meal plan to keep you on track.

In a 2000 calorie diabetic meal plan, you consume nothing more than 2000 calories through food each day. Each day of the plan is a balance of macro and micronutrients. What matters most is that it provides enough calories to keep you going all day long. 

Burning more calories than you consume leads to a calorie deficit. As a result, it stimulates weight loss, which is suitable for obese diabetics.

2000 Calorie Meal Plan for Diabetes: Foods to Include

Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains

Rice is a staple food for many. However, for a diabetes-friendly 2,000 calorie meal, opting for brown/black/red rice instead of white rice is the best option. That is primarily because brown rice has a low glycemic index and is the typical whole grain rice. That makes it the best alternative. One hundred grams of long-grain brown rice offers 111 calories.

Research suggests that the substitution of whole grains, including brown rice, for white rice can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hence, whole grains are a healthy choice, not just for diabetes but also general health maintenance. 

If you have diabetes, whole grains like oats, quinoa, millet, and barley are usually better meal options. Unlike refined carbohydrates, they do not affect blood glucose levels quickly. However, be mindful of your portion sizes to keep total calories in check. If you follow a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of gluten-free whole grains like buckwheat.

Pulses and Legumes

Pulses and legumes are a complete meal as they are full of fibre and protein. Hence, they form a salient part of the 2,000 calorie meal guide for diabetic patients. One of the most common legumes you can consume in your 2000 calorie meal plan for diabetes is beans. They are nutritious food with a very low glycemic index. 

A study shows that in addition to whole grains, regular legume consumption aids in preventing and managing diabetes. Furthermore, a 2,000 calorie meal plan composed of pulses and legumes will also provide fibre, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins, positively impacting diabetes management.

Lean Meat

If you are a non-vegetarian, your 2,000 calorie diabetic meal plan should include lean meat. It is an excellent option. Lean meats like skinless poultry, white meat chicken, or turkey top the list as they’re devoid of saturated fat and measure high on the insulin index. Lean meat consumption results in a significant rise in insulin levels. It is beneficial for those who don’t produce enough insulin. However, the mode of cooking plays a role in calorie-controlled meals. Be strategic and avoid deep frying as it raises calories. 

Eating 100 grams of skinless, cooked chicken breast provides 165 calories, where 80% of the calories come from protein.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fishes are excellent sources of omega-3 fats, with significant heart-protective properties. Getting enough of such fats is crucial for diabetics, especially those prone to stroke and heart diseases. 

Findings of a study show that overweight participants with diabetes have improved post-meal blood sugar levels after consuming fatty fish. Thus, a 2000 calorie meal plan can include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, and sardines. A 100 grams serving of salmon provides about 127 calories. Furthermore, they offer high-quality protein, which instigates a feeling of fullness and stabilises your appetite.


Various nuts are low in net carbs, although some have higher carb values. However, most nuts are high in protein, fibre, and Omega-3 fats. The nutritious quality of the nuts makes it essential for a diabetic patient to include them in the 2,000 calories chart. You can eat nuts like walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, and almonds in between meals. 

One hundred grams of walnuts are 654 calories, and 100 grams of almonds are 579 calories. On average, eating around a handful of nuts is sufficient for a day. It is about as much as what fits in the palm of your hand or around 25-30 grams per day.

High Fibre and Non-Starchy Vegetables

It is no secret that you should consume enough fibre while being on any meal plan. It helps in supporting healthy bowel movements, therefore, maintaining gut health. Swiss chard, broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes with skin, and carrots are fibre-rich vegetables that you can consume. 

People with diabetes should try to include non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and spinach in their 2000 calorie meal plan. Although these veggies have fewer calories and carbohydrates, they can satisfy your appetite. For example, 100 grams of most non-starchy vegetables contains 30-35 calories only. So, you can eat large portions without crossing the limit set by the meal plan.

Diabetic 2000 Calorie Diet Plan: Foods to Avoid

Fried Foods

There is no strict restriction for the occasional consumption of fried foods. However, regularly eating them would disrupt your diabetes maintenance efforts. Fried foods like French fries and nuggets are high in calories and fat. Too much fat consumption leads to weight gain, ultimately worsening type 2 diabetes.

Added Sugars

Processed sugar is a strict no for any meal plan that you follow. For years, people have been recommended to lay off foods with added sugars. So, limit or avoid the intake of candies, ice cream, agave, and baked goods. Although you should totally avoid added sugar in your meals in a 2,000 calorie meal plan. Added sugar may cause fat accumulation in the liver, which leads to inflammation and insulin resistance.

Processed Foods

Most processed foods are refined carbs. Therefore, they are a sore thumb in a 2,000 calorie diabetes meal plan. Hence, avoid foods like boxed pasta, sugary cereals, packed chips, cookies, and white bread. Such ultra-processed foods are high in empty calories, fats, and sugars.

