1200 Calorie Diet for Type 2 Diabetes

Portrait of a woman eating breakfast cereal with a spoon
Eating meals at the same time each day helps keep blood sugar under control. (Image: George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images)

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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