3-Day Diabetes Meal Plan: 2,000 Calories

By: Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D., C.D., Digital Meal Plan Editor

Healthy eating is the cornerstone of managing diabetes, yet it can be a challenge figuring out what to eat to balance your blood sugar. Here we've created a delicious 3-day meal plan that makes it easier to follow a diabetes diet. In this plan you'll find a mix of nutritious foods including fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, healthy fats and dairy. This plan limits the amount of foods with refined carbohydrates (think white bread, white rice and sugar), added sugars and saturated fats, which can negatively impact your health if you eat too much. The carbohydrates are balanced throughout the day with each meal containing around 4 carb servings (60 grams of carbohydrates) and each snack containing around 1-2 carb servings (15-30 grams of carbohydrates). The calorie and carbohydrate totals are listed next to each meal and snack so you can swap foods with similar nutrition in and out as you like. Eating with diabetes doesn't need to be restrictive or complicated. Incorporating a variety of foods, as we do in this meal plan, is a healthy and sustainable approach to managing diabetes.
Not sure if this is the right plan for you? Calculate your calorie level and find the diet meal plan that will work best for you.


Day 1:

Meal Prep Tip: Cook or set aside an extra 2/3 cup of black beans and 1/3 cup brown rice tonight at dinner to have for lunch on Day 2. Be sure to rinse canned beans to get rid of excess salt.

Breakfast (422 calories, 57 grams carbohydrates)
• 1 1/3 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 8 dried apricots, chopped
• 3/4 cup blueberries
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
• 2 tsp. honey
Top yogurt with apricots, blueberries, walnuts and honey.

Note: We use a small amount of added sweetener, in this case honey, in plain yogurt. People with diabetes can still eat small amounts of sweet foods. And adding the honey to plain yogurt, rather than buying sugary-flavored yogurt, allows you to control the amount of sugar. When buying dried fruits read the ingredient list and try to avoid any with added sugar. Pairing carbohydrates with protein and fiber (like the Greek yogurt and blueberries) slows down the digestion and absorption process, helping to keep your blood sugar from rising too quickly.

A.M. Snack (175 calories, 17 grams carbohydrates)
• 2 multigrain rice cakes
• 1 Tbsp. peanut butter

Lunch (464 calories, 58 grams carbohydrates)
Turkey, Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
• 2 slices whole-wheat bread
• 2 Tbsp. hummus
• 5 thin slices low-sodium deli turkey (5 ounces)
• 4 slices tomato
• 6 cucumber slices
• 1 cup mixed greens
Spread hummus on bread and layer with turkey, tomato, cucumber and mixed greens.
• 1 medium apple

Note: The carbohydrate and fiber content of store-bought breads can vary greatly. Aim for a bread that delivers around 1 carbohydrate serving (15 grams of carbs) and upwards of 20% of the daily value for fiber for one slice.

P.M. Snack (192 calories, 15 grams carbohydrates)
• 7 walnut halves
• 2 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips

Dinner (623 calories, 64 grams carbohydrates)
Shrimp, Rice & Spiced Black Beans
• 6 oz. shrimp, cooked in 1 tsp. olive oil and seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper
• 1 cup veggies of your choice (try peppers & onions), cooked in 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil with a pinch each of salt and pepper
• 2/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and seasoned with crushed red pepper
• 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
• 1/4 cup salsa or pico de gallo
• 1/4 medium avocado
Garnish with cilantro & lime for extra flavor.

Note: Black beans deliver a combination of a fiber, carbs and protein—a mix that helps to keep blood sugar balanced and helps you feel more satisfied.

Evening Snack (103 Calories, 28 grams carbohydrates)
• 1 medium pear, sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon

Note: Having diabetes doesn't mean you can never have dessert again. Choosing small servings of things like chocolate, cookies or cakes and opting for naturally sweet foods, like fruit, can satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar too much. See our recipes for diabetes-friendly desserts & sweets.


Day 2:

Breakfast (453 calories, 56 grams carbohydrates)
Peanut Butter & Banana Toast
• 2 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
• 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
• 1 medium banana, sliced

Note: Many people think of bread and bananas as off limits for people with diabetes, but they can be a part of a healthy diet. Be sure to choose a medium sized banana and a bread that provides around 1 carbohydrate serving (15 grams of carbs) per slice, and you'll stay within the recommended range for carbohydates for this meal.

A.M. Snack (204 calories, 32 grams carbohydrates)
• 1/4 cup hummus
• 4 medium carrots

Lunch (491 calories, 62 grams carbohydrates)
Taco Salad
• 2 cups mixed greens
• 3/4 cup canned black beans, left over from last night's dinner
• 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, left over from last night's dinner
• 1/2 medium tomato, diced
• 1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
• 2 Tbsp. shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine ingredients and top with a mix of 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. lime juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

P.M. Snack (202 calories, 15 grams carbohydrates)
• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
• 1 tsp. honey
Top yogurt with walnuts and honey.

Dinner (583 calories, 63 grams carbohydrates)
• 1 serving Millet Stuffed Peppers with Ginger & Tofu
• 1 1/2 cups roasted broccoli tossed in 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper
• 1 ear of corn on the cob

Evening Snack (84 calories, 20 g carbohydrates)
• 2 kiwis


Day 3:

Breakfast (441 calories, 62 grams carbohydrates)
Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts
• 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, cooked in 1/4 cup 1% milk and 1 1/4 cup water
• 1 medium peach, sliced
• 3 Tbsp. slivered almonds
Cook oats and top with peaches and almonds.

Note: Oats are a great high-fiber option for breakfast. The less processed the oat, the higher the fiber content—instead of instant oats, try old-fashioned, rolled or steel-cut oats. Old-fashioned oats take 10 minutes or so to cook, with heartier oats taking longer. If you're feeling rushed in the mornings, try this recipe for overnight oats that can be heated up in the microwave or pull out your crock pot to make a bigger batch of creamy oats.

A.M. Snack (204 calories, 32 grams carbohydrates)
• 4 medium carrots
• 1/4 cup hummus

Lunch (479 calories, 60 grams carbohydrates)
Tomato & Avocado Cheese Sandwich
• 2 slices whole-wheat bread
• 1/2 avocado, mashed
• 4 slices tomato
• 3 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup mixed greens, like arugula
Top bread with avocado, tomato and cheese and toast until the cheese begins to melt. Add greens, a pinch of pepper, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and top with other piece of toast.
• 1 cup blueberries

P.M. Snack (227 calories, 19 grams carbohydrates)
• 2 multigrain rice cakes
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter

Dinner (608 calories, 60 grams carbohydrates)
• 1 serving Sausage-&-Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
• 2 1/2 cups mixed greens
• 1/2 cup grated carrot
• 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
Combine salad ingredients and top with 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. each olive oil & balsamic vinegar
• 1 medium apple, sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon, to enjoy after dinner
Note: This meal plan is controlled for calories, carbohydrates, fiber, saturated fat and sodium. If another nutrient is of particular concern, speak with your health-care provider about altering this meal plan to better suit your individual health needs.

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