Sugar-sweetened beverages

Avoid sugary drinks like lemonade, fruit punch, soda, cola and sports drinks because they only have calories with no other beneficial nutrients. Almost half of the contents in sweetened beverages are added sugars. Instead, go for healthy drinks like green tea, unsweetened lemon water etc.

7 Day Sample 2,000-Calorie Meal Plan for Diabetes

You can draft a meal plan now that you are already aware of the foods you should eat and avoid in your diabetes meal plan. However, it is best to plan your meals and diets under the supervision of an expert nutritionist. That is because your body might have different needs, demanding other foods.

In the given 7 Day 2,000-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 unsweetened coffee, tea, and water. The seven-day meal plan is based on diabetes-friendly foods, healthy fats, lean protein, rich fibre while limiting refined carbs. The calorie and carbohydrate totals are laid out for each day.

Day One Meal Plan

Breakfast (423 calories, 69 g carbs)

  • Oats (cooked): 3/4 cups
  • Medium apple: 1 
  • Unsalted almonds: 2 Tbsp

A.M. Snack (320 calories, 33 g carbs)

  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Blueberries: 1 cup
  • Unsalted almonds: 2 Tbsp

Lunch (467 calories, 50 g carbs)

  • Chipotle Ranch Egg Salad: 1 serving
  • Seed crackers: 10
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup

P.M. Snack (261 calories, 20 g carbs)

  • Air Popped Popcorn: 3 cups (tossed in 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tbsp olive oil)

Dinner (529 calories, 43 g carbs)

  • Chicken with cauliflower rice: 1 serving
  • Salad greens dressed with citrus vinaigrette: 2 cups
  • Medium-sized orange: 1
  • Total calories of day one: 2,000 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 217 grams

Day Two Meal Plan

Breakfast (542 calories, 36 g carbs)

  • Avocado egg toast: 2 servings

A.M. Snack (275 calories, 36 g carbs)

  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Raspberries: 1/2 cup
  • Muesli: 1/4 cup

Note: Top the Greek yoghurt with raspberries and muesli.

Lunch (458 calories, 47 g carbs)

  • White bean, cucumber, tomato salad with basil vinaigrette: 1 serving
  • Seed crackers: 10
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup

P.M. Snack (176 calories, 16 g carbs)

  • Cheddar cheese: 28 grams
  • Medium-sized orange: 1

Dinner (537 calories, 64 g carbs)

  • Smoked salmon with chopped parsley: 1 serving
  • Steamed green beans: 1 cup
  • Whole wheat couscous: 1 cup
  • Sliced almonds: 1 tbsp
  • Total calories of day two: 1,987 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 200 grams

Day Three Meal Plan

Breakfast (398 calories, 57 g carbs)

  • Oatmeal: 1 serving
  • Medium banana: 1
  • Chopped walnuts: 3 Tbsp

A.M. Snack (175 calories, 19 g carbs)

  • Non-fat plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Blueberries: 1/2 cup

Lunch (517 calories, 62 g carbs)

  • Chipotle ranch egg salad wraps: 1 serving
  • Seed crackers: 10
  • Medium carrots: 2
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup

P.M. Snack (305 calories, 31 g carbs)

  • Medium-sized Apple: 1
  • Peanut butter: 2 Tbsp

Dinner (601 calories, 74 g carbs)

  • Garlic shrimp and spinach: 1 serving
  • Whole wheat couscous: 1 cup
  • Baked sweet potato with 2 tsp. melted unsalted butter: 1/2
  • Total calories of day three: 1,997 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 243 grams

Day Four Meal Plan

Breakfast (485 calories, 55 g carbs)

  • Yoghurt with blueberries and honey: 1 serving
  • Muesli: 1/3 cup
  • Chopped walnuts: 3 Tbsp

A.M. Snack (187 calories, 31 g carbs)

  • Medium-sized pear: 1
  • Pistachios: 1/2 cup

Lunch (365 calories, 45 g carbs)

  • Zucchini noodles with turkey bolognese: 1 serving
  • Toasted, whole-wheat baguette: 1 slice

P.M. Snack (315 calories, 45 g carbs)

  • Seeded crackers: 15
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup
  • Medium carrots: 2

Dinner (601 calories, 67 g carbs)

  • Pepper chicken: 1 serving
  • Brown rice: 1 cup
  • Total calories of day four: 1,953 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 243 grams

Day Five Meal Plan

Breakfast (485 calories, 55 g carbs)

  • Yoghurt with blueberries and honey: 1 serving
  • Muesli: 1/3 cup
  • Chopped walnuts: 3 Tbsp

A.M. Snack (191 calories, 31 g carbs)

  • Banana: 1
  • Pistachios: 1/2 cup

Lunch (426 calories, 67 g carbs)

  • Veggies and Hummus sandwich: 1 serving
  • Orange: 1 medium

P.M. Snack (315 calories, 45 g carbs)

  • Seeded crackers: 15
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup
  • Medium carrots: 2

Dinner (489 calories, 39 g carbs)

  • Roast chicken with Parmesan herb sauce
  • Total calories of day five: 1,906 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 237 grams

