Adjusting the Meal Plan (November 2011)

Our meal plans are developed based on the American Diabetes Association’s 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

Did you notice our bonus recipe this month? We say to save desserts for special occasions – and the holidays are just that! Apple Crisp may not be part of your every-day meal plan, but you can work this seasonal treat in more easily than you think.

Even if you just save sweets for special occasions, you don’t want to go overboard when you include them in your meal plan. Most sweets and desserts have a lot of carbohydrates and calories in just a small serving. Our Apple Crisp recipe is a healthier version of this seasonal favorite.

To add a dessert to your meal plan, cut back on other carb-containing foods in that meal. A ½ cup serving of Apple Crisp has about 27 grams of carbohydrate. To fit in a serving, find a food that has about the same amount of carbohydrate:

  • Omit the cranberry sauce (1/4 cup has about 26 grams of carb) and have your Apple Crisp instead. 
  • Omit your Potato Casserole and the stuffing. Add another ½ cup of Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette and have your serving of Apple Crisp for dessert.

For Less Carbohydrates…

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

To lower carbohydrate intake (make it closer to 38% of calories) and keep total calories for the day about the same, make the following adjustments to our original meal plan:

  • Have ½ of your banana instead of the whole thing at breakfast.
  • Have 1 cup of Veggie Chili instead of 1 ¼ cups at lunch. Then, top your chili with ¼ cup of shredded cheese instead of 2 tablespoons 
  • For your afternoon snack, omit the whole wheat pita bread. Increase your serving of guacamole to 1/3 cup and add 3 celery stalks cut into snack-size pieces for dipping. 
  • At dinner, skip the cranberry sauce and top your turkey with 2 tablespoons of low-sodium gravy. Also, have 2 cups of salad instead of one. 
  • Have 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts at your evening snack instead of just one.

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:

  • Use 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on your bagel at breakfast instead of 2 tablespoons. (This saves about 100 calories.)
  • Season your green beans at lunch with freshly ground pepper instead of flavoring them with margarine. (This saves about 50 calories.)
  • Top your turkey with just 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce instead of ¼ cup. (This saves about 50 calories.)

To add around 200 calories:

  • Add a whole wheat roll to your lunch. (This adds about 75 calories.)
  • Have 2 cups of Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette at dinner. (This adds about 75 calories.)
  • Have 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts with your evening snack instead of just one. (This adds about 50 calories.)

How Many Calories?

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

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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.

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About Our Meal Plans

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

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