Easy Diabetes Meal Plan for Summer: 1,500 Calories

By: Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., R.D., C.D.

This healthy diabetes 1,500-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, and with that comes busier 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 all your favorite flavors and activities of summer. Each day of this plan is packed with good-for-you foods, like fiber-filled whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, and lean protein to help you feel satisfied throughout the day. Each meal contains around 3 carb servings (45 grams of carbohydrates) and each snack contains around 1 to 2 carb serving (15-30 grams of carbohydrates). This consistent carbohydrate intake throughout the day will keep you feeling energized and your sugars well-controlled.

Looking for a different calorie level? See this same plan at 1,200 calories and 2,000 calories.

At 1,500 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 2,000-calorie version of this plan and slowly taper your calories down until you feel comfortable at 1,500 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.

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. If you do want a little more sweetness, mix in a small amount (like 1 tsp. worth) of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup. It'll give you the sweetness you crave but not as much as what you'd get in flavored yogurts. Plus, adding chopped nuts instead of sugar-laden granola gives the crunchy texture we love without the excess sugar.

Breakfast (381 calories, 35 g carbohydrate)

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

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

• 1 cup raspberries

Lunch (363 calories, 51 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Egg Salad Avocado Toast
• 2 medium carrots, cut into sticks
• 1 cup diced pineapple

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

• 1 cup blackberries

Dinner (625 calories, 52 g carbohydrate)

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

Combine quinoa, cucumber and tomato and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Daily Totals: 1,495 calories, 100 g protein, 167 g carbohydrate, 36 g fiber, 53 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 1,088 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 (407 calories, 49 g carbohydrate)

• 1 whole-wheat English muffin
• 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
• 3/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack (130 calories, 14 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup sugar snap peas
• 1/4 cup hummus

Lunch (427 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto topped with 2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
• 1 medium peach

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

• 1 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: 1,492 calories, 75 g protein, 165 g carbohydrate, 39 g fiber, 59 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 1,938 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 (338 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding
• 1 /2 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 1 tsp. olive oil

A.M. Snack (139 calories, 35 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
• 1 cup blueberries

Lunch (427 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto topped with 2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
• 1 medium peach

P.M. Snack (67 calories, 6 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup sliced cucumber tossed with 1 tsp. each olive oil and lime juice and seasoned with a pinch each salt and pepper

Dinner (516 calories, 47 g carbohydrate)

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

Daily Totals: 1,487 calories, 64 g protein, 176 g carbohydrate, 34 g fiber, 63 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 1,965 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 (338 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding
• 1/2 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 1 tsp. olive oil

A.M. Snack (170 calories, 7 g carbohydrate)

• 2 celery stalks
• 1  1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter

Lunch (430 calories, 45 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto topped with 2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
• 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

Meal-Prep Tip: Make the Citrus Vinaigrette and hard-boil one egg to have for tomorrow's snack and dinner. 

Daily Totals: 1,496 calories, 67 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 35 g fiber, 74 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 1,616 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. Also, go for all-fruit jams that are naturally sweet from the fruit itself, rather than from added sugars. 

Breakfast (428 calories, 54 g carbohydrate)

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

A.M. Snack (104 calories, 5 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup sugar snap peas
• 1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch (408 calories, 34 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Chicken Sausage & Pesto topped with 2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
• 1 cup sliced cucumber tossed in 1 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

P.M. Snack (59 calories, 14 g carbohydrate)

• 1 medium peach

Dinner (488 calories, 36 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Grilled Chicken Tacos with Slaw & Lime Crema
• 2 cups mixed greens tossed with 2 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

Daily Totals: 1,487 calories, 70 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 29 g fiber, 71 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 2,221 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 (381 calories, 35 g carbohydrate)

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

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

• 1 plum
• 1 hard-boiled egg seasoned with a pinch each salt & pepper

Lunch (350 calories, 51 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas
• 1 cup diced watermelon

P.M. Snack (180 calories, 16 g carbohydrate)

• 1 cup blackberries
• 9 walnut halves

Dinner (376 calories, 39 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Stetson Chopped Salad

Evening Snack (90 calories, 22 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Strawberry Nice Cream

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

Daily Totals: 1,484 calories, 83 g protein, 173 g carbohydrate, 37 g fiber, 60 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 1,067 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 (338 calories, 44 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding
• 1/2 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 1 tsp. olive oil

A.M. Snack (115 calories, 14 g carbohydrate)

• 1 red bell pepper, sliced
• 3 Tbsp. hummus

Lunch (350 calories, 51 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas
• 1 cup diced watermelon

P.M. Snack (113 calories, 16 g carbohydrate)

• 2 plums
• 4 walnut halves

Dinner (570 calories, 45 g carbohydrate)

• 1 serving Greek Turkey Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki
• 1 cup diced watermelon
• 2 cups mixed greens dressed with 2 Tbsp.

Daily Totals: 1,485 calories, 71 g protein, 170 g carbohydrate, 41 g fiber, 66 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 1,729 mg sodium

 

WATCH: How to Make Stetson Chopped Salad

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