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Adjusting the Meal Plan (December 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.

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 40% of calories), make the following adjustments to our original meal plan: 

  • Have ½ cup of oatmeal for breakfast instead of ¾ cup. Omit the apple and have one cup of milk with your breakfast instead of just 2 fluid ounces in your coffee.
  • At lunch, omit the side of tomato soup. Replace the garbanzo beans in your salad with 2 ounces of grilled or roasted chicken breast. 
  • For your afternoon snack, decrease the amount of Sweet Onion, White Bean, and Artichoke Dip to 2 tablespoons.
  • At dinner, top your green beans with 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds along with trans-free margarine and freshly ground pepper.
  • For your evening snack, decrease the amount of blueberries in your yogurt parfait to ¼ cup.

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 just 1 tablespoon of oil and vinegar salad dressing instead of 2 tablespoons on your salad at lunch. (This saves about 70 calories.)
  • Omit the pita chips from your afternoon snack. (This saves about 60 calories.)
  • Cook your green beans at dinner with minced garlic and season with freshly ground pepper instead of flavoring them with margarine. (This saves about 70 calories.)

To add around 200 calories: 

  • Use 2 tablespoons of regular feta cheese on your salad at lunch instead of using a reduced-fat variety. (This adds about 15 calories.)
  • Have ¾ cup of Classic Mac ‘N Cheese instead of ½ cup. (This adds about 95 calories.)
  • Drink an 8-ounce glass of skim milk with dinner. (This adds about 90 calories.)

About Our Meal Plans

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

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Believe it or not - you can still eat your favorite comfort foods as part of a healthy meal plan. Here's how...

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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.

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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.

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*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.