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The Ultimate 30-Day Diabetic Meal Plan (with a Free PDF!) 

This meal plan is packed with carb-conscious dinners to make eating with diabetes easy.

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30 day diabetic meal plan_slideSydney Watson/Taste of Home

Get the Meal Plan PDF

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Day 1: Baked Chicken Chalupas

Choose red over green cabbage to boost the amount of beneficial vitamins and minerals such as choline, potassium and vitamins A and C. Even better? Add a slice of avocado to each chalupa to increase the amount of insoluble fiber and heart-healthy benefits.
Nutrition Facts

1 chalupa: 206 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 400mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 19g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Day 2: Ginger Halibut with Brussels Sprouts

To cut the sodium without losing that unique umami flavor, use Worcestershire, coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce.
Nutrition Facts

1 fillet with brussels sprouts: 234 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 701mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 24g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 fat, 1 vegetable.

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Day 3: Chipotle Shredded Beef

This beef is delicious whether you serve it all rolled up in a tortilla, with corn salsa in a burrito, in a bun or over rice or mashed potatoes. So many options! —Darcy Williams, Omaha, Nebraska
Nutrition Facts

2/3 cup beef mixture with 1/2 cup cooked rice (calculated without optional ingredients): 345 calories, 13g fat (4g saturated fat), 74mg cholesterol, 194mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.

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Day 4: Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

The cinnamon that zests up this main dish has a stabilizing impact on blood sugar as well as a cholesterol-lowering effect, two benefits people with diabetes can appreciate. Pair it with this cauliflower mash, which is similar to mashed potatoes but without the same calories, carb content or blood sugar-spiking impact.
Nutrition Facts

1 pork chop with 2/3 cup apple mixture: 316 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 232mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (25g sugars, 4g fiber), 22g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat.

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Day 5: Mushroom Turkey Tetrazzini

This creamy, comforting casserole makes a fantastic way to use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey. And it’s a real family-pleaser! —Linda Howe, Lisle, Illinois.
Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 357 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 717mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 34g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 starch, 3 lean meat, 1/2 fat.

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Day 6: Rosemary Chicken with Spinach & Beans

Don’t be fooled by their high carbohydrate content. Regularly eating beans is linked with better blood sugar control and lower blood pressure, making these complex carbs an excellent choice for people with diabetes.
Nutrition Facts

1 chicken breast half with 3/4 cup sauce: 348 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 729mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 6g fiber), 41g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 fat.

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Day 7: Turkey-Stuffed Bell Peppers

These well-seasoned ground-turkey-stuffed peppers are so tasty, you won’t even miss having real cheddar cheese. Round out the meal with a salad or a side of rice. —Judy Hand-Truitt, Birmingham, Alabama
Nutrition Facts

2 stuffed pepper halves: 323 calories, 10g fat (0 saturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 771mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 40g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Day 8: Bow Ties with Sausage & Asparagus

Fast and easy, this dish can also be tweaked to cut the carbs and more than double the fiber simply by replacing the whole wheat pasta with a chickpea-based pasta. Boost flavor further by tossing in roasted cherry or sun-dried tomatoes.
Nutrition Facts

1-1/3 cups: 247 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 441mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 4g fiber), 17g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable.

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Day 9: Tuscan Fish Packets

Tilapia is an excellent source of B12, a vitamin that gets depleted with regular Metformin use. Make the dish feel more substantial by doubling to tripling the amount of zucchini, a low starch vegetable that’s perfect for people with diabetes. The foil packets also make this low-calorie fish a snap when it comes to cleanup.
Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 270 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 83mg cholesterol, 658mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 7g fiber), 38g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable.

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Day 10: Rosemary Pork Medallions with Peas

It's nice to have a quick meal to fix after coming home from work. It's simple to prepare and doesn't use a lot of ingredients, so it's great for beginner cooks. —Laura McAllister, Morganton, North Carolina
Nutrition Facts

3 ounces cooked pork with 1/3 cup peas: 260 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 69mg cholesterol, 571mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Day 11: Chicken Ole Foil Supper

Comforting and complex, this dish boasts four (or more, depending on the salsa you choose) different plant-based ingredients, making it a healthy home run for people managing diabetes.
Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 405 calories, 13g fat (6g saturated fat), 91mg cholesterol, 766mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 6g fiber), 37g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.

