The Diabetes Plate Method is the easiest way to create healthy meals that can help manage blood sugar. You can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring. All you need is a plate! Read on for ideas and recipes for perfectly balanced meals.
To create meals using the Diabetes Plate Method, simply fill half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and one quarter with carbohydrate foods like whole grains, starchy vegetables, or fruit.
Learn more about the Diabetes Plate Method
Here are some sample plates to help you get started! You can fit these recipes into your weekly meal plan in whatever way works best for you. Use the interactive Meal Planner on Diabetes Food Hub to plan out your week. Once you have created your free account, you can save recipes, then drag-and-drop them into your meal plan.
Click here for more tips on how to use Diabetes Food Hub
Dinner or Lunch
This perfect weeknight meal features Lemon Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic. Fill half your plate with a double serving of Collard Greens with Yellow Squash and complete your plate with half of a roasted sweet potato topped with a little bit of butter.
Lean Protein: Chicken
Nonstarchy Vegetables: Collards, yellow squash
Carbohydrate foods: sweet potato
This meal is perfect for lunch or dinner and works great for meal prepping. Easy Beef Chili is paired with a sweet and savory Kale Apple Slaw. Top the chili with a dollop of Greek yogurt and Almost Smooth Salsa.
Lean Protein: lean ground beef, beans
Nonstarchy Vegetables: kale; tomatoes, onion; salsa
Carbohydrate foods: apple; beans; yogurt
We gave classic meatloaf a healthy makeover with this Southwest-Style Turkey Meatloaf. Pair with simple Mashed Red Potatoes and a Green Salad with Orange, Avocado, and Onion.
Lean Protein: ground turkey
Nonstarchy Vegetables: salad greens, onion
Carbohydrate foods: potatoes; oranges
Here is a light, vegetarian meal, perfect for dinner or lunch. Veggie-packed Slow-Cooker Ratatouille gets a protein boost by adding white beans. Complete the plate with a simple Side Greek Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette.
Lean Protein: beans
Nonstarchy Vegetables: lettuce, tomato, onion; eggplant, cabbage, bell pepper
Carbohydrate foods: beans
Check out The Create-Your-Plate Diabetes Cookbook for even more recipes and meals
Breakfast is typically a smaller meal, and may not include foods from all three parts of the plate. Include at least two food groups in your breakfast, and make sure to include plenty of fiber and protein that will keep you full until lunch time.
Avocado Toast with Turkey Bacon and Tomato
Avocado toast is a quick and easy breakfast that includes whole grains and healthy fats. Add a slice of turkey bacon and some sliced tomato for some more protein and veggies. For a more filling breakfast, add a ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt and a handful of fresh blueberries (or other seasonal fruit)
Lean protein: turkey bacon, Greek yogurt
Nonstarchy vegetables: Tomato, avocado
Carbohydrate foods: whole-wheat bread, blueberries
Apple Pie Yogurt Parfait
Enjoy the flavors of the all-American dessert, apple pie, in a healthy, balanced breakfast parfait. These are great for making ahead—just store the granola separately and add just before eating so it stays crunchy.
Lean Protein: Greek Yogurt
Carbohydrate foods: granola, apple
If you are including snacks in your meal plan, choose snacks that are high in fiber, protein, and/or healthy fats to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.
Tomato and Mozzarella Snack Skewers
This low-carb snack packs protein, dairy, and veggies onto a portable toothpick or skewer. Make a bunch in advance and pack in to-go containers for an easy snack on the go.
Peanut Butter, Cranberry, and Walnut Apple Slices
Here’s a simple idea for making fruit more fun! Make this recipe your own: choose any combination of nut butter, dried fruit, and chopped nuts that you like.
Looking for even more ideas and recipes? Check out our new cookbook, The Create-Your-Plate Diabetes Cookbook by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, for over 100 recipes and endless meal possibilities.