Easy Diabetes Meal Plan for Summer: 1,200 Calories

By: Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., R.D., C.D.

This healthy diabetes 1,200-calorie meal plan makes it easy to stay on track and manage your blood sugars during the busy summer season.

Summer means longer days and more sunshine, but it can also bring busy schedules, vacations and BBQs that may make it more difficult to focus on your health goals. In this 7-day diabetes meal plan, we make it easy to eat healthy and keep your weight and blood sugars in check while enjoying the flavors of the season. Each meal has about 2 to 3 carb servings (30-45 grams of carbohydrates) and each snack contains around 1 carb serving (15 grams of carbohydrates). This consistent carbohydrate intake throughout the day will keep you feeling energized and your sugars well-controlled. When following this sample diabetes meal plan, you'll find lean proteins, nutritious fruits and vegetables, and fiber-filled whole grains and legumes to keep you satiated.

Need a higher-calorie plan to follow? See this same meal plan at 1,500 calories and 2,000 calories

At 1,200 calories, this diabetes weight-loss meal plan can help reduce weight by 1 to 2 pounds per week without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. Research shows that achieving a healthy weight can play a significant role in improving blood sugar levels and preventing potential complications of diabetes (like cardiovascular issues or nerve damage). In this plan, we keep the calories and the carbohydrate levels balanced while pumping up the fiber and protein to keep you feeling satisfied while eating fewer calories. Healthy snacks between meals will help you avoid that "out-of-control-hungry" feeling that happens when we go too long without eating. If you are still feeling hungry, bump up your snacks with extra veggies and lean protein, or start with our 1,500-calorie version of this plan and slowly taper your calories down until you feel comfortable at 1,200 calories.

While we have you covered with what to eat in this diabetes diet meal plan, be sure to implement other healthy habits into your daily routine, like drinking plenty of water and getting in more physical activity (like walking, biking or swimming) to help lower weight and improve blood sugars.

Diagnosed with high blood sugars in pregnancy? Check out our Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

A little meal prep at the beginning of the week can go a long way to make the week ahead easier.

1. Prep Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto to have for lunch on Days 2, 3, 4 and 5.
2. Wash produce and prep what you can ahead of time, like cubing the pineapple and cantaloupe to have throughout the week.

Day 1

Diabetes Tip: Flavored yogurts are often high in added sugars. Stick to plain yogurt and mix in some juicy fruit, like a sliced peach, to add natural sweetness and flavor. Plus, adding chopped nuts instead of sugar-laden granola gives the crunchy texture we love without the excess sugar.

Breakfast (273 calories, 26 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
• 1 large peach, sliced

A.M. Snack (64 calories, 15 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup raspberries

Lunch (313 calories, 39 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Egg Salad Avocado Toast
• 1 cup diced pineapple

P.M. Snack (62 calories, 14 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup blackberries

Dinner (489 calories, 43 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Grilled Lemon-Pepper Salmon in Foil
• 1 cup Basic Quinoa
• 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
• 1/2 cup chopped tomato

Daily Totals: 1,200 calories, 85 g protein, 137 g carbohydrate, 32 g fiber, 40 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 669 mg sodium

 

Day 2

Diabetes Tip: Exercise helps lower blood sugars by using up the glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream for energy. Even low-impact exercise, like walking, can be super effective. Plus, research shows that we don't have to exercise for long to reap the benefits. Walking 10 minutes after each meal has been shown to effectively reduce blood sugars. Enjoy a peaceful walk on your own or get a friend or family member to join you!>

Breakfast (291 calories, 31 g carbohydrate)

• 1 whole-wheat English muffin
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

A.M. Snack (13 calories, 2 g carbohydrate)

• 1/2 cup sugar snap peas

Lunch (386 calories, 43 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto
• 1 medium peach

P.M. Snack (31 calories, 7 g carbohydrate)

• 1/2 cup blackberries

Dinner (465 calories, 45 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Grilled Ancho Chicken Breasts & Apricot Salsa
• 1 serving Fresh Sweet Corn Salad
• 1 cup cubed cantaloupe

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare 2 servings of Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding to have for breakfast on Days 3 and 4

Daily Totals: 1,186 calories, 62 g protein, 128 g carbohydrate, 28 g fiber, 46 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1,578 mg sodium

 

Day 3

Diabetes Tip: It's recommended to reduce intake of red meat, like beef and pork, to keep our hearts healthy. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to avoid it completely! Aim to limit red meat to once or twice per week. When you do eat it, choose leaner cuts, like the flank steak we use in the Smoky Grilled Flank Steak recipe, to minimize saturated fat.

