Daily Meal Planning Guide

Good nutrition is one of the most basic and important diabetes care tools. Eating right can help control blood sugar. Good control protects your long-term health. This meal planning guide is a great way to begin making smart food choices.

Wether you are following a calorie-level meal plan, counting darbohydrates, using exchanges or just trying to improve the overall nutritional value of your current eating patterns, the food lists on this sheet will give you a solid starting point.

Think of this plan as only a temporary guide. Keep in mind that every person with diabetes should have a customized meal plan that provides more freedom in terms of food choices. Just about any food, including your favorites, can be fit into your meal plan.

Meal Planning Options
Calorie Meal Plans
The table below shows sample meal plans, by number of servings, for different calorie levels. To maintain a healthy weight, choose a calorie level close to what you are eating now. If you need to gain or lose weight, ask your doctor which plan to use. Each plan provides about half of its calories from carbohydrate and less than 30% of calories from fat, based on choosing skim milk and medium or lower fat meats and cheeses.
Carbohydrate Counting
Carbohydrate (starch and sugar) is the main nutrient in food that raises blood sugar. When you plan meals based on carbohydrate counting, count only the foods that contain carbohydrates. Use either the portion sizes shown in the food list, or calculate the carbohydrate (CHO) grams using the bolded numbers in each food list. If you are using a packaged food with a nutrition label, count the number of carbohydrate grams for the serving size. Servings from any of these high carbohydrate groups are considered to be equal: Starch, Fruit, Milk, Other Carbohydrates (Sweets).

Sample Meal Plans
Calories per day 1,200 1,500 1,800 2,000 2,500 Other
Carbohydrates-Starch (15 gram carb servings)
Carbohydrates-Fruit (15 gram carb servings)
Carbohydrates-Milk (12 gram carb servings)
Carbohydrates-Vegetables (5 gram carb servings)
Meat & Meat Substitutes
Three vegetable servings provide the same amount of carbohydrate as one serving of other carbohydrate food groups

( 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein, 1 gram fat, and 80 calories per serving
These foods are the cornerstone of every healthy eating plan. Most of their calories come from carbohydrates, a good source of energy. Many foods from this group also give you needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Prepare and eat starchy foods with as little added fat as possible by limiting butter, margarine, shortening and oil.
These are just a few of the many available starchy foods. Estimate a single serving size for foods that aren't on the list as follows:
  • starchy vegetables, grains, pasta: 1/2 cup
  • Breads and cereals: 1 oz
  • Cooked dried beans of all types: 1/3 cup
Cereals/Beans/Grains/Pasta Serving Size
Beans; cooked or canned(all kinds) 1/3 cup
Cereal: cooked(oatmeal, cream of wheat, rice, etc.) 1/2 cup
Pasta; cooked (all kinds) 1/2 cup
Rice; cooked (all kinds) 1/3 cup
Starchy Vegetables Serving Size
Corn; cooked or canned(all kinds) 1/2 cup
Corn meal: uncooked(masa or matzo meal) 2 Tbsp
Corn on the Cob (6" piece) 1 cup
Melanga; cooked 1/3 cup
Peas(green); cooked or canned 1/2 cup
Plantain(green, mature); cooked 1/3 cup
Potato; baked, boiled or steamed 1 small(3 oz)
Squash (winter, acorn, hubbard) 1 cup
Yam or sweet potato 1/2 cup
Breads Serving Size
Bagel 1/2 (1oz)
Bread (whole wheat, rye, white) 1 oz slice
Dumplings or gnocchi; steamed 2 small
English muffin 1/2
Pita pocket (6-8 in dia) 1/2
Roll (dinner, hard) 1 small
Sandwhich bun or roll (hamburger, hot-dog, kaiser) 1/2
Tortilla (6" corn or 8" flour) 1
Crackers/Snacks Serving Size
Crackers (80 calories/serving) 4 - 6
Graham crackers (squares) 3
Pretzels (hard) 3/4 oz
Popcorn (plain, popped) 3 cups
Starches/Breads with Fat Serving Size
Biscuit (2 1/2") 1
Corn taco or tortilla chips 1 oz
Potato chips 10
Refried Beans 1/3 cup
Fried or Spanish rice 1/3 cup

