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Menu planning for people with diabetes

Menu planning

Menu planning for people with diabetes shouldn’t be much different than for people who don’t have diabetes. You’ll benefit from eating three healthy meals per day, and including healthy amounts of vegetables, grains and starches, and protein.

When you’re thinking about healthy menu planning, Canada’s Guide to Healthy Eating is an excellent place to begin. Here are some tips for food choices for healthy eating:

  • Eat up to three servings of fruit, and up to seven servings of vegetables each day.
  • Eat dark green, leafy vegetables – such as spinach and kale – these are packed with Vitamins A and C.
  • Choose fruit portions that contain approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving; for example, ½ a medium banana, a ¾ cup of cubed pineapple, or two cups of whole strawberries.
  • Eat two to three servings per meal each day of high-fibre grains and cereals, such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, wild rice, whole grain breads and whole wheat pasta. One serving is ⅓ to ½ cup.
  • Eat two to three servings of meat and meat products each day. Choose lower-fat options, such as skinless chicken or turkey and lean pork, and fish. One serving is equal to about two to three ounces: that’s about the size of a deck of cards.
  • Eat two to three servings of milk and milk products each day. Choose low-fat milk, yogurt and cheeses (for example, ricotta, or low-fat cheddar). One cup of milk is equal to one serving.
  • Reduce sodium in your diet by using herbs and spices to flavour your food instead of adding salt.
  • Choose lower-fat cooking methods, such as baking, grilling, steaming, or poaching.

Below is a sample plan for an entire week’s worth of meals. You can use this as your guide, or print the blank meal planning form below and create your own!Remember to use Canada’s Guide to Healthy Eating as a starting point. Everyone’s needs are different and an individualized meal plan that takes into account your age, gender, weight and weight goals – as well as your individual food preferences – will help you to stick with it.

Download the sample menu plan here

Breakfast ·    Hard-boiled egg·    Whole grain toast·    Apple·    Low-fat milk
Lunch ·    Chicken sandwich on whole grain bread, with mustard and low-fat mayo·    Carrot and celery sticks·    Grapes·    Low-fat yogurt
Snack* ·    Orange slices
Dinner ·    Grilled salmon·    Asparagus·    Brown rice
Breakfast ·    Healthy shake, with blended fruit juice, frozen fruit, plain yogurt and low-fat milk
Lunch ·    Fresh greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, topped with grilled salmon, low-fat dressing and a few grindings of Romano cheese·    Pita
Snack* ·    Apple
Dinner ·    Pork chops·    Baked potato·    Green beans·    Raspberries
Breakfast ·    Whole grain, high-fibre cereal, with low-fat milk·    Sliced strawberries
Lunch ·    Whole wheat pita, spread with hummus, and filled with lettuce and shredded carrots·    Cherry tomatoes·    Orange slices
Snack* ·    Plain popcorn
Dinner ·    Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce and grilled shrimp·    Sautéed onions, mushrooms and zucchini
Breakfast ·    Scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla with shredded cheese, green peppers·    Low-fat milk
Lunch ·    Low-fat cheese, with low-salt crackers·    Cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices·    Plums
Snack* ·    Banana
Dinner ·    Beef stew with veggies and steamed potatoes
Breakfast ·    Whole grain toast topped with peanut butter·    Banana·    Low-fat milk
Lunch ·    Cauliflower or broccoli soup·    Whole wheat bagel and a slice of low-fat cheese·    Blueberries·    Low-fat yogurt
Snack* ·    Grapes
Dinner ·    Black beans and kidney beans mixed with corn, chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers·    Whole grain pasta
Breakfast ·    Oatmeal with low-fat milk, topped with cinnamon and raisins
Lunch ·    Turkey sandwich on rye, with low-fat mayo and mustard·    Zucchini sticks and cherry tomatoes·    Grapes·    Low-fat milk
Snack* ·    Almonds
Dinner ·    Baked haddock·    Couscous·    Broccoli
Breakfast ·    Omelette filled with low-fat cheese and veggies·    English muffin·    Low-fat milk
Lunch ·    Vegetarian chili·    Whole wheat roll·    Carrot and celery sticks
Snack* ·    Popsicle (made from fruit juice or yogurt)
Dinner ·    Roast chicken·    Roasted carrots and parsnips·    Baked potato

* Ask your dietitian or healthcare team if a snack is an appropriate addition to your meal plan.
Download the Sample Meal Plan as a PDF

About Diabetes Care

Diabetes Care Community is the author of articles on a wide range of diabetes topics. All of these articles are written to a high standard of quality. They are reviewed for accuracy with health care professionals and, wherever possible, will adhere to the Canadian 2013 Diabetes Clinical Practice Guidelines. It is our wish that you find our articles helpful. We welcome your feedback and comments.

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