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Author:

Kevin Curry

Diabetes Meal Prep for Beginners

prepared meals for diabetics

Let me tell you what: I LOVE food. 

I’m from the south and I love to love my food. I love the taste. I love the texture. I love how it looks. Everything. 

In the past, whenever I managed to work off my weight, my love for food would take over and the weight would come piling back on. Then I would work really hard to get the weight off again… 

RINSE AND REPEAT.

I got so tired of this cycle!

Then the wake-up call came: my doctor said I had higher blood pressure than normal and I saw a picture of myself and didn’t even recognize myself. 

Time to break the cycle once and for all!

I got to work like I never had before. I read every book on nutrition that I could get my hands on and I created delicious meals that would help me lose weight and regain my health.

Remember how I love food? I’m not about to sacrifice flavor and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to either. 

If you’re diabetic, pre-diabetic, or have gestational diabetes, managing your diabetes can feel overwhelming. In addition to the guidance from your doctors and nutritionists, this plan for beginners will help you know what you can eat to get started on your journey toward diabetes control and prevention. 

Break the weight cycle – like I did – with healthy diabetes meal planning that tastes great! 

If you’re new to diabetes, keep reading for an overview of healthy food for people with diabetes. 

If you’re not new and don’t need the overview, jump straight to our 7-day diabetes meal plan with healthy recipes

GETTING STARTED WITH HEALTHY EATING AND MEAL PREPS FOR DIABETICS

Do any of these sound familiar:

“I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d have diabetes.”

“What does this mean for my future? Will I have to change my lifestyle?”

“I don’t want to take medication. Can I control my diabetes with diet plans and exercise?”

“I feel overwhelmed. What do I do next?”

First of all, don’t worry, I’m not asking you to give up ice cream! It’s important to start this journey with baby steps. Very few people can change their entire lifestyle overnight and stick with it long-term. What we’re looking for here are small, sustainable changes that you can build up as you get more comfortable and confident in your healthy eating. Start by swapping out a soda with flavored water. Do that over time until you’ve eliminated soda from your daily diet… yes, even the sugar-free soda. Make sure dinners include fruit and a vegetable every night. Replace a takeout meal with a home-cooked meal. Baby steps – you’ve got this!

Over time these small changes will not only add up, but they’ll create momentum to help you make larger changes that you actually want to maintain. 

So, even though a diabetes diagnosis can cause a roller coaster of emotions, responding with small but consistent changes is the way to go. 

Here are a few things to get started with as you work to lower and stabilize your blood sugar level:

  • Reduce Sugar and Simple Carbs. 

First, cut out those sugary drinks, like I just mentioned. Sodas and other drinks are often loaded with sugar. Instead, drink more water, seltzer, or unsweetened teas. If you just love your sodas, try drinking a large glass of water before every soda. Increase your water consumption until you’re able to push the soda out completely. In addition to drinks, look for opportunities to swap simple carbohydrates like white rice, white pasta, and white bread with more complex carbs. Be careful with deceptive marketing on this one. Just because a certain pasta or bread claims to have “multi-grains,” or another seemingly healthy ingredient, doesn’t actually mean it’s healthy. Look at food labels and find foods with low sugar and whole grains. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, start by cutting down your portion size. If you cut out all sugar too quickly, your mind and body will obsess over it. Indulge in your favorite treat, but only eat a little. Then start swapping out the sugary treats for healthier options: try the lower-sugar version of your favorite treat, eat popcorn instead of a sugary treat, or have a bowl of fruit.

  • Increase Fiber. 

Increasing your fiber helps you avoid spikes in your blood sugars. It’s best to get fiber directly from foods like oatmeal, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, vegetables, fruits, and beans. But you can also add high-quality fiber supplements to your diet plan.

  • Eat Regularly. 

That’s right, skipping meals doesn’t help keep your blood sugars stable. Eating high-quality meals and snacks throughout the day can help you avoid getting overly hungry. Instead of skipping meals or even telling yourself that you can’t have something, eat when you’re hungry and focus on adding healthy choices to your diet instead of restricting unhealthy options. Cut back on your portion sizes of unhealthy choices and add more fruits and vegetables throughout the day.

  • Increase Movement. 

You don’t need to kill yourself at the gym to experience the health benefits of exercise. Studies have shown that a 10-minute walk after each meal can lower your blood sugars more than a single 30-minute walk each day. So if your watch pings you to stand up each hour, it’s for good reason. Take the stairs and not the elevator – it all adds up. Whether you choose to run, walk, bike, or swim, just keep moving throughout the day as much as possible.

  • Focus on Proteins, Fruits, and Vegetables. 

Each meal and snack should prioritize these whole foods. A high protein meal plan includes eggs, plain Greek yogurt, nuts, lean meat, chicken breasts, fish, white beans, tofu, peanut butter, spinach, broccoli, and more. There are a variety of tasty ways to increase protein in every meal and snack. After you’ve picked a protein to eat, pair it with fruits and veggies until you’re full. Add a few whole grains, and you’ve got a great meal plan for beginners right there. For example, if you want toast for breakfast, add an egg instead of jam. If you need a crunchy snack, pass on the chips and have an apple with peanut butter. A great baby step to start with is making sure you always eat a protein with every carb.

  • Weight loss. 