( 15 grams carbohydrate and 60 calories per serving
Fruits provide important vitamins and minerals and can be a good source of fiber. To get the most fiber from fruits, eat the edible peelings.
Estimate the serving size for fruits that aren't on the list as follows:
  • Fresh, canned or frozen fruit, no sugar added: 1/2 cup
  • Dried fruit: 1/4 oz
Fresh Fruit Serving Size
Apple; raw (2 in dia) 1
Applesauce; no sugar added 1/2 cup
Banana (meddium) 1/2
Berries(raspberry, boysenberry 1 cup
Berries(Blackberry, blueberry) 3/4 cup
Cantaloupe or honeydew melon 1 cup
Cherries; raw 12
Grapefruit(medium) 1/2
Grapes(small) 15
Peas(green)Marney(medium) 1/2
Mandarin oranges 3/4 cup
Mango; fresh(small) 1/2
Orange (2 1/2 in dia) 1
Papaya 1 cup
Peach or Pear (2 3/4 in dia) 1 whole
Pineapple; fresh 3/4 cup
Plums; raw (2 in dia) 2
Raisins 2 Tbsp
Watermelon 1 1/4 cup
Fruit Juices Serving Size
Apple, Orange or Grapefruit 1/2 cup
Cranberry, grape or prune 1/3 cup

Milk and Milk Products
Skim Milk ( 12 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein, 1 gram fat and 90-110 calories per serving )
Low Fat Milk ( 12 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein, 3 gram fat and 120-150 calories per serving )
Whole Milk ( 12 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein, 5 gram fat and 150-170 calories per serving )
Milk and milk products supply calcium and other minerals, vitamins, protein, and carhohydrates. Choose low-fat and skimmed varieties for health, they have less fat, calories, and cholesterol, with the same amount of nutrients.
Estimate the serving size for fruits that aren't on the list as follows:
Skim Milk and Skim Milk Products Serving Size
Buttermilkfont> 8 oz
Hot Cocoa from mix 1 envelope
Skim milkfont> 8 oz
Yogurt 8 oz
Low Fat Milk and Low Fat Milk Products Serving Size
2% Milk 8 oz
Yogurt 8 oz

( 5 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams protein, and 25 calories per serving )
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals and many also provide some fiber. A serving is 1/2 cup of raw vegetable juice, or 1 cup of raw vegetables. (Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas are listed with Starches/Breads. Vegetables with fewer than 20 calories per serving are listed with free foods.)
Vegetables Serving Size
Bean Sprouts 1 cup
Beans (green, wax, italian, snap) 1 cup
Beets 1 cup
Broccoli 1 cup
Cabbage 1 cup
Cactus leaves (Nopales) 1 cup
Carrots 1 cup
Eggplant 1 cup
Greens 1 cup
Jimaca 1 cup
Mushrooms 1 cup
Okra 1 cup
Pea Pods or snow peas 1 cup
Peppers 1 cup
Sauerkraut 1 cup
Spinach 1 cup
Squash (Summer, crook, neck, zuchini, calabazita) 1 cup
Tomato 1 cup
Tomato or vegetable 1/2 cup
Water chestnuts 1 cup

Other Carbohydrates
( 15 grams carbohydrate, or 1 Starch or 1 Fruit, or 1 Milk )
Sugars can be included in your meals without losing blood sugar control if they are counted appropriately. Follow Food Guide Pyramid guidelines for keeping the amounts of Sweets and Fats in your overall diet small compared to more nutritionally valuable foods. Portion sizes of foods high in refined sugar are often very small. Read the label.
Other Carbohydrates Serving Size
Cranberry Sauce, jellied 1/4 cup
Fruit Juice Bars, frozen 3 oz
Fruit Spreads 1 Tbsp
Gelatin 1/2 cup
Gingersnaps 3
Ice Cream, fat free, no added sugar 1/2 cup
Jam or Jelly 1 Tbsp
Pudding, sugar free 1/2 cup
Pudding, regular 1/4 cup
Salad Dressing, fat free 1/4 cup
Syrup, regular 1 Tbsp
Yogurt, frozen, fat free, no sugar added 1/2 cup

