1200 Calorie Diabetic Meal Plan

close-up of a woman removing blood from her finger for a blood test
Diabetics have to watch dietary intake. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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

Close-up of a digital glaucometer
Keep track of blood sugar. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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.

Carbohydrates

close-up of milk pouring into a glass
Milk contains carbohydrates. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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.

Fats

avocados
Avocadoes contain healthy fats. (Image: Mariusz Blach/iStock/Getty Images)

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

Sliced brown bread with cereals.
Serving size should be one slice of bread. (Image: Juri Samsonov/iStock/Getty Images)

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 oats
Bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. (Image: matka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images)

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.

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