Sample Diabetes 1200-Calorie Meal Plan

Low in Fat, Big in Taste

Omelet with rosemary and potatoes
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Did your doctor prescribe a 1200-calorie diet to help control your diabetes? It can be difficult to know where to begin. How do you know what a day's worth of food should look like? While your medical team may have given you some tips and ideas, it doesn't hurt to look at another sample meal plan.

1200 Calories Is Not Right for Everyone

First, we will begin with a word of warning: a 1200-calorie diabetes diet is not for every person with diabetes.

For weight loss, this calorie level is low enough that it may cause a negative effect on the metabolism for many people. Also, this calorie level may not provide enough carbohydrates to complement medication regimens or prevent hypoglycemia.

However, 1200 calories will meet the energy needs of some people folks with diabetes. It's probably best if you are small in weight and stature, older than 65, and/or less active. If you've received a 1200-calorie diabetes diet prescription, your doctors will have taken all of these factors into account.

If your doctor prescribed you a diet other than 1200 calories, we have sample meal plans for you as well.

What a Daily Menu Looks Like

This meal plan should give you some ideas for your new diet. It provides 1210 calories a day, with 56 percent from carbohydrate and 14 percent from fat.

For Breakfast

  • An omelet made with 1/4 cup egg substitute and 1 slice (1 ounce) low-fat cheese
  • One slice whole wheat toast with 1 teaspoon low-fat margarine spread
  • One small orange or 2 small tangerines
  • Coffee with 2 tablespoons fat-free half & half

For Lunch

  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • One apple
  • One 6-ounce fat-free yogurt
  • 8 to 12 ounces of water or a sugar-free beverage

For Dinner

  • Turkey Sloppy Joes. You will need to make a few adaptations to this recipe. Substitute 3/4 pound lean (or extra lean) ground turkey for the textured vegetable protein (TVP). Also, skip the sugar and choose a 100 percent whole wheat hamburger bun. One sloppy joe is one serving.
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli topped with 2 teaspoons low-fat margarine spread
  • 8 to 12 ounces of water or a sugar-free beverage
  • Roasted peaches

As a Snack

  • 3 cups low-fat microwave popcorn
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) skim milk

Create Your Own Meal Plan

This menu is only an example of all the delicious foods you can fit into one day and maintain a 1200-calorie diet. Of course, you're not going to eat the same thing every day of the week. There are many nutritious foods you can enjoy, you simply need to learn how to calculate the nutritional value so you stay on track.

Using a recipe nutrition calculator can take all of the guesswork out of what you're eating. To use it, simply input the recipe you'd like to make and it will give you an easy to read the nutrition label. You can also use it for side dishes, snacks, and beverages.

If the results for your recipe show it has too many calories for your diet, you can make adjustments. You can edit each ingredient and the calculator will show you a number of popular options to choose from.

This can be very useful when making out your shopping list. You'll have a clearer idea of which options are lower in calories, fat, and sugar. Having a little knowledge before you hit the store can really help you make better decisions.