1200 Calorie Diabetic Meal Plan

Diabetics have to watch dietary intake.
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Diabetics need to watch their dietary intake, limiting foods that contain high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. A doctor may recommend a certain calorie intake each day to help with weight loss. A 1,200-calorie diabetic meal plan is a reduced-calorie meal plan that is often prescribed to individuals who are attempting to lose weight. The meal plan involves three meals and two snacks and includes portion-controlled snacks.


Meal Planning

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Keep track of blood sugar.
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According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with diabetes should avoid skipping meals and snacks because doing so can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. As a result, diabetics need to make sure that they eat a well-balanced meal or snack every four to five waking hours. When the daily caloric limit is only 1,200 calories, the meals and snacks will need to consist primarily of low-calorie foods.

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Milk contains carbohydrates.
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Carbohydrates are the main nutrient that will raise blood sugar, so diabetic individuals need to moderate the amount of carbohydrate that they consume at one meal or snack. The American Dietetic Association explains that carbohydrates can be found in foods such as fruits, starchy vegetables, grains, milk, yogurt and desserts or sweets. Controlling the intake of these foods is important because eating a high amount of carbohydrate in one sitting can cause high blood sugar. Over time, uncontrolled hyperglycemia will severely damage the body.



Avocadoes contain healthy fats.
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Diabetics are at higher risk of developing heart disease than their non-diabetic peers. As a result, the American Heart Association encourages diabetics to consume a diet that is low in saturated and trans fat. These two fats are found in animal products, like butter and lard, and processed foods, like fast food and pastries. The healthy fats, unsaturated fats, are ones that are found like plant-based products. Olive oil, avocado and walnuts are examples of healthy fats. However, since the 1,200-calorie diabetic meal plan is low in calories, even the healthy fats should be limited to small portions.


Diabetic Serving Sizes

Serving size should be one slice of bread.
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A food's diabetic serving size, or diabetic exchange, is determined by the food's nutritional content. For example, a carbohydrate-containing food would have a diabetic serving size that is equal to approximately 15g of carbohydrate. A few examples of diabetic serving sizes of carbohydrate-containing foods are one slice of whole grain bread, one corn tortilla, 1/3 cup brown rice, 3/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 grapefruit, 8 ounces of low-fat milk, and 6 to 8 ounces light yogurt.



Sample Menu

Bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
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For a sample day, you can have a breakfast of 1 cup cooked old-fashioned oatmeal with artificial sweetener, 1-1/4 cup strawberries, six almonds and 1/2 cup scrambled egg substitute.


Your lunch might consist of a sandwich with two slices of light wheat bread, 2 ounces of lean turkey meat, 1 ounce fat-free cheese and condiments such as lettuce, tomato, and 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise. Round out the meal with one small apple and 6 to 8 ounces of light yogurt.

One cup of celery and carrot sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus will make a healthy afternoon snack.


Make 3 ounces of skinless baked chicken and 1 cup steamed broccoli the focal point of your dinner. Include one small sweet potato with spray butter and 1 cup of blackberries.

A 6 to 8 ounce light yogurt or 3 cups popped light popcorn makes a good snack in the evening.

Related Reading

What and how much you eat is an important part of the treatment plan for type-2 diabetes. A 1,200-calorie diet can help both men and women lose weight. When you have diabetes, getting to and maintaining a healthy weight makes it easier for you to manage blood sugar, but it does not cure your diabetes. When following a low-calorie diet such as this, it is important that you include nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups to help meet your vitamin and mineral needs. Consult your doctor before starting any diet plan.



The Diet Basics

A healthy, balanced 1,200-calorie diabetic diet should include five starch choices, two milk choices, three fruit choices, four to five very lean or lean protein choices and three fat choices. Nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli or mixed greens, are free foods. One slice of whole-wheat bread, 1/2 cup of peas or 1/3 cup of brown rice are examples of starch choices. Fruit choices include a small apple, orange or banana or 1 cup of cantaloupe cubes. One cup of nonfat milk or yogurt equals one milk choice. Healthy protein choices and serving sizes include 1 ounce of white-meat poultry, seafood or beef tenderloin, two egg whites, 1/2 cup of beans, 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese or 1/2 cup of tofu. One teaspoon of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of nut butter or 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing are fat choices.

What to Eat at Breakfast

Your breakfast meal should include one starch, one milk, one fruit, one fat and one protein choice. An example of a healthy breakfast meal on your 1,200-calorie diet might include 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal made with 1 cup of nonfat milk and topped with six sliced almonds, along with 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese and 1 cup of cubed cantaloupe. This meal contains 310 calories and 45 grams of carbs.

Healthy and Carb-Controlled at Lunch

At lunch, include two starches, one fruit, one fat and two protein choices with nonstarchy vegetables. A lunch meal might include 1 cup of cooked bulgur tossed with 2 ounces of cubed chicken breast, 1 cup of cooked broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and 2 tablespoons of low-fat balsamic dressing, served with one small orange. This meal contains 385 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrate.

Tasty and Filling Dinner

Your dinner meal on a 1,200-calorie diabetic diet should include two starches, one fat, two proteins and one fruit or milk choice with nonstarchy vegetables. Two ounces of grilled salmon with 1 cup of cooked sweet potato, 1/2 cup of grilled asparagus drizzled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 cup of whole strawberries make a healthy and delicious dinner meal. This meal contains 400 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates.

Don't Forget Your Snack

You can have one fruit or one milk choice as a snack on your 1,200-calorie diet plan. One apple or one container of nonfat, sugar-free yogurt are healthy snack options, with 60 to 90 calories and 15 grams of carbs.



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