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Day 12: Quinoa Unstuffed Peppers

Quinoa is definitely a “go-for-it” grain for people with diabetes since it is high in protein and low on the glycemic index, meaning it causes a slower, steadier rise in blood sugar. It’s also a good source of at least seven other vitamins and minerals that promise to protect your body from the effects of aging, including vitamins C and E, calcium, folate, manganese and potassium. Since this dish is solid on flavor and protein, you can even skip the sausage to create a nutritionally complete and filling meal.
Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 261 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 4g fiber), 17g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 medium-fat meat.

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Day 13: Cedar Plank Salmon

Improving blood levels of vitamin D is known to help prevent and reverse diabetes, and salmon is an excellent source of this tough-to-find nutrient. The fish also does a double number on hunger because it’s packed with a decent dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein! Since each fillet is naturally low-carb, you can still serve them over a starch, such as one-half cup brown rice, quinoa or amaranth to make it feel plentiful and complete.
Nutrition Facts

1 fillet with 2 tablespoons sauce: 304 calories, 16g fat (3g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 186mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 starch.

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Day 14: Artichoke Ratatouille Chicken

This Mediterranean-inspired meal includes artichokes, a vegetable that’s extra beneficial for people with diabetes thanks to surprisingly high amount of blood-sugar steadying fiber in each piece. You can also make the dish more robust by adding another heart-healthy Greek staple, olives.
Nutrition Facts

1-2/3 cups: 252 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 468mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 4g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 fat.

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Spicy Roasted Sausage, Potatoes and Peppers

I love to share my cooking, and this hearty meal-in-one has gotten a savory reputation around town. People have actually approached me in public to ask for the recipe. —Laurie Sledge, Brandon, Mississippi
Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 257 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 65mg cholesterol, 759mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 17g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

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Wild Mushroom Pizza

What's great about this wild mushroom pizza is you don't need to worry about finding the right toppings. Whatever wild mushrooms are in season or at your market will work beautifully. I like to get as many different ones as possible. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 284 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 357mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 12g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

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Day 17: Chicken with Peach-Avocado Salsa

If you love fruit but fear its high sugar content, this recipe is a perfectly balanced way to bring it back into your diet. By pairing this sweet stone fruit with the glucose-steadying chicken, you can enjoy this dish without worrying about sugar spikes. Peaches also contain plant compounds called phenols that the body uses to take down disease-causing inflammation.
Nutrition Facts

1 chicken breast half with 1/2 cup salsa: 265 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 536mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 36g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1 fat, 1/2 starch.

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Day 18: Mediterranean Pot Roast Dinner

If you crave old-fashioned comfort foods, this diabetes-friendly dish will easily become a favorite. Ingredients such as lean beef and low carb vegetables work together to help offset the blood sugar spikes normally linked with starchy potatoes. To reduce the calories and bring down the carbohydrate count, cut the number of potatoes by one-third and replace with extra helpings of more flavorful ingredients such as mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.
Nutrition Facts

5 ounces cooked beef with 1 cup vegetables: 422 calories, 18g fat (6g saturated fat), 111mg cholesterol, 538mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 37g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

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Day 19: Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce

This savory recipe is great for people looking for a simple, satisfying way to increase their fish intake. Eating fish two to three times weekly is recommended for people with diabetes since it is a lean protein that doesn’t wreak havoc on blood sugar the way fatty options do. Swap out traditional pasta for zucchini noodles to get an extra serving of vegetables while also slashing calories and carbs.
Nutrition Facts

1 fillet with 3/4 cup sauce: 271 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 65mg cholesterol, 746mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 4g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1-1/2 fat.

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Day 20: Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

At the base of this Korean-inspired dish is cauliflower, a non-starchy, cruciferous vegetable that is loaded with suforaphane, a plant compound known to protect blood vessels from diabetes-related damage. Bonus: Kimchi is a fermented cabbage that bolsters beneficial bacteria in the gut. To cut the amount of cholesterol-raising saturated fat, swap out pork for turkey bacon or nix it altogether.
Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 254 calories, 17g fat (5g saturated fat), 204mg cholesterol, 715mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 6g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 high-fat meat, 2 vegetable.