Breakfast (229 calories, 30 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding

A.M. Snack (54 calories, 13 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup cubed cantaloupe

Lunch (386 calories, 43 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto
• 1 medium peach

P.M. Snack (58 calories, 15 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup sliced cucumber
• Pinch of black pepper
• 1/2 cup blueberries

Dinner (494 calories, 41 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Smoky Grilled Flank Steak
• 2 servings Macaroni Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
• 1/2 cup diced watermelon

Daily Totals: 1,220 calories, 57 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 29 g fiber, 50 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1,603 mg sodium

 

Day 4

Diabetes Tip: Chia pudding is the perfect breakfast. It's easy, high in fiber for stable blood sugars, and a refreshing way to start a hot summer day. Use this basic chia pudding formula so you can mix and match flavors based on what you have in the house.

Breakfast (229 calories, 30 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding

A.M. Snack (13 calories, 2 g carbohydrate)

• 2 celery stalks

Lunch (388 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto
• 2 plums

P.M. Snack (42 calories, 10 g carbohydrate)

• 2/3 cup fresh raspberries

Dinner (516 calories, 38 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Shrimp & Pepper Kebabs with Grilled Red Onion Slaw
• 1 serving Grilled Corn on the Cob

Daily Totals: 1,187 calories, 55 g protein, 124 g carbohydrate, 31 g fiber, 54 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1,323 mg sodium

 

Day 5

Diabetes Tip: Choose natural peanut butter with just two ingredients—peanuts and salt. More processed peanut butter often has added sugars and hydrogenated fats, which aren't so good for our hearts.

Breakfast (291 calories, 31 g carbohydrate)

• 1 whole-wheat English muffin
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

A.M. Snack (16 calories, 4 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup sliced cucumber
• Pinch of black pepper

Lunch (386 calories, 43 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto
• 1 medium peach

P.M. Snack (19 calories, 4 g carbohydrate)

• 3 celery stalks

Dinner (511 calories, 42 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Grilled Chicken Tacos with Slaw & Lime Crema
• 1 serving Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado Salad

Daily Totals: 1,223 calories, 60 g protein, 124 g carbohydrate, 28 g fiber, 54 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 2,263 mg sodium

 

Day 6

Diabetes Tip: Today's lunch, the Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas, is a healthy no-cook meal that's ready in 15 minutes. Bonus: It has a whopping 12 g of fiber to help keep you full all afternoon while supporting stable blood sugars.

Breakfast (273 calories, 26 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
• 1 medium peach, sliced

A.M. Snack (108 calories, 8 g carbohydrate)

• 1 plum
• 1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch (334 calories, 47 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas
• 2/3 cup diced watermelon

P.M. Snack (132 calories, 11 g carbohydrate)

• 2/3 cup blackberries
• 7 walnut halves

Dinner (376 calories, 39 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Stetson Chopped Salad

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare 1 serving of Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding to have for breakfast tomorrow

Daily Totals: 1,224 calories, 68 g protein, 132 g carbohydrate, 30 g fiber, 54 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 877 mg sodium

 

Day 7

Diabetes Tip: Choosing drinks without added sugars, like water, seltzer and unsweetened tea, can make a big difference when it comes to your blood sugars. You may be surprised how packed sweetened drinks are with sugar—a 16-oz. glass of ginger ale has 11 teaspoons of added sugar!

Breakfast (229 calories, 30 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding

A.M. Snack (37 calories, 7 g carbohydrate)

• 1 red bell pepper, sliced

Lunch (334 calories, 47 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas
• 2/3 cup diced watermelon

P.M. Snack (61 calories, 15 g carbohydrate)

• 2 plums

Dinner (526 calories, 43 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Greek Turkey Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki
• 1 cup diced watermelon
• 2 cups mixed greens dressed with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. red-wine vinegar

Daily Totals: 1,186 calories, 63 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 35 g fiber, 46 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 1,269 mg sodium

 

WATCH: How to Make Greek Turkey Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki

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