Adjusting the Meal Plan (October 2011)

Our meal plans are developed based on the American Diabetes Association's general nutrition guidelines. These guidelines are a great starting point, however, your should still talk to your healthcare team about setting up a meal plan that fits your individual needs Our One Day Meal Plan may not exactly fit those needs, so we've provided some tips to adjust carbohydrates and calories below.


Lowering the Amount of Carbohydrates

Your healthcare provider may ask you to limit carbohydrates more than our meal plan suggests. This means you may need to take out some carbohydrate foods. You can also substitute lean protein or healthy fats for some of the carbohydrate foods in the meal plan.

To lower carbohydrate intake and keep total calories for the day about the same (make carbohydrate closer to 40% of calories), make the following adjustments to our original meal plan:

  • Use 1 tablespoon of fat-free half and half in your coffee instead of 2% milk.
  • At breakfast, omit the almond butter and have only ½ of an English muffin. Make an open-faced sandwich with your English muffin by topping it with 2 scrambled egg whites and a piece of low-fat cheddar cheese (season with salt and pepper).
  • Add ¼ cup of dry roasted almonds (unsalted) to your breakfast meal.
  • At lunch, replace your apple and whole wheat crackers with a side salad made with 1 cup of greens, ½ cup of diced avocado, ½ cup of tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon of fat-free Italian dressing.
  • For your afternoon snack, have ½ cup of green or red grapes instead of ¾ cup.


Cutting and Adding 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 200 calories:

  • Instead of spreading almond butter on your English muffin at breakfast, use 2 tablespoons of low-sugar jelly. (This saves about 130 calories)
  • Season your steamed broccoli and cauliflower side dish at dinner with just pepper and lemon juice instead of trans free margarine. (This saves about 70 calories)

To add 200 calories:

  • Add a mid-morning snack of 6 ounces of fat-free light yogurt and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.

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.
Calculate My Calories

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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