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Curried Chicken Skillet

Warm and aromatic, curry powder is a blend of spices—including cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and turmeric—which adds pungent flavor to chicken as well as supplies the body with increased protection against diabetic vascular disease.
Nutrition Facts

2 cups: 367 calories, 11g fat (2g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 6g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Lentil Loaf

This modern take on an American classic is hearty, yet it’s healthier than the traditional beef-based version because it’s low in saturated fat. Plus, people with diabetes who regularly eat legumes have been found to have lower blood pressure and better blood sugar control compared to those who don’t.
Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 213 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 43mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 5g fiber), 14g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

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Day 23: Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

Pork tenderloin is a lean protein, making it an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Plus, pork is particularly gentle on blood sugar when combined with whole grains and non-starchy vegetables, such as the high fiber corn tortillas and salsa in this recipe.
Nutrition Facts

2 tacos: 282 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 678mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 5g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.

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Day 24: Sweet and Sour Beef

The top round in this recipe is a great choice for people with diabetes since it is an extra lean cut. Extra lean cuts of beef (like eye round and sirloin) contain significantly less saturated fat than other cuts, which means they’re less likely to trigger insulin resistance and inflammation associated with diabetes.
Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 290 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 465mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Day 25: Crispy Almond Tilapia

The nuts in this delicious dish are packed with magnesium and fiber, two nutrients linked to improved blood sugar balance. Swap out the panko breadcrumbs for almond meal to create a crunchy coating that has one-fourth the carbohydrates, triple the fiber and two-thirds the calories.
Nutrition Facts

2 fillet pieces: 251 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 102mg cholesterol, 537mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 2 fat.

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Day 26: Southwestern Vegetarian Bake

Adding more meatless dishes to the dinner rotation can benefit people with diabetes. Often, it automatically ratchets up the number of beans, vegetables and whole grains in your diet, which is a change associated with increased insulin sensitivity, more balanced blood sugars and a leaner body weight.
Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 285 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 759mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.

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Day 27: Goat Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Spinach is loaded with magnesium, a mineral that’s known to improve the body’s ability to use insulin, resulting in more well-managed blood sugar. Pair it with a roasted, non-starchy vegetable side dish, such as asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower.
Nutrition Facts

1 stuffed chicken breast: 347 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated fat), 111mg cholesterol, 532mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 5g fiber), 39g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 7 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

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Day 28: Mushroom and Brown Rice Hash with Poached Eggs

Surprisingly, the soft, delicate eggs that top this dish are an excellent and inexpensive source of appetite-suppressing protein, particularly for people with diabetes. This is because, contrary to what was once thought, regularly eating eggs doesn’t raise cholesterol.
Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 282 calories, 13g fat (3g saturated fat), 186mg cholesterol, 393mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 13g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1-1/2 fat, 1 medium-fat meat.

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Day 29: Salmon with Mango Citrus Salsa

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon offer extra special protection to the heart since they help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol. In fact, people who eat the highest amount of fatty fish have the lowest rates of diabetes.
Nutrition Facts

1 fillet with 1/2 cup salsa: 433 calories, 26g fat (4g saturated fat), 85mg cholesterol, 516mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 3g fiber), 30g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1-1/2 fat, 1 fruit.

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Moroccan Vegetarian Stew

Good news: 25% of the carbohydrates in this steamy North African stew come from fiber, an undigestable saccharide that doesn’t raise blood sugar at all! Plus, unlike other soups and stews, it’s a blessing to blood pressure because it is unusually low in sodium.
Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 180 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 174mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 9g fiber), 5g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable.

Amelia Sherry, MPH, RD, CDN, CDCES
Amelia Sherry is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York. She writes about eating, foods, nutrition, parenting, and women. Her work has been published in Reader's Digest, Family Circle, Self, Redbook, Latina, Woman's World, Today's Dietitian, among other publications. She earned a MPH in Nutrition from CUNY School of Public Health.

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