5-Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Spending a few hours a week meal planning and prepping is well worth it when you end up with balanced, nutritious dishes. You'll be armed with good-for-you choices at all times, making it easier to stick to your health goals.

Follow this step-by-step meal plan, complete with a shopping list, and cut your time spent in half. It outlines five days of diabetes-friendly meals, each individually reviewed and curated to provide variety, high-quality fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber.

Your Calorie and Carb Goals

The number of calories you need varies based on your height, weight, activity level, and goals. Calculators like the one below can provide an accurate estimate. Plug in your info to learn your daily calorie goal for weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance.

You'll want to get comfortable checking the nutrient content of the foods you choose to include in your meal plan. Use nutrition facts labels or online information to gather information. Helpful information will include calories, carbohydrate grams, and fiber grams. Try to find foods that are higher in fiber to boost satiety and keep blood sugar levels stable. Examples include:

  • 4 tablespoons hummus with 8 baby carrots: 125 calories, 15g carbs, 6g fiber
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt with 23 almonds: 232 calories, 10g carbs, 3g fiber
  • 1 hard-boiled egg with 1/4 cup guacamole over 1/2 whole-grain English muffin: 221 calories, 17g carbs, 6g fiber
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 teaspoon honey and a dash of cinnamon: 118 calories, 10 grams carbohydrate, 0g fiber  

Most (but not all) of the meals in the meal plan below are under 40 grams of carbohydrate. The right number for you will vary here too, based on activity level and medications. Your dietitian can guide you in pinpointing your ideal carbohydrate range.

Try not to get frustrated if it takes a few rounds of carb counting and consistently measuring your blood sugars to get things right. Eventually, you'll find what works best for you.


This meal plan does not include beverages and assumes that you'll be enjoying refreshing, non-sweetened drinks throughout your day. Water is one choice, but you can also change things up and try freshly steeped mint and lemon tea or a light strawberry basil sparkler. The first adds zero calories, the second only 16 calories and 4g carbohydrate per 12-ounce drink.

Meal Plan Overview

Take a glimpse at what you'll be enjoying throughout the week. Adjust servings per recipe to fit how many people you're feeding. To save time, enjoy dinner leftovers for lunch the next day or for up to two days.

Grocery List

Before you head out, carefully look over the list and cross out all the items you have on hand. This way you won't waste time at the supermarket and can grab exactly what you need.

Buy all of your groceries in one go to save time. Once you bring them home, prep what you can to save time throughout the week. Store chopped veggies and pre-prepped meals in Tupperware containers in the fridge (sturdy Tupperware and mason jars are key to keeping food fresh and safe). Keep ingredients that weren't used in their appropriate places, like your pantry or the fridge, so you have them handy when it's time to use them.

Pantry Items & Canned Goods

- whole wheat flour
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- peanut butter or peanut butter powder
- chopped peanuts (optional)
- dark chocolate chips (optional)
- chia seeds
- cinnamon
- cocoa powder
- steel cut oats
- coconut milk
- coconut flakes
- hummus
- sesame oil
- reduced sodium soy sauce
- honey
- olive oil
- red curry paste
- diced tomatoes
- lentils
- low sodium vegetable broth
- brown rice
- quinoa
- black beans
- green chilies
- salsa verde
- chili powder
- cumin
- low sodium chicken broth
- whole wheat penne
- walnuts
- kalamata olives
- garlic powder
- cashews
- white beans
- curry powder
- pumpkin puree
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- chopped almonds
- canned tuna in water
- red pepper flakes
- rice cakes
- sugar
- flour (any kind)

Dairy and Eggs

- unsweetened almond milk
- eggs
- crumbled feta
- goat cheese
- grated jack cheese
- grated parmesan cheese
- part-skim ricotta
- Greek yogurt
- butter

Fresh Produce

- bananas
- cucumbers
- red bell peppers
- arugula
- onions
- tomato
- broccoli
- garlic cloves
- ginger
- lettuce
- shredded cabbage
- carrots
- celery
- scallions
- mint
- cilantro
- lime
- kale
- asparagus
- zucchini
- mushrooms
- basil
- lemon
- rosemary
- avocado

Meat and Seafood

- chicken breast

Bakery and Bread

- whole-grain bagel

Frozen Goods

- raspberries
- edamame
- green peas
- peppers and onions

A Word From Verywell

The goal here is to prepare what you can ahead of time so that you can ease up your workload throughout the week, leaving mostly assembly. Chances are that everything won't be perfect, and that's OK. You can and should modify steps to fit your needs and personal workflow.

It may be helpful for you to schedule time into your calendar, as you would for a meeting or appointment. Blocked out time serves as a reminder for the task and reduces potential distractions and excuses.

If you want to create your own meal plan, explore the many diabetes-friendly recipes we have available. Generally, you should strive for balance and variety. Focus on filling up your plate with vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins like fish and chicken, legumes, and lower-fat dairy products. Portion sizes are also important. Meals rich in fiber and protein will fill you up, helping you stick to an appropriate serving size and in turn better manage your blood glucose, cholesterol levels, weight, and overall health.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How many calories do adults need?. Updated July 2019.

  2. US Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

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