7-Day Easy Diabetes Meal Plan for Fall, Created by a Dietitian

7-Day Easy Diabetes Meal Plan for Fall, Created by a Dietitian

Improve your blood sugar levels while enjoying the best flavors and meals of fall in this delicious, easy meal plan for diabetes.

As the seasons change and summer transitions into fall, we often dust off our slow-cookers and welcome the comforting flavors of the season. Though summer is certainly the season of fun, by the time September rolls around, many of us are itching for a more regular routine. In this easy diabetes meal plan for fall, we include many of our seasonal favorites while aiming to keep the meals quick and easy.

To keep it simple, you’ll see leftovers used often, short ingredient lists, meal-prep, repeated breakfast options and easy snacks. Plus, each night’s dinner is on the table in 25 minutes or less. To keep this plan diabetes-friendly, we map out a week of meals and snacks with a steady carbohydrate intake at each meal, which helps promote stable blood sugars. Plus, we aim for high-fiber foods and a protein source at each meal—both of which help reduce blood sugar spikes and promote satiety.

Because the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends weight loss as one strategy to help improve blood sugars for people who are overweight, we set this plan at 1,500 calories per day, which is a level where most people will lose weight. For those with other calorie needs, we also included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day. Though this is a diabetes-friendly meal plan, it is also a great option for anyone looking to simplify their routine—whether they have diabetes or not.

Strategies for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels:

There are several ways to promote healthy blood sugars. Here are a few of our favorite strategies:

  • Exercise: any increase in movement tends to be helpful in improving blood sugar levels. Walking is a great place to start, though strength training has its benefits, too! Moving your body in whatever way you enjoy is beneficial, but don’t discount starting small. Research links walking for just 2 to 5 minutes after meals with lower blood sugar levels.
  • Drink Water: save added sugar and carbohydrates for meals or the occasional treat and opt to drink water, instead. Because sweetened drinks are so high in added sugar, it’s tricky to enjoy them regularly and promote healthy blood sugars for people with diabetes. Opt for water, seltzer and other zero-carbohydrate drinks for hydration whenever possible. Plus, make sure to drink enough water. Staying properly hydrated has several benefits—including better blood sugar levels.
  • Get Enough Sleep: getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night has several benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Aim for Whole Grains: fiber-rich whole-grains—such has bulgur, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat products and brown rice—have tons of health benefits. In fact, people who regularly include whole grains in their diets have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Pair Protein with Carbs: pairing carbohydrate-rich foods with foods rich in protein (or fat) helps to reduce blood sugar spikes, resulting in a more steady blood sugar levels and energy. Because carbohydrates, especially refined-grain carbohydrates, are broken down more quickly than protein or fat, they tend to raise blood sugars quickly. When carb-rich foods are consumed with a protein or fat source, they are broken down slower and the blood sugar response is improved. Consider pairing whole-grain toast with an egg or peanut butter or opting for nuts with fruit to reap the benefits.

Foods to Focus on for Diabetes:

  • Non-starchy vegetables, especially leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts and more
  • Starchy vegetables, such as winter squash, sweet potato and potato
  • Fruit, especially fruit high in fiber such as apples, pears, berries and more
  • Whole grains (examples include quinoa, freekeh, bulgur, oats, whole-wheat)
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds, including nut butters
  • Lean proteins and unprocessed meats (chicken, turkey and leaner cuts of pork and beef)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy, especially fermented dairy like kefir and yogurt
  • Unsaturated fats (such as olive oil, avocado and avocado oil)
  • Water and unsweetened beverages

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Make One-Pot Turkey & Vegetable Soup to have for lunch on days 2 through 5
  2. Whip up a double batch of Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette to have with side salads at dinner throughout the week

Day 1

Breakfast (314 calories)

  • 1 cup nonfat plain strained yogurt, such as Greek-style
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cherries (fresh or frozen)

A.M. Snack (176 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios (shelled)

Lunch (311 calories

  • 1 serving Cucumber & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Wrap
  • 1 medium orange

P.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Dinner (488 calories)

  • 1 serving Skillet Lemon-Garlic Salmon
  • 1 serving Roasted Brussels Sprout & Butternut Squash Salad