Day Six Meal Plan

Breakfast (400 calories, 48 g carbs)

  • Spinach and egg scramble with raspberries: 1 serving
  • Banana medium-sized: 1

A.M. Snack (261 calories, 23 g carbs)

  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Blueberries: 1/2 cup
  • Pistachios: 1/2 cup

Lunch (435 calories, 68 g carbs)

  • Green salad with pita bread and hummus: 1 serving

P.M. Snack (305 calories, 31 g carbs)

  • Medium-sized Apple: 1
  • Peanut butter: 2 Tbsp

Dinner (599 calories, 66 g carbs)

  • Mushroom sauced chicken breast: 1 serving
  • Brown rice: 1 cup
  • Steamed green beans: 1 cup
  • Total calories of day six: 2,000 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 236 grams

Day Seven

Day Seven Meal Plan

Breakfast (492 calories, 55 g carbs)

  • Avocado toast: 2 servings
  • Medium orange: 1
  • Pistachios: 1/2 cup

A.M. Snack (341 calories, 52 g carbs)

  • Blueberries: 3/4 cup
  • Non-fat plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Muesli: 1/4 cup

Lunch (365 calories, 45 g carbs)

  • Zucchini noodles with turkey bolognese: 1 serving
  • Toasted, whole-wheat baguette: 1 slice

P.M. Snack (95 calories, 25 g carbs)

  • One medium apple, sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon

Dinner (689 calories, 76 g carbs)

  • Lentil and roasted vegetable salad: 2½ cups
  • Toasted whole-wheat baguette: 1
  • Total calories of day seven: 1,982 calories
  • Total carbohydrates consumed: 253 grams

2,000-Calorie Meal Plan for Diabetes: Precautions and Things to Follow

  • Do some background research before entering a calorie limited meal plan. Then, transition slowly into the 2,000 calorie plan, or you will go into withdrawal.
  • Make a realistic meal plan that fits your needs and daily life. It should be able to sustain your everyday activities.
  • Plan an exercise schedule that is compatible with your 2,000 calorie meal plan. Ideally, a calorie meal plan works better when paired with regular exercise. So go for simpler activities such as brisk walking or yoga.
  • Your dietician would work out how long you should follow the 2,000 calorie meal plan. It can be about 1 to 3 months, depending on the health goals. Do not shorten or extend the diet until you receive specific instructions from the doctor or an expert guide.


Calories fuel the body. Different people have different calorie needs depending on their age, gender, physical activity levels, and overall health. Most diabetic patients should maintain a healthy weight to control blood sugar levels. Similarly, some people need to lose weight to prevent further health complications. If any of that applies to you, you’ll most likely benefit from a 2,000 calorie meal plan. You should plan your meals accordingly after considering foods that are good and bad for diabetes. 

We are what we eat, and a 2000 calorie plan helps control what we eat. However, prolonged periods of calorie restriction can be harmful. Therefore, with diabetes, it is advised that one consults a doctor and nutritionist before starting any meal plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is 2000 calories a day healthy?

A. For an average healthy adult, consuming 2,000 calories a day is believed to be a standard range. However, the number of calories that a person requires can be higher or lower than the 2,000 value. It all depends on their age, gender, physical activity levels, and health status. For instance, a large adult who is physically active requires more calories. 

Q. Is 2000 calories enough to lose weight?

A. It is important to note that weight loss is a complex subject. What suits you may not work for another person. For example, following a 2,000 calorie plan is enough to create a calorie deficit and cause weight loss for some people. In contrast, some people might lose weight only with a 1,500 calorie meal plan. So, consult a doctor and nutritionist before trying it.

Q. Is 2000 calories too much for a 14-year-old?

A. 2,000 calories is the average calorie intake of an adult. However, the calorie needs are exceptionally high during the teenage period, which is a time of rapid growth. For example, moderately active teen girls require about 2,200 to 2,400 calories a day, while teenage boys need 2,200 to 2,800 calories daily.

Q. How much should I walk to burn 2000 calories?

A. The number of calories you can burn through walking depends on age, gender, body size, and activity level. For example, a moderately active person can burn 2,000 calories by walking 2 to 3 miles a day and doing daily exercises. However, elite athletes can burn it at a faster rate. At the same time, a person weighing 70kg might have to walk for 6-9 hours to meet the calorie-burning goal.

Q. What exercise burns the most calories?

A. Most of the high-intensity exercises are suited for burning calories at a faster rate. Running, swimming, jogging, and cycling are some exercises to try. On average, running can burn 206 calories within 30 minutes. Moreover, after a high-intensity workout, your body will burn calories throughout the day.

About the Author

According to Hiral, “Striving to be better than yesterday, is the key to achieving any goal that is ahead of you”. As a diet and lifestyle consultant, Hiral intends to help her clients inculcate habits such as healthy eating and regular exercise to improve their lifestyle holistically for a better tomorrow. She also aims to make her clients feel good from the inside-out and bring about a positive change to their overall life.

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