Adjusting the Meal Plan (January 2012)

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.

Keeping it Low-Budget

When making the adjustments to the meal plan that are listed below, a low-cost budget was kept in mind. You’ll find the foods that we suggest adding are generally lower-cost grocery items like those that they replace.

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: 

  • Scramble one egg white and one whole egg for breakfast instead of three egg whites. Also, use just ½ of a medium-sized potato to make your homefries.
  • Make your bean salad into a green salad. Replace the 1/4 cup of kidney beans and the celery with 1.5 cups of greens, and 1/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar or Colby cheese.
  • Have a 4.5 ounce portion of Oven-Barbecued Chicken at dinner instead of just 3 ounces and leave out the brown rice.
  • Have 3 tablespoons of almonds for your night time snack (just less than ¼ cup). Also, substitute 2 cups of air-popped popcorn for the light yogurt.

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 dressing on your bean salad at lunch (This saves about 25 calories)
  • Eat your banana without peanut butter for your afternoon snack. (This saves about 105 calories.)
  • Omit the brown rice at dinner time. (This saves about 70 calories)

To add around 200 calories: 

  • Use regular shredded cheddar cheese instead or reduced fat on your eggs at breakfast. (This adds about 55 calories.)
  • Have 1 ½ cups of Favorite Vegetable Soup at lunch. (This adds about 80 calories.)
  • Have 2 cups of Tasty Cooked Greens at dinner. (This adds about 60 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.

About Our Meal Plans

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

Read More

A Low-Cost Meal Plan

See how you can eat healthfully for less than $7 a day!

See Meal Plan