LIVE

Eating healthy for your diabetes doesn't have to cost a fortune. In this 7-day plan, you'll get a week of nutritious and delicious meals and snacks for about $100. Plus, we included a printable grocery list so you can hit the ground running.

Advertisement
Skillet Lemon Chicken & Potatoes with Kale

Eating healthy for diabetes doesn't have to break the bank. In this budget-friendly diabetes plan, we map out a week of meals and recipes with both your blood sugars and wallet in mind. You'll find recipes using plenty of pantry staples and affordable ingredients to get the most out of your grocery list. Speaking of grocery shopping—we included a printable list in this plan and aimed to keep the final total for the week around $100, not including pantry staples.

Get the Printable Shopping List Here!

Because weight loss can improve your blood sugars if you're overweight, we set the calorie level at 1,500 calories per day, which is a level where most people will lose weight. We also included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day, depending on your needs.

Tips for Eating on a Budget:

  • Shop with a List: It's not new information, but shopping with a grocery list really can save a lot of money. It reduces impulse buys, so we only take home the items we actually need.
  • Buy in Bulk: If you have the option, purchase in bulk at the grocery store or big-box stores to save money. Nuts, beans, grains and spices tend to work well for stocking up. (See More: 10 Best Diabetes-Friendly Foods to Buy at Costco)
  • Prep at Home: While pre-cut fruit and prepped vegetables (like pre-washed lettuce or baby carrots) can certainly have their place, don't forget that you're paying for the produce and the prep work. Although it takes more time, slicing and dicing at home can save some serious money.
  • Opt for Store Brands: When making this grocery list, we chose store-brand items whenever possible, as they tend to be less expensive than their name-brand counterparts.
  • Consider a CSA: Although they often require a deposit up front, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), often called farm shares, are a great option if you're trying to up your produce intake. Plus, the produce is local and sourced directly from the farm so there's no middle man, which means lower prices.

How to Lower Your Blood Sugars:

  • Lower Your Carbs: It's a myth that people with diabetes need to completely avoid carbohydrates, but cutting down can improve your blood sugars. Carbohydrates—even those that are naturally sugar-free, like rice or pasta—turn into sugar when we eat them, which raises our blood sugars. To improve your numbers, opt for whole grains, watch your carb portions and be sure to fill up your plate with plenty of protein and lower-carb nonstarchy vegetables.
  • Focus on Fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn't broken down into sugar. Because it's not digested, we process fiber-rich meals more slowly and are less likely to have blood sugar spikes. You'll find fiber in whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and fruits and vegetables. Aside from its positive impact on blood sugars, fiber has a ton of other health benefits so it's a good nutrient to focus on.
  • Eat More Protein: When it comes to diabetes, most people focus on carbohydrates and sugar but it's important to remember your protein. Not only does protein keep us full, it slows the breakdown of our food which means fewer blood sugar spikes. If you're trying to lower your blood sugars, cutting back on carb portions while upping your protein tends to make a big difference.
  • Cut Added Sugars: Sticking to sugar-free drinks like water and seltzer while cutting back on added sugars from soda, sweetened tea and juice can improve blood sugars. Although sweetened beverages are a huge source of added sugars, they're not the only culprit. Sneaky sources of added sugars include flavored yogurts, store-bought dressings and marinades and processed peanut butter (opt for natural peanut butter whenever possible).

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Make Sweet Potato, Kale & Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5.
  2. Prepare Classic Dijon Vinaigrette to have throughout the week.

Day 1

Garlic Butter-Roasted Salmon with Potatoes & Asparagus

Breakfast (294 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (95 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (360 calories, 30g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (241 calories, 16g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds
  • 1 clementine

Dinner (522 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,512 calories, 63g protein, 118g carbohydrates, 31g fiber, 92g fat, 925mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Change the A.M. snack to ¼ cup sliced cucumbers and omit the almonds at the P.M. snack.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 3 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the A.M. snack and add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch.

Day 2

flat belly sweet potato, chicken and kale salads

Breakfast (294 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (131 calories, 35g carbohydrate)

  • 1 large pear

Lunch (393 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (268 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (415 calories, 33g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,500 calories, 76g protein, 142g carbohydrates, 36g fiber, 73g fat, 1,555mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Change the A.M. snack to 1 clementine and omit the almonds at the P.M. snack.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 30 almonds to the A.M. snack and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Day 3

One-Pan Chicken & Asparagus Bake

Breakfast (315 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium peach, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

A.M. Snack (131 calories, 35g carbohydrate)

  • 1 large pear

Lunch (393 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (200 calories, 18g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 15 unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (456 calories, 34g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,494 calories, 93g protein, 145g carbohydrates, 31g fiber, 62g fat, 1,429mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Change the A.M. snack to 1 clementine and change the P.M. snack to ½ cup sliced cucumber.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to the A.M. snack and add 1 whole avocado, sliced, to dinner.

Day 4

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Breakfast (315 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium peach, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

A.M. Snack (95 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (393 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (206 calories, 7g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (472 calories, 85g carbohydrate)

Diabetes Tip: Don't let the higher carbohydrate count of this dinner scare you. It packs in 22 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein—two important factors that help reduce a food's impact on your blood sugars.

Daily Totals: 1,479 calories, 86g protein, 176g carbohydrate, 40g fiber, 53g fat, 1,135mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Omit the almonds at breakfast and change the P.M. snack to ¼ cup sliced cucumber.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 2½ Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the A.M. snack and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Day 5

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Breakfast (294 calories, 21 g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (115 calories, 31g carbohydrate)

  • 1 large apple

Lunch (393 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (206 calories, 7g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (469 calories, 43g carbohydrate)

Meal-Prep Tip: Reserve 2 servings of the Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole to have for lunch on Days 6 and 7.

Daily Totals: 1,478 calories, 71g protein, 134g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 76g fat, 1,725mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Change the A.M. snack to 1 clementine and change the P.M. snack to ½ cup sliced cucumber.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the A.M. snack and add 1 whole avocado, sliced, to dinner.

Day 6

Sheet-Pan Balsamic-Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas & Vegetables

Breakfast (315 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium peach, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

A.M. Snack (131 calories, 35g carbohydrate)

  • 1 large pear

Lunch (365 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (291 calories, 29g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (399 calories, 34g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,500 calories, 69g protein, 163g carbohydrates, 37g fiber, 71g fat, 1,282mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Omit the almonds at both breakfast and the P.M. snack.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 30 almonds to the A.M. snack and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Day 7

Skillet Lemon Chicken & Potatoes with Kale

Breakfast (294 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (95 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (365 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (268 calories, 21g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (478 calories, 29g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,500 calories, 67g protein, 136g carbohydrate, 35g fiber, 80g fat, 1,538mg sodium

To Make It 1,200 Calories: Change the A.M. snack to ¼ cup sliced cucumber and omit the almonds at the P.M. snack.

To Make It 2,000 Calories: Add 20 almonds to the A.M. snack and add 1 whole avocado, sliced, to dinner.