Adjusting the Meal Plan (February 2012)

Our meal plans are developed based on the American Diabetes Associations general nutrition guidelines. However, nutritional needs can vary from person to person. Your healthcare team can help you set up a meal plan that works for you and will help you meet your health goals. Our One Day Meal Plan may not exactly fit your individual needs, so we've provided some ideas for how to adjust carbohydrates and calories below.

Fitting in Dessert

Valentine's Day is a special occasion and you'll probably want to enjoy something sweet, so we've included a bonus recipe again this month. Our Lemony Fruit Cups are a diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy treat that you can fit into your meal plan. Here's how…

Instead of roasting a sweet potato, roast 10 baby carrots for a side dish. Then, add a Lemony Fruit Cup for dessert. You'll still be eating about the same amount of calories and carbohydrates! To learn more about substituting foods to fit in dessert for a special occasion, visit our Sugar and Desserts page on

For Less Carbohydrate…

Your healthcare provider may ask you to limit carbohydrates more than our meal plan suggests. This means you should cut back on the carbohydrate foods that you eat throughout the day. To keep your calorie intake about the same, substitute sources of lean protein or healthy fats in their place. Here's an example:

To lower carbohydrate intake for the day and keep calories about the same (make it closer to 35% of calories), make the following adjustments to our original meal plan:

  • At breakfast, have just half of a grapefruit instead of the whole fruit.
  • At lunch, double the amount of tuna and light mayonnaise you use to make you tuna salad. Also, omit the orange at lunch time.
  • At dinner time, increase the serving size of your Crisp Pecan Tilapia to 4 ounces. Also, switch out the sweet potato and have one cup of roasted carrots instead.

To Adjust Calories…

Depending on whether you are trying to lose, gain, or maintain your weight, you may have different calorie needs as well. Here are some ideas for adjusting our One Day Meal Plan. It may be easier than you think!

To cut around 200 calories:

  • Omit the low-calorie toast and margarine at breakfast. (This saves about 120 calories.)
  • Have water instead of low-fat milk at dinner time. (This saves about 80 calories.)

To add around 200 calories:

  • Add ¼ cup of slivered almonds to your salad at lunch time. (This adds about 155 calories.)
  • Add two extra tablespoons of Avocado-Cucumber Dip and another cup of Belgian endive to your afternoon snack. (This adds about 45 calories.)

How Many Calories?

Calculate the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain your present body weight:

Please select an option before you continue.
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I don't do any physical activity other than what I need to do for my usual activities, such as going to work or school, grocery shopping, or doing chores around the house.

I do some moderate exercise every day in addition to doing my usual activities. For example, I walk about 1.5 to 3 miles a day at about 3 to 4 miles an hour. Or I do something else that's moderately active.

I am very active every day in addition to doing my usual activities. For example, I walk more than 3 miles a day at about 3 to 4 miles an hour. Or I do something else that's very active.

How Many Calories?

This number estimates how many calories you should eat per day to keep your body weight where it is now.

If you want to lose weight, you may need fewer calories. You should talk with your health care team for more personalized recommendations, but this calculator can help to get you started.

Calculate My Calories

*Estimates are rounded to the nearest 200 calories. An individual's calorie needs may be higher or lower than these average estimates. Developed from the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

A Heart-Healthy Meal Plan

This month, we're bringing you a day of heart-healthy meals - good for Valentine’s Day or any other day of the month!

See Meal Plan

About Our Meal Plans

Learn about the nutrition guidelines we follow to create our one-day meal plans.

Read More