Meal plans for diabetes can save you a ton of stress. They can help keep your blood sugar in good control, cut down on your grocery bill, and save you all the time it takes to think about what you want to eat, how much food you need to buy, and what you need to do to get it on the table.
Some people don't like the idea of meal plans because they don't want anyone else to tell them what to eat, and that's OK. If you're that person, you can use the plate method and/or carb counting to help you decide on your meal plan.
If you prefer an efficient system that combines carb counting with planning so you'll always have an answer to the question, “What's for dinner?”, then meal planning might be the best choice for you.
Why use a meal plan for diabetes?
You may have heard the quote from Lewis Carroll, “If you don't know where you want to go, any road will take you there.” That's true in many situations, including health. If you don't know how you want to change your health, you can eat almost anything and wait to see what happens. But, if you know that you want to improve your health, you've got to stay on the path that will lead you there. A meal plan is an eating plan for better health.
Types of meal plans for diabetes
There are different types of meal plans. Some are very specific — they come with nutrient analysis, cooking instructions, and grocery shopping lists. There are meal plans that are a lot less intense — just a menu. Some meal plans include the groceries delivered to your door in a box. All you have to do is heat and eat!
Options for diabetes-friendly meal plans
- Living Plate offers a 3-day trial of their diabetes meal plan. After that, the cost is $9 a month.
- Sunbasket delivers meal kits directly to your home. They offer a Diabetes-Friendly meal plan. The cost is about $12 per serving.
- EatLovePro is the service I use with my clients. My clients can choose from over 5,000 recipes. They get a meal plan that includes 3 meals a day and a snack, plus a grocery shopping list, cooking instructions, and nutrition information. EatLovePro also comes with a smartphone app that my clients can use. If you'd like to access personalized meal planning via EatLovePro, please schedule an appointment and choose either 1 month or 12 months' worth of meal planning.
- Make your own meal plan using a calendar: each day as you make a diabetes-friendly dinner, write it down on your calendar. At the end of the month, you'll have 30 days worth of diabetes-friendly meals recorded. You can keep that page of your calendar and continue to rotate through those same meals. (Most people make the same eight or ten meals over and over again, so you'll be ahead of the pack as far as variety if you get 30 meals on your calendar).
- Make your own meal plan using index cards. Similar to the last point, write down each diabetes-friendly dinner you make for 30 days, but instead of using a calendar, use index cards. Put the meal on the front (salmon, salad, roast potatoes…). On the back, list the ingredients you need for the meal (3 lbs salmon, 1 bag baby spinach, 8 oz goat cheese…). Keep your index cards secured together with a rubber band. Each time you need a dinner idea, grab the card on top and take it with you to the grocery store (or to work and then to the store). You'll never have to wonder what to make or forget to buy something essential. After you make that meal, the card goes to the back of the stack, and you won't see it again for another 30 meals, so you won't get bored of eating the same thing over and over again.
Do I have to use a diabetes meal plan to keep my blood sugar in good control?
No. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do!. You might be one of those people who is very successful using the plate method or counting carbs in your head, and that's just fine. Meal planning makes life easier for some people, and it annoys other people. So decide what makes your life easier and do that. Meal planning is just one more tool that might help you get your blood sugar where you want it. You get to decide what works for you!
Action Items Day 13:
- Decide whether or not you'd like to give meal plans for diabetes a try.
- If so, take a look at the meal planning methods above and choose one to try this week.
- Physical Activity goal: Enjoy your rest day, you deserve it. Great job!
This post is part of a series, Tame Type 2 Diabetes in 30 Days. Click here to go to Day 1.
This post is intended as general information and is not a substitute for your physician's advice. Please follow the advice of your personal healthcare team.
Living Plate and Sunbasket are affiliate programs, and I like their products. If you purchase from them, I may benefit. The cost will be the same for you.
MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES, IBCLC
I believe people with diabetes can enjoy good food and good health without feeling ashamed of their bodies.