Getting a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes does not mean that you have to remove all carbohydrate foods from your diet! Depending on your current eating habits, reducing your carb intake, or making some smart swaps, may help manage your blood glucose without cutting out your favorite foods.
Having diabetes or prediabetes does not mean you have to cut out all carbs, but cutting back on some carb foods, or making some smart swaps may help with managing blood glucose. If you are looking to include more low carb meals in your meal plan, we’ve rounded up some breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, plus some everyday tips for reducing carbs.
Check out the recipes below for low carb meal ideas. 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
As always, we encourage you to work with a Registered Dietitian (RD/RDN) or Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDE/CDCES) to determine what amount of carbs is right for you, and come up with a meal plan that meets your unique needs.
Sheet Pan Roasted Turkey and Veggies
(200 calories, 7g carb)
This dinner recipe couldn’t be easier—just toss everything in a sheet pan and let it roast! Add extra turkey (or chicken) to the pan to use for this Greek Chicken Salad for lunch another day. Add a side of Mashed Red Potatoes (100 calories, 19g carb) or Better Mashed Potatoes (60 calories, 7g carb) made with cauliflower for a lower carb option.
(290 calories, 3g carb)
This recipe is a two-for-one meal—you’ll prepare enough steak for dinner one night, plus Beef Fajitas another night. While the steak is resting, add a little more oil to the pan that you cooked the steak in, and sauté sweet potatoes or other vegetables like bell pepper, squash, or green beans to serve on the side. The vegetables will pick up flavor from the pan, and you’ll only have one dish to wash!
(470 calories, 31g carb)
The leftover Coffee-Rubbed Steak adds smoky and spicy flavor to these beef fajitas. Using leftover meat means this dinner comes together in less than 15 minutes! If you’re looking for a lower carb dinner, you could skip the tortilla and serve the meet and veggies with a mixed green salad. Top your fajitas or salad with Cucumber Guacamole (45 calories, 4g carb) for some fresh veggie crunch.
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast
(300 calories, 3g carb)
Pecans are a low carb breading for this crunchy baked chicken with a hint of sweetness from applesauce. Pair with a Simple Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (70 calories, 7g carb) and Spiced Sweet Potato Fries (90 calories, 16g carb)
Mediterranean Tuna Salad Wrap
(105 calories, 5g carb)
This heart-healthy, Mediterranean-style tuna salad is super flavorful, thanks to briny olives and sweet red bell peppers. Pair with ¼ cup store-bought hummus (10-15g carb) and some fresh veggie sticks. Or, try something homemade, like this Lemony Pesto Hummus (100 calories, 14g carb) or White Bean, Lemon, and Herbed Feta Dip (120 calories, 9g carb).
Ronaldo’s Cuban Sandwich
(210 calories, 16g carb)
This simple sandwich & salad lunch features a lighter take on a classic Cuban sandwich that still delivers on flavor. Baking the sandwich, then pressing it in a skillet makes it melty with a crunchy exterior. This is a great work-from-home lunch when you want something warm and toasty.
Greek Chicken Salad
(340 calories, 16g carb)
Prepare extra turkey (or chicken) when you make Sheet Pan Roasted Turkey and Veggies, and use the leftovers for this zesty Mediterranean salad. This recipe is great for meal prepping—just store the dressing separately and add just before serving.
Egg and Avocado Toasts
(250 calories, 26g carb)
Yes, you can include toast in a lower carb meal plan! Toast and avocado add carbs to this breakfast, but they also add 9 grams of fiber, making this a filling and satisfying breakfast. This recipe calls for poached eggs (made in the microwave!), but you could top your toast with scrambled eggs or a sliced hard-boiled egg instead.
Mini Vegetable Frittata
(180 calories, 8g carb)
Frittata is a super easy egg and vegetable dish; like a quiche but without the crust. These mini frittatas are great for making ahead of time and portioning out into individual breakfast-on-the-go servings. Pair with ½ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup berries (about 100 calories, 18g carb). Or, for a very low carb breakfast, pair with Breakfast Sausage Patties (100 cal, 1g carb).
4-Layer Stuffed Avocado
(160 calories, 12g carb)
Avocado is a great source of fiber, which can be hard to get enough of on a low carb eating plan. This simple recipe can be a hearty snack between meals, or part of a light lunch.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
(30 calories, 3g carb)
This creamy, flavorful dip is loaded with vegetables. Serve with raw veggie sticks for even more vegetable goodness, or with whole grain crackers (or a combination). If serving with crackers, check the nutrition facts panel to know the serving size and how many carbs are in a serving.
Tips for lowering carbs in meals:
REDUCE: Cut back on the portion size of carb foods in your meal. For example, if you usually have 1 cup of rice with a meal, reduce the serving size to ½ cup.
REMOVE: If a meal includes several carbohydrate foods, remove one. For example, a burrito may include rice, beans, and a tortilla—you could remove one of those (whichever one you’ll miss the least!)
REPLACE: If you reduce or remove carb foods from your meal, you can replace them with a lower carb food, like nonstarchy vegetables.
RETHINK your drink: Drinks like juice, sweet tea, soda, and milk all contain carbs. Depending on how many carbs are on your plate, you may want to replace sugary drinks with water as often as possible.