Daily Totals: 1,489 calories, 82g protein, 69g fat, 147g carbohydrate, 29g fiber, 1,090mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: reduce to 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds at breakfast, change A.M. snack to 1 small pear and omit peanut butter at P.M. snack

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1 slice sprouted whole-wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, 1 cup low-fat plain kefir to lunch and 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to evening snack

Day 2

Breakfast (374 calories)

  • 1 slice sprouted wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter or natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir

A.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 1 medium orange

Lunch (365 calories)

  • 1 serving One-Pot Turkey & Vegetable Soup
  • 1 medium pear

P.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Dinner (491 calories)

  • 1 serving Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 serving Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Meal-Prep Tip: reserve leftover Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili to have for dinner tomorrow night

Daily Totals: 1,498 calories, 86g protein, 68g fat, 150g carbohydrate, 41g fiber, 1,366mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: omit kefir at breakfast and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled, to A.M. snack and add 1 avocado, sliced, to the side salad at dinner

Day 3

Breakfast (314 calories)

  • 1 cup nonfat plain strained yogurt, such as Greek-style
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cherries (fresh or frozen)

A.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Lunch (365 calories)

  • 1 serving One-Pot Turkey & Vegetable Soup
  • 1 medium pear

P.M. Snack (154 calories)

  • 20 dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Dinner (491 calories)

  • 1 serving Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 serving Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Daily Totals: 1,524 calories, 97g protein, 72g fat, 133g carbohydrate, 38g fiber, 1,176mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: change A.M. snack to 1 clementine and change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1 slice sprouted wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast and 1 avocado, sliced, to dinner

Day 4

Breakfast (374 calories)

  • 1 slice sprouted wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter or natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir

A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Lunch (365 calories)

  • 1 serving One-Pot Turkey & Vegetable Soup
  • 1 medium pear

P.M. Snack (139 calories)

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg

Dinner (390 calories)

  • 1 serving Chickpea, Artichoke & Avocado Salad with Apple-Cider Dressing

Daily Totals: 1,475 calories, 76g protein, 71g fat, 148g carbohydrate, 36g fiber, 1,416g sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: omit kefir at breakfast and change A.M. snack to 1 clementine

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1 medium banana to A.M. snack, increase to 2 large hard-boiled eggs at P.M. snack, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to dinner and 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled, to evening snack

Day 5

Breakfast (314 calories)

  • 1 cup nonfat plain strained yogurt, such as Greek-style
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cherries (fresh or frozen)

A.M. Snack (95 calories)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (365 calories)

  • 1 serving One-Pot Turkey & Vegetable Soup
  • 1 medium pear

P.M. Snack (217 calories)

  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 medium orange

Dinner (491 calories)

  • 1 serving Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 serving Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Meal-Prep Tip: reserve two servings Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole to have for lunch on days 6 & 7

Daily Totals: 1,482 calories, 104g protein, 63g fat, 136g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,406mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: reduce to 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds at breakfast and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1 slice sprouted wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at A.M. snack and 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, toasted if desired, to the salad at dinner

Day 6

Breakfast (374 calories)

  • 1 slice sprouted wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter or natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir

A.M. Snack (101 calories)

  • 1 medium pear

Lunch (342 calories)

  • 1 serving Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole

P.M. Snack (216 calories)

  • 20 dry-roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1 medium orange

Dinner (486 calories)

  • 1 serving One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 serving Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Daily Totals: 1,520 calories, 85g protein, 66g fat, 161g carbohydrate, 29g fiber, 1,603mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: omit kefir at breakfast, change A.M. snack to 1 clementine and omit almonds at P.M. snack

Make it 2,000 Calories: add 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled, to A.M. snack and 1 avocado, sliced, to dinner

Day 7

Breakfast (314 calories)

  • 1 cup nonfat plain strained yogurt, such as Greek-style
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cherries (fresh or frozen)

A.M. Snack (268 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1 medium orange

Lunch (342 calories)

  • 1 serving Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole

P.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Dinner (399 calories)

  • 1 serving Sheet-Pan Balsamic-Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas & Vegetables

Daily Totals: 1,523 calories, 83g protein, 77g fat, 135g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 1,179mg sodium

Make it 1,200 Calories: reduce to 1 Tbsp. almonds at breakfast and omit almonds at A.M. snack

Make it 2,000 Calories: increase to 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to P.M. snack, add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner and 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled, to evening snack

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