Meat and Meat Substitutes
Small servings of meat and meat substitutes provide enough protein to meet most people's daily needs. For better health, choose very lean and lean meat, fish, poultry, and cheese more often than medium- and high- fat types.
Very Lean Meats ( 7 gms protein, 1 gram fat, and 35 calories) Serving Size
Cheese ( 1 gm fat or less) 1 oz
Chicken/Turkey, white, no skin 1 oz
Fish, f resh, frozen, or canned in water: cod, flounder , tuna 1 oz
Shellfish ( clams, drab, shrimp) 1/3 cup
Lean Meats ( 7 gms protein, 3 gms fat, and 55 calories) Serving Size
Cheese ( 1 - 3 grams fat/oz) 1 oz
Cottage Cheese (4.5% fat) 1/4 cup
Lean Beef (round, flank, sirloin) 1 oz
Menudo (tripe soup) 1/2 cup
Mediuim Fat Meats (7 grams protein, 5 gram fat, 75 calories) Serving Size
Beef, most cuts when trimmed 1 oz
Cheese (5gms or less/oz) 1 oz
Chicken/Turkey (dark meat, skin) 1 oz
Eggs 1
Pork (top loin, chop, cutlets) 1 oz
High Fat Meats ( 7 gms protein, 8 gms fat, and 100 calories) Serving Size
Cheese, all regular (American, Swiss, etc) 1 oz
Chitterlings 1 oz
Pork (spareribs, barbecue) 1 oz
Sausage, weiners, chorizo, kielbasa, Spam 1 oz

( 5 grams fat and 45 calories per serving )
Fats add flavor and moisture to food, but have few vitamins and minerals. Serving sizes of all fats are small. Choose mono- and polyunsaturated fats more often than saturated fats for better heart health and to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Monounsaturated Fats Serving Size
Avacado, 4" diameter 1/8
Oil ( canola, olive, peanut) 1 tsp
Peanut butter 2 tsp
Pesto sauce 2 tsp
Polyunsaturated Fats Serving Size
Margarine: stick, tub or squeeze 1 tsp
Mayonnaise, reduced fat 1 Tbsp
Mayonnaise, regular 1 tsp
Oil (Corn, safflower, soybean) 1 tsp
Saturated Fats Serving Size
Bacon 1 slice
Butter 1 tsp
Chicken or beef fat, lard 1 tsp
Cream (light, coffee, sour) 1 Tbsp
Pork (top loin, chop, cutlets) 1 oz

Free Foods
Each free food or drink contains fewer than 20 calories per serving. Eat as much as you want of the free foods that list no serving size. Eat up to 3 servings a day that have serving sizes listed. For better blood sugar control, spread your servings of these extra foods throughout the day .
Drinks Serving Size
Bouillon or broth, fat free none
Coffee or tea none
Soft drinks, calories infont> none
Sweet Substitutes Serving Size
Gelatin, sugar free none
Jam or jelly, sugar free 2 tsp
Whipped topping 2 Tbsp
Condiments Serving Size
Catsup 1 Tbsp
Hot sauce none
Mustard none
Salad dressing, low cal 2 tsp
Salsa none
Vinegar none
Vegetables Serving Size
Celery none
Cilantro none
Cucumber none
Dill pickles, unsweetened none
Horseradish none
Onions none
Peppers (hot, chili) none
Radishes none
Salad greens none

Seasonings can be used as desired. If you are on a low-sodium diet, read labels to avoid seasonings that contain sodium or salt
Seasoning Serving Size
Flavoring extracts (vanilla, etc.) none
Garlic or garlic powder none
Herbs, fresh or dried none
Lemon or lemon juice none
Onion Powder none
Paprika none
Pepper none
Soy sauce none

Food Guide Pyramid
The pyramid is a good guide to choosing healthy foods. The foods in each section provide some, but not all, of the nutrients needed for health. It is important to eat servings from each group every day. Most people need more of the foods sbown in the larger sections at the bottom, and fewer servings from the smaller sections. If you are using the pyramid, your health care provider will write in the number of servings recommended for your needs.
Seasoning Serving Size Seasoning Serving Size Fats, Oils and Sweets Use Sparingly Seasoning Serving Size Seasoning Serving Size
Seasoning Serving Size Milk, Yogurt and Cheese 2-3 servings 2-3 servings Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry beans, Eggs, Nuts Serving Size Seasoning Serving Size
Seasoning Serving Size Vegetables 3-5 servings 2-4 servings Fruit Group Seasoning Serving Size
Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta 6- 11 Servings

Guidlines For Estimating portion Sizes
These are guidlines for esimating the portion size of any food without acutally measuring
  • Fist= 1 cup
  • Palm = 3 oz
  • Thumb tip= 1 teaspoon
  • Handful= 1 or 2 oz snackfood
  • Thumb= 1 oz