This one goes without saying. I’m also positive it’s one you’re working on. Research shows that a drop of 5-10% in body weight correlates with better blood sugar control. Remember the snowball effect – each baby step you make will add together until you start to see major changes. Weight management will come more easily as you make changes in your diet plan and exercise. For more information on meal prepping specifically for weight loss, check out this article

…REMEMBER TO START SMALL BUT STAY CONSISTENT! Once you’ve made a change, try to keep it going. Add another change and another until you reach the snowball effect and they start to build on each other. You may need to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable – especially if your doctor says immediate changes are necessary – but try not to take on too much at once.

WHAT TO EAT WITH DIABETES:

You may be tempted to focus on what you “can’t” eat right now. Instead, focus on the many delicious foods you can eat and find satisfying lowcarb meal plans so you won’t miss the sugar and simple carbs so much.

  • Vegetables – limit your corn and potatoes to avoid blood sugar spikes
  • Fruits – especially citrus, berries, apples, and pears
  • Meats – especially chicken, turkey, and fish, limit red meat
  • White Beans, lentils, nuts, and nut butters – use natural nut butters 
  • Oils – use coconut, avocado, and olive oil where possible
  • Whole grains – especially brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and other complex carbs
  • Avocados, plain Greek yogurt, and other low-sugar healthy fats

For ideas on how to combine these ingredients into flavorful dishes, keep reading to see our healthy recipes and just how easy diabetes meal planning for a whole week can be.

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH DIABETIC MEAL PREP FOR BEGINNERS

Meal prep, or prepping your meals in advance, is a great way to set yourself up for healthy eating success. If you wait until you are hungry to think about your next meal, you’re more likely to grab junk food or fast food. BUT if you have a healthy meal or snack ready to grab when you need it, the convenience of that meal will help make healthy eating the easier choice. 

Learn more about meal prep here. And check out all of the crazy awesome benefits of meal prep here.

So if you want diabetes management that doesn’t feel like diabetes management, get ready to fill your fridge and freezer full of delicious, healthy meals that will also save you time and money. That sounds like a win-win-win-win to me!

Steps to Diabetic Meal Prep

Step 1: Set your goals – include restrictions to your daily calories, if necessary

Step 2: Make a plan – select healthy recipes that support your goals

Step 3: Grocery shop – purchase any items missing from your pantry and fridge

Step 4: Cook the food – follow your recipes

Step 5: Store the food – package individually-portioned meals for easy grab-and-go eating

Tips for Successful Meal Prepping

  • Cook the foods with the longest cooking time first, like roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, and brown rice.
  • Use a single protein in several meals so you can batch cook, like making a large batch of chicken breasts and using it in 3-4 different healthy recipes.
  • Don’t forget snacks – boiled eggs, chopped veggies and fruits, and small salads are great options.
  • Use both your fridge and freezer – foods stored in the fridge need to be eaten within 4 days, use the freezer for longer storage times.
  • Use airtight containers to keep food fresh.
  • Don’t add salad dressing to salads until just before eating.

HOW TO MAKE PREPARED MEALS FOR DIABETICS FOR A WHOLE WEEK 

If you’re ready to get started with meal prep to see how helpful it can be in supporting your healthy eating choices, give this 7-day meal plan for beginners a try. These meals focus on low-carb meal plan recipes that will keep you full longer without a sugar spike.

Meal Prep these meals and store them in individually portioned containers according to your daily calories needed:

diabetic prepared meals

  1. Texas Breakfast Casserole – Freeze half in individual portions for a later week.
  2. Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittata Muffins – Freeze half in individual portions for a later week.
  3. Green Goddess Avocado Salad
  4. Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe
  5. Ginger Beef & Broccoli 
  6. Cajun Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp

Day 1

prepared meals for diabetics


Breakfast – Texas Breakfast Casserole

Lunch – Green Goddess Avocado Salad

Snack – One medium apple with one tablespoon of peanut butter

Dinner – Ginger Beef & Broccoli

Day 2

diabetes prepared meals


Breakfast – Texas Breakfast Casserole

Lunch – Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

Snack – ⅓ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner – Cajun Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp

Day 3

meal prep for diabetics


Breakfast – Texas Breakfast Casserole

Lunch – Green Goddess Avocado Salad

Snack – One medium bell pepper with ¼ cup hummus

Dinner – Ginger Beef & Broccoli

Day 4

meal prep ideas for diabetics


Breakfast – Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittata Muffins

Lunch – Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

Snack – Eight 100% whole-grain crackers and one-ounce low-fat cheddar cheese

Dinner – Cajun Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp

Day 5

diabetic meal prep for beginners


Breakfast – Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittata Muffins

Lunch – Green Goddess Avocado Salad

Snack – Two slices of 100% whole wheat bread and one tablespoon of almond butter

Dinner – Ginger Beef & Broccoli

Day 6

diabetes meal prep


Breakfast – Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittata Muffins

Lunch – Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe

Snack – Three cups of air-popped popcorn flavored with one tablespoon of nutritional yeast and one string of cheese with healthy fats

Dinner – Cajun Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp

Day 7

diabetic meal prep ideas


Breakfast – Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittata Muffins

Lunch – Green Goddess Avocado Salad

Snack – One hard-boiled egg lightly sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning and one-ounce unsalted pretzels

Dinner – Ginger Beef & Broccoli

Check out more recipes like these on our website: Fit Men Cook

For more meal plans like this one, try the MealPrepPro app. It’s free to download and you can get started today with our free trial. MealPrepPro lets you easily customize meal plans to your dietary needs and will help you meal prep like a boss. It’s available today on iPhone and iPad.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey, I'm Kevin

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!

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